JSIF Gleaner Honour Award
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which is close to the end of its second decade as an agency dedicated to alleviating poverty, continues on its major thrust to deliver critical community infrastructure and services ? in spite of contracting resources.
Since its establishment in 1996 as an arm of the Government of Jamaica dedicated to develop and implement national poverty alleviation strategies, the agency has been making a significant impact through its numerous and varied community projects across the island, powered by funding partnerships.
Managing Director Scarlette Gillings said JSIF remains committed to innovation and best practices in programme design ?as we do more with less resources?.
One example of doing more with less is the World Bank funded Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), which has provided funding to over 50 community based agriculture and tourism subprojects. Under the programme, over 70 per cent of supported businesses have recorded increased earnings and are selling to new and dynamic markets (supermarkets, exporters, agro-processors, abattoirs) with the remainder recording increased sales.
Overall, JSIF projects during the fiscal year ending March 2014 focused exclusively on volatile and vulnerable communities, accounting for 46 per cent of total sub-project disbursements. There was also strong emphasis on rural development, evidenced by REDI, Community Investment Project and the Basic Needs Trust Fund ? projects which accounted for 29 per cent of project disbursements.
Now approaching its 20th anniversary, the agency has so far channelled funds of over $9.941 billion towards critical community needs, completing over 1,000 subprojects in all 14 parishes. In line with its mandate, planned projects are aimed at improving the lives of Jamaicans where this assistance is most needed.
For its sustained contribution to social development in Jamaica, and its use of best practices to enhance and increase returns on investment in communities where its services are most needed, The Gleaner Company is proud to present the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) with The Gleaner Honour Award for outstanding Public Service in 2014.
INNER CITY YOUTH ARE PROVIDED WITH EMPLOYABLE SKILLS
One of JSIF?s success projects is the World Bank-funded Inner City Basic Services Project, which has resulted in significant improvement in the quality of life of residents in 12 inner-city communities.
Among the numerous initiatives under the project, it has undertaken a training programme at a cost of $3.34 million to equip unattached youth with the necessary skills to find gainful employment.
The Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation was also a partner in the training project, which contributed $334,000, providing technical support and the training venue for a landscaping programme.
Under that initiative, six males and five females - hailing from the communities of Whitfield Town, Jones Town, Craig Town, Passmore Town, and Federal Gardens in Kingston; and March Pen and Central Village in St. Catherine - benefited from the full scope of the landscaping programme facilitated by the Ebony Park Heart Academy in Clarendon. Among other things, they learnt how to establish and maintain landscaped areas, plant crops by hand, and operate small equipment.
During the 11-month landscaping programme, 11 young persons, aged 17 to 27 years, were also exposed to ornamental horticulture and introduced to landscaping, ornamental horticulture, and land preparation environmental principles. Additionally, they engaged in animal keeping and building practices in the garden area, where they also built a gazebo. The participants? landscaping skills were put to the test as they assisted with the ongoing beautification works being undertaken at Hope Zoo, which included planting of various trees and flowers.
Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said the project demonstrated the Government?s and donors? continued commitment ?to explore different ways to stimulate young minds?, and to also prepare youth with skills to ?enable them to be employable.?
PIPED WATER FOR PORTLAND RESIDENTS
Over 2,000 residents of Fruitful Vale in west Portland befitted from a new water supply system and expanded multi-complex center. The landmark water project ? funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) under JSIF?s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) ? involved the completion of a water supply scheme between the communities of Industry to Content, Dumfries to Coopers Hill, Skatta Spring to Twickenham, as well as the replacement of the pipeline in the Raw Water District with a potable supply using resources from the Dunbar Spring.
In May of last year, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen was on hand to endorse the project.
FREE BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR OVER 4,000 PERSONS
Eleven-year-old Tashana Buckley of Tawes Meadows in St. Catherine was among those who benefited under JSIF?s Operation Certification Programme. She joins over 4,000 persons from 12 targeted inner-city communities, who were provided with free birth certificates, under Phase One and Two of Operation Certification, which falls under the Inner City Basic Services Project.
JSIF felt this was an important initiative to undertake, as birth registration is fundamental to recognising and protecting an individual?s right to an identity as well as proof of existence. In Jamaica, birth registration is a critical issue affecting the fulfilment of rights such as access to education, social welfare benefits, health care and housing and employment opportunities. People who are not registered may not be able to access services on a full and equal basis as those who are registered.
Operation Certification is a partnership between JSIF and the Registrar General?s Department (RGD) and was funded to the tune of $6.4 million, courtesy of the World Bank and Government of Jamaica. The project targeted persons within the selected communities who were without the required birth registration and other nationally required civil registration documents.
The initiative also included a survey of approximately 1,051 households, which was undertaken in December 2012, to collect data on other social services needs, including Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), among others.