Denham Town ZOSO delivering big time
The Denham Town Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) to date has seen considerable investments that have resulted in major rehabilitation works to the community’s roads and key community resource assets funded to the tune of over $100 million.
Completed projects, according to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), include extensive zinc fence removals benefiting more than 1,000 households, with approximately eight kilometres of roadway paved and major upgrades to the Denham Town Police Station.
Funding partner, the European Union (EU), has also provided support in the completion of several construction projects, including the expansion of the Regent Street Seventh-day Adventist Early Childhood Development School and the rehabilitation of the Denham Town Police Station. The completion of both projects cost approximately $80 million.
SPENDING SO FAR
“Those activities were funded with the help of our EU partners. But overall, I would say upwards of $100 million has been spent within the zone so far,” JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney told The Gleaner in recent interviews.
Sweeney indicated that the major infrastructure investments in Denham Town have been completed, with minor but important touches now under way.
“One of the strategies we are using in the ZOSO is to improve the assets of community resources. What we call the build phase of the ZOSO also includes the building and strengthening of the social capital of the community in this new environment.
“We are now in the final stages of completing our beautification and green-spaces programme. We want to establish green spaces and beautify some particular areas, especially to restore the park that children play in,” Sweeney stated.
In conjunction with this, a total of 75 environmental warders have been trained and employed in street-sweeping and debushing activities.
“We see this as a necessary soft support for disputes and conflict resolution, providing natural and maintained spaces where persons can get away and cool off from arguments. And with our environmental wardens, this is something we plan to have them continue to maintain in the long term,” he added.
As the key social development partner within the zone, Sweeney explained that the JSIF has been working in tandem with the Ministry of National Security to bolster the efforts of the joint security forces.
This includes major rehabilitation works at the Denham Town Police Station that has seen leaking roofs renovated and the construction of several other necessary facilities.
Rehabilitation of the existing administrative area, two security posts, two restrooms, six Criminal Investigations Bureau offices, an exhibit room, storage and lunch areas have been completed.
“It is a big facility and it hosts a number of departments. What we are trying to do is to make the station as a community resource very amenable for the police and the residents who go there to interact with the police.
“This is in conjunction with the new thrust of the Ministry of National Security, which is to redefine and re-imagine the police as not just a place of law enforcement and authority, but at the same time, we want it to be a community resource that is respected and provides a good work environment for the police,” said Sweeney.
The JSIF has also partnered with the Community Development Committee (CDC), which oversees the community engagement and administration of several skills-training programmes and employment opportunities targeting the youth and other unemployed persons.
“We have over 200 youth who have gained short-term employment from the road works that is taking place in the community. And these are youths who were just sitting down doing nothing,” CDC President Dellon Gayle told The Gleaner in a recent interview.
“Another 150 youth have participated in life skills training as well, which is another tremendous plus of the ZOSO,” he added.
Gayle further noted that close to 700 residents who did not have the new Registrar General’s Department’s (RGD) birth certificate are now in possession of the crucial government document.
“The birth certificate initiative targeted persons who had the old birth certificate from long time, and you had some who lost it or didn’t have one. So we went out and engaged with the residents and were able to partner with the RGD to get the new certificates for these persons,” said Gayle.
In the meantime, Sweeney indicated that community engagement continues as a crucial aspect of the social development taking place within the ZOSO, noting that several other initiatives have been implemented, including support for students in need of learning devices.
“We continue to provide support with back-to-school, children who need tablets, closing the digital divine, and so on. We are also making smaller investments in those things because the large investments in infrastructure are now completed,” Sweeney concluded.
Breakdown of infrastructure and social investments in Denham Town ZOSO:
Infrastructure: 6,178 resident beneficiaries
* 7.8 km of roads paved and completed
* 1,020 households receiving water lateral pipes
* 96 households to gain access to NWC sewage treatment
* 1,338 students benefitted from Denham Town Safe Passages (St Annes, St Albans and Edward Seaga primary schools
* 750 residents of Pink and Chestnut lanes to benefit from water and sewage rectification project
* Expansion to the school buildings (Regent Street SDA Early Childhood Development School and St Annes Primary School
* Rehabilitation of the Denham Town Police Station
Social investments: 1,062 beneficiaries
* 48 enterprise grants
* 137 livelihood participants (training and skills development
* 654 residents receive RGD birth certificates
* 28 curfew monitors trained
* 75 environmental workers trained and employed
* 300 students benefitting from Summer Camp activities.