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Earth Today | CBOs get chance to improve environmental services

Published:Thursday | April 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Community members from Trinityville in St Thomas participate in a community assessment organised by the CDRRF and the Social Development Commission.

MORE THAN 30 community-based organisations (CBOs) serving rural residents in areas of climate change and the environment, among others, have participated in an assessment to help build their capacity to better serve residents.

The exercise was carried out by the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank. It benefited organisations in Ramble, Llandewey and Trinityville in St Thomas; Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland; Jeffrey Town in St Mary; and Peckham and surrounding districts in Clarendon.

The assessments looked at capacity building in areas such as financial management, proposal writing and governance. In line with the CDRRF’s community engagement approach, the fund collaborated with the Social Development Commission (SDC), the principal community development agency in Jamaica, for the exercise.

It also included community-wide meetings, surveys looking at community perception of the CBOs, and focus group sessions – all aimed at determining the areas in which the organisations need the most strengthening.

The assessments will be used to determine the training courses that will be rolled out for the CBOs. CBO members could benefit from a mix of topics, such as project proposal writing, governance, financial and meetings management, governance and fundraising.

“We want to ensure that the community groups have the skill sets to sustain themselves even after the CDRRF is no longer present in those areas,” explained Richardo Aiken, community development specialist at the CDRRF.

“So these assessments will provide us with information as to where the training needs are and then, going forward, we will be able to design the training to meet those needs,” he added.

The first phase of assessments ran from April 1 to April 8, concluding with a workshop where a report on the findings of the assessment was shared to guide next steps.

“We are happy to see the process coming alive in the communities,” noted Sherine Francis, director of governance at the Social Development Commission.

“From the assessments we have done so far, we see that communities value the work of the CBOs. They see it as critical to getting sustained development in their space,” she added.

The assessments and subsequent training are another aspect of CDRRF’s approach to providing capacity-building support to organisations working at the community level. The five sub-projects in Jamaica are part of the eight CDRRF sub-projects being implemented across the Caribbean. Other subprojects are based in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.