Clean for cash - JSIF-led sanitation project bringing new look and $$$ to the inner-city communities.
Beverly Williams wakes at 3:00 most mornings - long before the sun peeps through the windows at her house in Hannah Town, West Kingston - dons her neon-coloured vest, picks up her rake, broom, and garbage bags and heads out to do a job that many Jamaicans scoff at, cleaning the streets in her community.
But Williams knows the value of her work to her community and heads out without a murmur.
She is not the only one, there are 69 environmental wardens just like Williams in 12 inner-city communities across Kingston and St Andrew stretching from Passmore Town in the east to Majesty Gardens in the west.
Nicholas Campbell, heads a non-governmental organisation in Hannah Town and he has seen the difference in the community since the introduction of the wardens.
Campbell notes that the project has also provided an opportunity for employment which is a scarce commodity in the inner city.
According to Campbell, the community-sanitation programme, which is run by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), sees a rotation every two weeks with the environmental wardens earning $12,000 every fortnight, an income they would have otherwise not seen.
The wardens were trained through JSIF funded by a World Bank loan under the agency's Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP).
The project will see JSIF pumping up to US$2.5 million into solid-waste management interventions in 30 under served communities across the island.
But the project is not only about having persons cleaning the streets in their communities, it has a sanitation component that includes the building and equipping of multiple types of enclosures with skips (dumpsters) and drums in these communities.
These are not the usual skips which fall apart after a short while. These skips are being designed to be durable with an aesthetic appeal boasting a planter box for flowers.
The community-sanitation project will also include the establishment of enclosures, in select primary schools, for composting of biodegradable waste into organic fertiliser.
In addition, residential recycling structures are to be installed in some communities to facilitate separation of waste at source.
Construction of these state-of-the-art sanitation facilities is expected to begin in days.
Environmental specialist at JSIF, Dr Milton Clarke, who works closely with the communities, says the sanitation project is ground breaking in many ways.
According to Clarke, it is the first of its kind in the country and will involve up to 30 communities across the island.
Clarke notes that the project is a partnership involving many entities, including the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Recycling Partners of Jamaica, community-based organisations, and others.
The project will also bring to life the concept of incentive-based project management where the NSWMA will be rewarded with four trucks, two of which will be delivered only if it holds up its end of the bargain to have regular collections of waste in these communities.
Clarke added that a monitoring mechanism will be put in place where skips will be checked to ensure that they are regularly emptied and records of this will be kept and handed over by a community-based group.
"It will mean that income can be earned by the community through recycling; money that can go back into building more beautiful communities," said Clarke.
'It will also boost the capacity of the NSWMA and put less pressure on the waste-disposal sites as less material will end up there since some will be recycled while others will be composted into fertiliser that could be sold for a profit or used in school and community gardens, yet another win for the community," added Clarke.