Thu | Jun 8, 2023

GoodHeart | Scotiabank fêtes women of Parade and Rose Gardens

Published:Saturday | March 18, 2023 | 12:48 AM
From left: Sashana Benjamin; Kesima Richards; Khayon Desouza-White, senior manager, retail effectiveness, Scotiabank; Martesha Allen and Mariephil Ridguard at the Scotiabank /Project STAR Women’s Day Reception, held at the National Gallery in downtown Ki
From left: Sashana Benjamin; Kesima Richards; Khayon Desouza-White, senior manager, retail effectiveness, Scotiabank; Martesha Allen and Mariephil Ridguard at the Scotiabank /Project STAR Women’s Day Reception, held at the National Gallery in downtown Kingston.

‘Everybody FAHWUD with Project STAR’ aptly describes the collaborative social initiative, spearheaded by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), that is organised to bring about societal transformation through targeted interventions in under-resourced areas of Jamaica.

With support from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), civil society and the government, Project STAR, through consultation and collaborative efforts with community stakeholders, identifies the various needs of these communities. The team then work with partners, public, private, non-governmental organisations, multilaterals, individuals locally and overseas to connect these communities with the resources and services that they need.

Dr Nadiya Figueroa, of Project STAR’s Project Implementation Unit, said during a recent International Women’s Day function hosted by Scotiabank, at the National Gallery in downtown Kingston, that they have created a rigorous process of feedback, review, learning and improvement so that the projects that are undertaken remain relevant, and can be owned by the community.

The programme she said will have long-term impact on social intervention across the selected communities across the island.

“Our deep-seated commitment to achieving substantive and sustained change at the community level is demonstrated by ongoing accountability and reporting. We believe that with collective action across the society, we can realise a shared vision of Jamaica in which everyone is valued and has the opportunity to thrive,” Dr Figueroa said.

The objective of the societal transformation will see targeted interventions in about 20 under-resourced residential areas of Jamaica. The implementation process will last for five years in each community intervention. It will be funded by a mixed financing model consisting of profits from listing on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange, corporate donations, diaspora crowdfunding and multilateral funding.

Scotiabank is a sponsor of the Project STAR initiative now taking place in the Parade and Rose Gardens communities and has donated $10 million to the peace-building initiative. According to Marcette McLeggon, chief risk officer at Scotiabank, the organisation always strives to be a strong support for the diverse communities they serve.

“We are working together with our employees, customers, and community partners to remove barriers, increase opportunities, to foster what we call economic resilience and to improve representation for women globally,” McLeggon said.

She said programmes like the Scotiabank Women Initiative are a prime example of how they work to achieve this goal in breaking down the barriers to increase economic opportunity for women to grow and develop professionally.

UNIQUE CHALLENGES

“The programme is aimed at advancing women-led and women-owned businesses in Jamaica. We acknowledge female business-owners face unique challenges and are at various stages on their journey and so we conduct activities including workshops, mentorship sessions and community outreach activities, such as this to “meet women where they are” and help them get ready for the next step on your journey – whether it is to start or grow a business, to join a board of directors or even to get ready for that first job interview,” McLeggon said.

“This is a role we are delighted to play and as we have for the past 133 years, we will continue to contribute to worthy initiatives such as Project STAR,” she concluded.

The reception hosted 40 small entrepreneurs, mothers, educators and other respected female leaders from these communities. Roll out of the social initiative began in September 2022 in east downtown Kingston, followed by May Pen and Savanna-la-Mar.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com