The Social Development Commission (SDC) has been making gains in developing the nation’s communities, assisting them to access approximately $30 million to date, to undertake various wealth creation projects.
According to Executive Director of the SDC, Dr. Dwayne Vernon, the agency has helped communities to access these monies, “by virtue of being trained, completing a community priority plan, and submitting a project proposal for a myriad of community issues.”
He was speaking to JIS News following the SDC’s 12th staging of its islandwide Participatory, Accountability and Responsibility (PAR) session at the Mandeville Parish Church Hall in Manchester, on March 25.
“It is clear that we are making gains, especially in the area of helping communities identify wealth creation projects and many of the communities have identified ingenious ways of surviving. The whole issue of agriculture at the local level has been boosted, persons are doing a number of greenhouse projects, working in terms of goat rearing, pig rearing, and small community projects dealing with some domestic type issues,” Dr. Vernon said.
He noted that it is also evident that the communities are becoming more resilient and citizens are recognising the importance of being a part of community-based groups.
The Executive Director said that based on the feedback from the PAR sessions, which provide stakeholders with updates on the work and achievements of the Commission, it is also clear that citizens appreciate the work of the organisation and welcomed the opportunity to openly criticize the work of the SDC, while giving suggestions and recommendations.
“Today, we have had a lot of testimonies about the impact the work of the entity has had on their lives. Many mention the fact that their capacity has been so built, that individuals and communities have been able to apply for funding from different sources. We have heard the testimony of youth groups talking about how involved they have become in their communities and how they themselves are trying to help others in their community,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Mandeville, Councillor Brenda Ramsay thanked the SDC for its work with various local entities to support the development the parish of Manchester.
“We have always noted your presence at our council meetings, parish safety and security meetings, the Manchester parish development commission meetings, the inter-agency meetings, our face to face meeting, among other civic and community organizations,” she said.
During the PAR sessions, information is provided on matters, such as the SDC’s organisational targets, programmes, expenditure and relevant operational matters. The sessions also allow for the development of new and/or refined strategies influenced by the input of stakeholders.
Sessions have been held in all parishes except St. James. The SDC team will head to St. James for its final forum for this year, on March 27.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter