KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) says it is investing two billion dollars (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) in several projects during the 2017-18 fiscal year that will support the government’s undertaking to neutralise factors deemed risks to the growth agenda.
As a result, more than 10,000 young people, deemed “at-risk”, are to be expected to benefit from jobs and other income-generating activities to be created from JSIF sponsored projects.
The JSIF, an agency in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), said this would be done by facilitating sustainable livelihoods in the target communities under programmes such as the Housing, Opportunity Production and Employment (HOPE) initiative, as part of the thrust to arrest the systemic drivers of poverty.
The JSIF’s projects are being facilitated with support provided by the government as well as several international development partners including the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the Basic Needs Trust Fund; the World Bank, under its Integrated Community Development Project; and the European Union’s Poverty Reduction Programme.
Details of the wide-ranging activities have been outlined in the JSIF’s submission to the OPM and notable among them is a series of workforce development, employment and wealth creation initiatives targeting residents in Community Renewal Programme (CRP) neighbourhoods, for which JSIF is spending J$685 million.
The CRP is a multifaceted government programme designed to address the living conditions in 100 communities that have been identified in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon and St James as the most socially problematic as a result of their volatility and vulnerability. It addresses community empowerment, housing, sanitation and waste disposal, economic opportunity, recreation, dispute resolution and crime, among other issues.
The agency is spending J$80 million on activities that will generate 1,400 new, short-term and temporary jobs that will span two weeks to 12 months.
These include data collectors for the proposed civil documentation programme; summer camp staff; unskilled labour for infrastructure work sites; and internships.
A total of J$67 million is earmarked for employment projects for 305 beneficiaries that will run for one year. Of this, J$30 million has been budgeted to remunerate 165 persons who will be recruited as environmental wardens and gazetted legal officers under the National Solid Waste Management (NSWM) Act.
This is in keeping with the administration’s comprehensive solid waste management programme focusing on the collection and disposal of refuse, enforcement and community sensitisation as well as improvement of communities’ infrastructure.
The beneficiaries will be responsible for enforcing the anti-litter laws, and sensitising residents to sustainable environmental management and community clean-up exercises. The agency is investing another J$27 million in its employment internship component, targeting 50 unemployed young people, aged 17 to 25.
They will be placed with local private-sector entities for 12 months, where they will be exposed to the corporate world of work; laying the foundation for career choices and getting opportunities to build valuable business networks.
In its submission, JSIF views the programme as fundamental to providing income-loss relief, building workplace competencies and experience and contributing to social and economic inclusion that supports Goals One and Two of the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan.