Jeffrey Town Celebrates Global Award with Local PartnersFeb 25, 2015
GEF SGP Grantee Jeffrey Town Celebrates Global Award with Local Partners
Members of the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, a Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) grantee, celebrated the association’s 2014 Equator Prize Award on 26 February 2015, in a ceremony organized by UNDP Jamaica, with their local partners and stakeholders from the community, parish and national levels, at the Casa Maria Hotel in Port Maria, St Mary, Jamaica.
The Equator Prize is presented every two years, and recognizes, on an international stage, the efforts of local and indigenous groups across the world who are contributing to sustainable development.There were 1,234 nominations from across the globe for the 2014 prize, but only 25 organizations secured awards.Jeffrey Town was one of the 25 groups that was awarded last year’s Equator Prize, and two community representatives went to New York to the global awards event.The Jeffrey Town Farmers Association is the first group from the English speaking Caribbean to achieve this honour, which acknowledgedtheir innovative work in addressing the challenges of land degradation, inadequate water supply and the impacts of climate change in the community.
As the guest speaker at the function, the Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, commended Jeffrey Town on its work at the community level and its global achievements. He singled out their work in rainwater harvesting for special attention, pointing out that, at the national level, his Ministry was working with parish councils and the National Water Commission to restore catchment tanks owned by those two entities.
“In the face of increasing droughts as one of the impacts of climate change, we must return to rainwater harvesting in order to ensure water sustainability,” Minister Pickersgill said
The Minister also publicly thanked the UNDP, through its representative Dr.ArunKashyap, for “all the assistance that Jamaica continues to receive through the efforts of your organisation. “
In his remarks,Dr.Kashyap noted Jeffrey Town’s significant achievements under the GEF SGP. He described the SGP as “a flagship project of UNDP,” which underscores and supports the empowerment of communities and provides them with resources for community development initiatives.
The president of the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, Mr. Wordsworth Gordon, also commended UNDPfor its consistent support to the community over the years. In outlining his organization’s history - from its first small scale community development project in the 1990s up to their present work that spans community media, information technology, agriculture, disaster risk reduction training, alternative energy and rainwater harvesting—Mr. Gordon made mention of the importance of UNDP’s role.
“Our first big break began with the LIFE project, which was supported by UNDP,” he stated. Since then, the GEF SGP has also provided support to the community to help it expand its climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction work.
Mr. Gordon highlighted the way ahead for his association which, he said, has been longlisted for another international award (the 2015 Sasawaka Award), and which is also set to receive grant funding of JM$65million under a new project supported by the Caribbean Development Bank’s Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund.