GEF SGP Grantee Jeffrey Town Celebrates Global Award with Local Partners

Feb 26, 2015

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 February 26, 2015, in a ceremony with their local partners and stakeholders at the Casa Maria Hotel in Port Maria, St Mary, Jamaica.

The Equator Prize is presented every two years, and recognises, 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 organisations secured awards. Jeffrey Town was one of the 25 groups which 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 recognised their innovative work in addressing the challenges of land degradation, inadequate water supply and the impacts of climate change in the community.

Last Thursday’s local Equator Awards ceremony was organised by UNDP Jamaica was attended by the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association’s partners and stakeholders from the community, parish and national levels. The Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change was guest speaker at the function.

The Minister 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. Arun Kashyap, 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 UNDP for its consistent support to the community over the years. In outlining his organisation’s history - from its first small scale community development project in the 1990s up to their present work which spans community media, information technology, agriculture, disaster risk reduction training, alternative energy and rainwater harvesting- Mr Gordon made mention of the role of the UNDP.

“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 pointed to 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.

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