Transforming Lives through Renewable Energy Initiative and Youth Empowerment in Majesty Gardens, Jamaica

PROJECT BRIEF

“Transforming Lives through Renewable Energy Initiative and Youth Empowerment in Majesty Gardens, Jamaica”

Background/Situation Analysis

The Community Renewal Programme (CRP) has been conceptualised by the Government 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). Majesty Gardens in St. Andrew is a pilot community being targeted under the CRP. The Majesty 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.

The community is faced with poverty and high levels of unemployment. Over 80% of the population does not pay for electricity. The community is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as flooding and drought due to poor infrastructure (i.e. inadequate sanitary conveniences, poor drainage, and improper waste disposal). These social issues have severely impacted the quality of life for these residents, especially their livelihoods. Also impacted is the significant loss to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo.), as a result of the theft of electricity mostly from The Saint Andrew Settlement (SAS) - the hub that provide the community with essential services.

About the Project

The project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) 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. This will be done by introducing renewable energy (RE) and improving energy efficiency (EE) of the Saint Andrew Settlement (SAS) which houses and operates the community’s only basic school (Majesty Gardens Basic School), a healthcare facility (where medical practitioners and dentists volunteer), church, kitchen, library, youth club and other facilities which provide needed services, including a homework assistance programme, daily feeding programme, and day care for the elderly. The project aims to create an energy efficient, solar powered Saint Andrew Settlement by outfitting it with a solar energy system to reduce their electricity bill. The SAS will be used as a multi-purpose facility offering essential services including training and building awareness in RE and EE to the community. Community youths will be trained in Renewable Energy Technologies focusing on solar PV system installation and operation, maintenance and entrepreneurial/livelihood opportunities in new areas. Additionally, Energy Wardens will be identified from the community to assist with the promotion of the project’s objectives and ensure sustainability through continuous educational interventions with the residents. This project also aligns with the overall mission of Majesty Gardens which is to empower its citizens in developing a safe and secure community.

Project Goal

To reduce the electricity cost of Saint Andrew Settlement by up to 70% over the project period as well as to build awareness among community members of the benefits of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE).

Objectives

  • To implement Renewable Energy (solar technology) and Energy Efficiency at Saint Andrew Settlement to reduce the electricity cost;
  • To increase awareness on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and stimulate behaviour change among the residents of the community through education;
  • To enhance skills in Renewable Energy by training and certifying 6 youths (males and females) in Renewable Energy technologies;
  • To create an Action Plan to expand the penetration of Renewable Energy in the community and promote sustainable livelihoods in Renewable Energy technologies.

Project Duration

  • The project is expected to be 18 months in duration (September 2014 – February 2016)

Project Justification

  • The St. Andrew Settlement is at risk of closing its doors due to escalating energy costs and theft of their electricity, which renders their energy bill astronomically high. The Project therefore aims to provide SAS with an alternate source of energy (renewable), which will reduce their energy bill, thereby enabling them to manage the associated costs and thus sustainably keep their operations going. Additionally, the project will contribute to the Government of Jamaica’s effort to boost the use of renewable energy, sustainable climate change mitigation strategies and form the basis for replication in the other ninety nine (99) Community Renewal Programme and communities.

Implementation & Project Steering Committee (PSC)

  • The project will facilitate the formulation of strategic partnerships with public and private sector agencies through the introduction of renewable energy and promotion of sustainable livelihoods. The Project Steering Committee (PSC) consists of representatives from the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), St. Andrew Settlement (SAS), the St. Andrew Parish Church (SAPC), the Social Development Commission (SDC), the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy & Mining (MSTEM) and the Environmental Health Foundation (EHF).

Key Activities

  • Reduced electricity cost of SAS through the installation of Solar PVs and LED lights
  • Sensitization sessions and workshops to increase awareness on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency among the community
  • Enhanced skills in Renewable Energy by providing certified training in Renewable Energy and Renewable Efficiency.

Events