Wed | Oct 24, 2018

Clarendon communities benefit from development programme

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

Last Thursday, three communities in Clarendon - Georges Pen, Havana Heights and Sunny Acres - signed the official agreement at the launch of the New Zealand High Commission Embassy Fund Project and Community Development Coaching Programme.

The total funding of J$3.2 million will support the completion of community centres in Georges Pen and Sunny Acres and a homework centre in Havanna Heights.

The group responded to a call for funding sent out by the New Zealand High Commission Embassy Fund.

Local development coordinator for the New Zealand High Commission and managing director of the Research Agency for Development and Repositioning (RADAR), Dr Bridgett Barrett told Rural Xpress that the fund is meant to support small-scale, short-term community-based projects which supports the post's diplomatic objectives, "meet development needs and align with the New Zealand Aid Programme's overall mission of 'sustainable development in developing countries, in order to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world'."

Additionally, the Embassy Fund will also be supporting a Community Development Coaching programme in the selected communities which will be facilitated by RADAR.

According to Barrett, Community Development Coaching has never been done in Jamaica and RADAR has developed a culturally relevant model that will be piloted in these communities.

"Anyone who wants to be the best at his or her craft has a coach that provides expert knowledge, support, and guidance to ensure accountability. Similar to a life, business or sports coach, a community development coach will work with community leaders to create the type of community they envision. It is providing that extra support, with set targets to which community leaders are held accountable," stressed Barrett.

Community representatives expressed gratitude for the coaching programme as well as the development to their communities.

The New Zealand High Commission has been funding community development projects in Jamaica since June 2012, through its New Zealand Aid Programme.

The fund is a discretionary and is overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and managed by New Zealand Posts.

Between 2012 and 2015, seven communities have benefited from this Fund. This includes Greenvale and Snowdon (Manchester), Hamilton Gardens, St Catherine, Pear Tree River, St Thomas and Jacques Road, Franklyn Town and McGregor Gully, Kingston. The projects included renovation, repairs and upgrading of sports facilities, retrofitting community shelters and training first responders and installing solar systems to support community access points.