The Ministry of National Security will continue to collaborate with social intervention agencies to reform and build communities while positively transforming the lives of the residents.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, during the opening ceremony for the 3rd staging of the symposium of best practices in social and community development at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on November 14.
“I have seen communities where we have done a lot of the physical work, we still have some more of the soft side to do, but gang wars continue to be a problem,” he said.
He said agencies such as the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), among others, are important to working with communities to effect change “that will not only bring about physical transformation but human transformation”.
“These are agencies that have acquired some level of credibility and restore a sense of confidence and trust by the people, and this is critical to achieving success,” he said.
Dr. Chang noted that community intervention is a critical part of changing and transforming communities, especially in depressed areas.
“It is important that we keep abreast of all the activities in the communities especially community intervention,” he said, adding that a review of best practices will allow agencies to find the positive things that are required to effect transformation and change.
He said the symposium is a platform tailored to bring to the forefront and document what is being done right, so that it may be replicated in communities that need intervention.
For his part, Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Wayne Henry, said the symposium provides a vehicle through which organisations involved in community development can find inspiration for the design and advancement of their projects and programmes while sharing their own experiences.
“As a country and community, we have achieved less than desired outcomes in many of the projects and programmes that we have developed and implemented over the years. One of the main reasons cited for our shortfall is that there is insufficient documentation and sharing of lessons learnt and a weakness in adapting these in ongoing activities,” he said.
He added that the forum seeks to bridge the gap as a more collaborative, coordinated and evidenced-based approach to community development is undertaken.
“Since the last best practice symposium, we have seen an increase in collaboration among key stakeholders, as reflected in the number of participants, which has increased by eight in number under the community renewal programme (CRP) framework,” he said.
He noted, too, that organisations under the CRP framework have also benefited from training in monitoring and evaluation, which is expected to facilitate a more coordinated and integrated approach to community development.
The symposium is being held under the theme ‘Operationalising Best Practices at the Policy, Programme and Community Levels’. The areas of focus are parenting and family, livelihood, transformation of the physical environment, and safety and security.