Empowering Parade Gardens, Kingston through Renewable Energy & Skills Training


Empowering Parade Gardens, Kingston through Renewable Energy & Skills Training"

Background/Situation Analysis

The Community Renewal Programme (CRP) has been conceptualised by the Government of Jamaica through the office of the Planning Institute of Jamaica on the premise that security, justice and community economic well-being are pre-requisites for the sustainable development of Jamaica’s communities and for the country as a whole. The goal of the CRP is to empower residents to achieve their fullest potential and contribute to the attainment of a secure, cohesive and just Jamaican society as outlined in Goals 1 and 2 of Vision 2030 Jamaica. The CRP, therefore, is a platform for the coordination of development initiatives aimed at reversing the negative socio-economic trends in communities which contribute to their marginalization from the Jamaican society; and the exclusion of their residents in the economy and society. It focuses on 100 volatile and vulnerable communities in the 5 most crime-affected parishes (these parishes account for over 80% crime and 70% of Jamaica’s murder rate). Parade Gardens in St. Andrew is a community being targeted under the CRP. The Parade Gardens Renewal Intervention is a multi-agency effort aimed at re-asserting the legitimate role of the state in the community and elevating the standard of living of its resident.

Parade Gardens is an urban community situated in the South Central section of the Kingston Metropolitan Region. The Community is bounded by Rose Gardens in the North, Rae Town to the East, the Caribbean Sea in the South and Central Downtown to the West. Of the myriad of problems facing the community, the top five are unemployment, followed by poor parenting, crime and violence, poor housing and limited recreational areas. According to a Community Profile of Parade Gardens by the Social Development Commission (2014), the major issue of unemployment, which affects over 40% of head of households, is as a result of low or no academic qualifications to meet job requirements, little or no job experience, low skills level or formal certification, and unavailability of jobs. Multiple studies have revealed a direct relationship between unemployment and high crime rate. The recent construction of the community centre has addressed the previous lack of recreational space for the unengaged youths. However, there is the need to ensure the centre’s capacity to adequately sustain its operations to create opportunities and facilitate meaningful activities for youths. Not addressing the problems of unemployment and lack of recreational areas, which are critical problems identified by residents, only puts the community further at risk of increased crime and violence.

About the Project

The project, which is funded by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Environmental Health Foundation (EHF), and implemented by EHF, aims to build the community’s capacity for climate change mitigation as well as complement climate change adaptation strategies and improve the residents’ employability. This will be done by installing renewable energy (solar) and energy efficient technologies at the community centre that will significantly reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint, and lessen national dependency on imported oil. The project will also provide certified skills training to thirty (30) residents of the community with specific focus on youths. Of the thirty (30), ten (10) will be trained in Renewable Energy Technologies, focusing on solar PV system installation, operation and maintenance; ten (10) in Food Preparation, levels 1 and 2 (an already established livelihood in the community); and ten (10) to receive Driving Lessons, toward securing a general driver’s licence - a pre-requisite for many employment opportunities. The Renewable Energy training will be done in collaboration with the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) while the Food Preparation training will be conducted by Heart Trust/NTA. Additionally, behaviour change workshops and training sessions (non-certified) will be held with the wider community on renewable energy, energy efficiency, career development and entrepreneurship.

Project Value: Cash funding from DBJ – J$6.9M | Cash funding from EHF – J$4.1M | In-kind contributions by EHF – J$9M | TOTAL VALUE: J$20M

Project Goal: To contribute to sustainable national development through renewable energy initiatives and employment opportunities in Parade Gardens.

Overall Objective: To enhance the viability and sustainability of the Parade Gardens Community Centre by reducing its energy cost through the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency, while enhancing the livelihood of community residents by means of skills training, and building awareness of energy efficiency to the wider community over twelve (12) months.

Specific Objectives:

  • To install a 10kW renewable energy (solar) system at the Parade Gardens Community Centre to reduce their energy cost by at least 70% as well as install 73 energy saving LED lights at the Community Centre and select households in the community.
  • Increase knowledge on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (as a climate change mitigation strategy); career and personal development and entrepreneurship, and stimulate behaviour change among the residents of the community through workshops and sensitization sessions.
  • Train and certify 30 residents in Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency (10 youths), Food Preparation (10 persons) and Driving (10 persons).

Key Activities:

  • Reduce electricity cost of the Parade Gardens Community Centre through the installation of a 10KW Solar PV System and LED lights.
  • Distribute LED lights to selected households in the community.
  • Host 2 sensitization sessions with the community residents to introduce project objectives and highlight the impact of the Solar PV System on the centre.
  • Host 6 Behaviour Change workshops with community residents to increase awareness of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency among the community.
  • Enhance skills by providing certified training for 10 youths in Renewable Energy, 10 residents in Food Preparation – Levels 1&2 and 10 residents in driving to obtain a General Drivers’ Licence.

Implementation & Project Steering Committee

The project will facilitate the formulation of strategic partnerships with public and private sector agencies to ensure the success of the programme. The organizations to form the Project Steering Committee (PSC) are the Parade Gardens Community Development Committee (Programme Coordinators on this project), Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Citizens Security & Justice Programme (CSJP), Social Development Commission (SDC), Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS), and Environmental Health Foundation (EHF). Training partners will include H.E.A.R.T Trust NTA and Keys Driving School.

Project Achievements