Sun | Mar 26, 2023

Digicel Foundation gives $15M to Best Community Competition

Published:Friday | May 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Annotto Bay wins first prize: Digicel CEO Mark Linehan presents Annotto Bay's president, Ruel Francis, with a commemorative plaque. The Annotto Bay community in St Mary won first place at the parish level in the 2011/2012 National BEST Community Competition. Annotto Bay won $300,000. Since its inception, the Digicel Foundation has committed $10 million to the competition. This year, the Foundation has invested a total of $15 million. Judging for the 2012 competition is under way. - Contributed

The Digicel Foundation has allocated $15 million to support the National Better Environments for Social Transformation (BEST) community Competition and Programme (NBCCP). This brings the foundation's support of NBCCP to a total of $55 million since the programme's inception in 2006.

NBCCP, a joint public-private initiative, was launched with the goal of fostering sustainable development through projects that promote self-help and self-reliance. These projects create jobs and generate income reinvested into communities to fund existing initiatives and creation of new ones.

Special focus is given to eight areas including: the built and natural environments; hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness; health and waste management; socio-economic activities; heritage and culture; youth development and education. Eight special area prizes are also awarded each year in every parish and at the national level.

These include: Most Beautiful Community, Best Community Spirit and Self-Reliance, Most Improved Agricultural Practices, Best Heritage and Cultural Programme, Best Youth Develo-pment Programme, Best Kept Educational Institution and a Best Visitor Experience.

Major partners

From the outset, the foundation has served as one of NBCCP's major partners and has, for four years, committed $10 million annually, most of which is for prizes in every parish as well as the grand national prize.

This year, in celebration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, the Digicel Foun-dation will provide an additional $4 million to the National Best Community Foundation (NBCF) to fund a capacity-building programme for 50 of Jamaica's communities. This programme will be carried out in conjunction with the Social Development Commission.

"We are dedicated to supporting the NBBCP, as there is a great need in Jamaica to not only develop, but also to maintain projects that foster and promote sustainability," remarked Samantha Chantrelle, executive director of the foundation.

"The team is supported by the SDC, a major partner that works tirelessly to form and encourage communities to become more involved and self-reliant in the development of their communities. This is something that is very important to us at the Digicel Foundation and we will continue to do our part to support this very unique programme," Shantrelle added.

The fifth annual NBCCP is under way and winners will be announced in August when some $17,350,000 will be awarded in prizes.

Foundation Facts

The Digicel Foundation is one of the largest local private-sector foundations in Jamaica. Since its inception in 2004, the foundation has invested more than J$1.2 billion in communities islandwide.

The Digicel Foundation has been proactive in the areas of education, special needs and community empowerment.

It had also invested more than J$100 million in its enrichment initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Education

J$38 million has been invested in resource rooms in high schools islandwide.

The foundation is committed to building three special-needs schools, and has invested more than J$60 million in community-empowerment initiatives.