KINGSTON — Community projects valued at more than $100 million have been facilitated by the Social Development Commission (SDC), since January this year.
“We have trained over 125 community groups in the art of project development and project writing, and this has led to us enabling the projects in the various communities,” Executive Director of the SDC, Dwayne Vernon, told JIS News in an interview.
He pointed out that members of the groups are now able to put together a comprehensive project document.
Mr. Vernon said that during the year, the SDC sought to strengthen civil society groups, in particular the Parish Development Committees (PDCs). “That was demonstrated throughout the year, given the number of engagements that local groups would have had with different agencies to advance development in their own local space,” he added.
He noted that some 150 community based organisations have been formed, and the national association of PDCs has become more active. “They are now sharing amongst themselves, trying to advance governance,” he said.
The Executive Director informed that the SDC’s data base has been upgraded, and great strides have been made with the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS), “so that people can plan at the local level.”
The GIS and GPS are being used to collect and store data spatially, with the ability to view electronically, the relationships among various data sets collected within SDC and its stakeholders. This will also broaden the use of information generated for policy and decision making activities across all sectors of Government and civil society, and generate geo-spatial database reflecting social and demographic information that is used to guide development at the community level.
During the year, the SDC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Security Ministry’s Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), for the writing of new profiles of communities that peace initiatives have been undertaken.
Singling out Effortville and Canaan Heights, in Clarendon, the Executive Director said that in those two communities, the SDC officers did tremendous work on the ground. “Our officers are on the ground trying to keep a lid on things, monitoring situations, and bringing in the relevant agencies when there is a need,” Mr. Vernon pointed out.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter