- Rural neighbourhood to be transformed into model green community; unattached youth poised to earn from green projects
[Kingston, 30 January 2020] A total of J$49.6 Million in grants awarded to seven community groups by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-implemented Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) will transform a rural neighbourhood into a sustainable ‘green’ community, position unattached youth to earn from environmental projects, and build climate resilience among persons living with disabilities.
The grant allocation will also support local groups to combat deforestation, counter environmental degradation in the upper Rio Minho Watershed and, support innovative solutions in agriculture to combat impacts of climate change. Combined, the seven projects will receive about J$109.8 Million, funded through the GEF SGP’s contribution and counterpart funding from other sources of cash and kind.
The seven groups, receiving letters of awards and contracts at a presentation ceremony at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation on Tuesday 28 January are, Hanover Bee Farmers; Northern Rio Minho Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC); Jamaica 4-H Foundation; Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council; Project ICE Ja Ltd; Environmental Health Foundation; and the UWI (Climate Studies Group).
The Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council’s Director, Eleanor Terrelonge says the group intends to use their grant to transform the residential area of Albion Heights in St Thomas into a green and sustainable community. She said the project will install solar-powered home systems, solar streetlamps and rainwater harvesting systems, and establish a community recycling project to generate income for community members.
Project ICE (Inspire, Commit and Empower) Ja Ltd. has indicated they will certify unattached youth and fisher folk in the installation of renewable and energy efficiency technologies in Rocky Point, Clarendon to boost their employability. Shaneica Lester, ICE Project Manager says persons will be trained to produce LED lights and solar panels. A petrol fueled boat will also be retrofitted to run on solar energy – which, according to Lester, will make this the first prototype of a solar-powered boat in Jamaica.
The Hanover Bee Farmers also intend to generate livelihoods and employment opportunities for women and youth in the Dolphin Head Forest Reserve Communities by expanding beekeeping activities in order to reduce the need for charcoal production and increase economic activity and employment.
Two local groups will focus specifically on persons living with disabilities: Environmental Health Foundation intends to strengthen the resilience of persons with disabilities, youths and farmers in vulnerable communities to the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters, and the University of the West Indies Climate Studies Group will apply their grant to building the capacity of NGOs, CBOs and persons with disabilities towards climate change adaptation planning.
“Since Jamaica’s economic development is so highly dependent on its natural resources, sustaining livelihoods for those who depend on the country’s environmental assets for a living is paramount, UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio noted. She said UNDP is pleased to witness another cohort of local community based and non-governmental organizations awarded grants to strengthen Jamaica’s environmental resilience and adaptive capacity. She urged grantees to “implement with heart and humility and to apply yourselves diligently to our global operating standards. We look to you for many more ‘best practices’ consistent with the reputation that Jamaican partners have earned over the years.”
In her address, Chief Technical Director (Acting), Policy, Planning and Evaluation Division in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Global Environment Facility Operational Focal Point for Jamaica, Gillian Guthrie commended GEF SGP Jamaica for the concrete actions on the ground, led by civil society and community-based organizations, to advance Jamaica's sustainable development imperatives, particularly the environmental agenda. Ms. Guthrie encouraged grantees to share best practices and expertise gained under projects with other communities and groups to empower Jamaicans at all levels.
Barbara Scott, Deputy Director, Planning Institute of Jamaica said she looked forward to the successful implementation of the Programme in 2020 and the years following and anticipated increased sustainability of the programme through further scaling up and replication of projects. She noted that since its inception in Jamaica, the GEF SGP has contributed to the strengthening of targeted vulnerable communities and groups to respond to Climate Change and environmental risks.
Hyacinth Douglas, National Coordinator, GEF SGP said that Tuesday’s ceremony “was about showcasing the programme’s achievements while capturing/sharing the moments on how local communities are benefiting from funding opportunities and how they are contributing to national development through their project initiatives.
Leonie Barnaby, Chair of the National Steering Committee of the GEF SGP in Jamaica lauded the passion and commitment expressed by the grantees and assured them of the GEF SGP’s support in building their capacity to carry out the projects in an effective and sustainable manner.
Since 2006 the GEF SGP in Jamaica has supported more than 130 projects benefitting 70 local NGOs and CBOs, representing a commitment of more than US$4 Million in grant funding.
UNDP, with a brand slogan of Empowered Lives, Resilient Nations, leaving no one behind, works primarily in the areas of Sustainable Development, Democratic Governance and peacebuilding, and Crisis Prevention and Recovery. The UNDP multi-country office based in Kingston serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands.