Press Release: EHF/DBJ Project Close-out and Handing-over Ceremony

 “Empowering Parade Gardens, Kingston, through Renewable Energy & Skills Training”

 Kingston, Jamaica:

Member of Parliament of Kingston Central, the Reverend Ronald Thwaites, MP, was the keynote speaker at the recent close-out and handing over ceremony for the project: Empowering Parade Gardens, Kingston, through Renewable Energy & Skills Training. The ceremony was convened by the Environmental Health Foundation (EHF) and the Parade Gardens Community on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 3 p.m. at the Parade Gardens Community Centre, on Laws Street in Kingston.

In his address, Rev. Thwaites outlined the various opportunities that will emerge, in short order, for the new skills acquired by the trainees under the project, as a result of the anticipated expansion of various corporate entities in downtown Kingston, who will need chefs, drivers and solar energy system engineers.

The project was initiated by EHF, acting on an invitation from the Community Renewal Programme (CRP), a multi-agency effort, coordinated by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), aimed at reasserting the legitimate role of the state in vulnerable communities and elevating the standard of living of their residents. The project was facilitated through the formulation of strategic partnerships with various public and private sector agencies including the Parade Gardens Community Development Committee, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Social Development Commission (SDC), Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

The project, which was funded by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to the tune of J$6.9M, with counterpart funding from EHF, was implemented by EHF. It aimed to build the community’s capacity for climate change mitigation by installing a 10kW solar energy system at the Parade Gardens Community Centre to improve the Centre’s energy efficiency, as well as to address the problem of unemployment through certified skills training of residents.

Eleven community youths were successfully trained and certified by CMI in Basic Solar Photovoltaic Design & Installation; five residents were enrolled in the Commercial Food Preparation (Level 3) course at the Boys Town Vocational Training Centre, which is certified by HEART Trust NTA; twelve residents benefitted from skills training in LED Array Assembly, where they learnt how to build a circuitry of L.E.D. lights that can used in energy efficient light bulbs and tubes. Out of this latter training, 100 light bulbs and 40 tubes were assembled by the trainees, and will be distributed to the Parade Gardens Community Centre and select households within the community, to further aid energy conservation efforts. Finally, fifteen residents participated in the driving training, conducted by Keys Driving School, with thirteen being successful and now holding a General Driver’s License.

Latoya Foster, Projects Manager at EHF, outlined the benefits realized from the solar energy system, which was designed and installed by SolarBuzz Jamaica. These include a decrease in carbon emissions of over sixteen (16) tonnes and a reduction of over 70% in the electricity bills of the Centre.

Tamara Richards, Project Beneficiary, indicated that, “EHF came into our lives at the time we needed it most. Our lives have improved significantly and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.”

Based on the success of the project, Managing Director of the DBJ, Milverton Reynolds, expressed desire to support similar projects in other vulnerable communities. Echoing similar sentiments was Mr. Charles Clayton, CRP Programme Director, who conveyed interest in replicating the project in several other at-risk communities within his portfolio.

CEO of EHF, Novlet Deans, whilst acknowledging the hard work of all the stakeholders who contributed to the project’s positive outcome, added that “without the resources provided by the DBJ, we would not have realized the impact that we did.”

The Development Bank of Jamaica Limited (DBJ) is a wholly owned Government institution that provides opportunities to all Jamaicans to improve their quality of life through development financing, capacity building, public-private partnership and privatisation solutions in keeping with Government policy. Their core values are Professionalism, Integrity, Accountability and Innovation.

Environmental Health Foundation (EHF) is a private, charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of people’s lives through the design and implementation of social projects and programmes in the areas of health, education, science & technology and the environment.

Community Renewal Programme (CRP) provides a platform for the coordination and enhancement of the delivery of government and civil society services to 100 volatile and vulnerable communities in the five most crime-affected parishes in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.