Launch of USAID Local Partner Development Programme, May 25, 2017, Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel
Launch of USAID Local Partner Development Programme
Terra Nova All Suites Hotel
Thursday May 25, 2017
It is indeed a pleasure to be here this evening for the launch of this important local partnership programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID. The USAID is one of our long-standing, committed International Development Partner, providing assistance to aid Jamaica’s effort to meet its development objectives. Development assistance began in 1962 and in the spirit of true partnership USAID has been journeying faithfully with us for almost 55 years. USAID has provided Official Development Assistance to help us to advance common goals and collaboratively address the complex challenges faced by Jamaica.
In USAID’s current Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) covering the period 2014-2018 there are three areas of focus:
- Improving resilience and sustainability of targeted livelihoods and ecosystems
- Citizen Security – reducing violence in target communities and
- Reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in target populations.
The Local Partner Development (LPD) Programme which is being launched today is supported under the area of Citizen Security and is my focus this evening. This five year programme is aimed at building the capacity of Jamaica’s civil society sector in partnership with key government partners. Beneficiaries will include: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Social Enterprises (SEs), Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Intermediate Service Organizations (ISOs). Through the capacity building of LPD beneficiaries the programme hopes to improve these organizations’ sustainability, ability to advocate for improvements in their enabling environments and support community based crime and violence prevention initiatives.
Community based crime and violence prevention initiatives are being supported under the USAID funded Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) II project, which provides Jamaica’s Community Renewal Programme (CRP) with critical support in strengthening the country’s capability to improve the security and safety of CRP communities and increase the cooperation between communities and law enforcement. Currently 25 CRP communities across 5 parishes are benefitting. It is heartening to know that the LPD will support this programme.
Building capacity for effective governance and conflict management is critical. It is important to build institutional capacity to respond to and resolve violent conflict, promote tolerance, and build peace. The CRP has shown that both government and communities are indeed strengthening their ability to regulate disputes constructively and non-violently, promote dialogue, and build consensus. In cases where the national capacity to manage and resolve conflicts peacefully does not exist, countries are more susceptible to violent conflict. USAID is a key partner for Jamaica in its efforts to reduce violence in target communities.
The Government recognizes the importance of non state actors in delivering services. In fact some civil society organizations have been occupying the role of service providers, alongside government on the ground. LPD is therefore a new approach that addresses one of the main challenges facing many civil society organizations – sustainability. LPD will systematically strengthen the institutional capacity of these organizations so that they can survive with minimal government intervention. It is a more effective way of partnership between government and civil society. It is important to reiterate that the programme will help to build capacity by strengthening skills, competencies and abilities so that measurable and sustainable results can be achieved. It is expected that there will be improvements in institutional structures and processes so that the organization can efficiently meet its mission and goals in a sustainable way. Often, because of fiscal consolidation, Government’s reach is limited, especially in rural areas. In this regard, Government especially welcomes LPD’s islandwide scope.
I concur with USAID’s views that NGOs/CBOs are critical change agents in promoting social progress and economic growth. They are important stakeholders in development who can help to achieve our development objectives, contribute to national priorities, and advance community development. The USAID/ LPD/ PIOJ will be a strong partnership that will support Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan its goals and outcomes. This partnership will help to empower Jamaicans to achieve their fullest potential. This partnership will see government and citizens working together to address economic growth through the provision of employment opportunities, business development support, diverse engagement across CSOs, government entities and the private sector. This partnership will harness and mobilize, local, social and financial resources towards our common vision. This partnership will more effectively link the diverse needs of beneficiary organizations to the skill sets available in a manner that creates a significant impact.
Effective partnerships therefore need to be nurtured. The LPD will bring benefits by exposing organizations to new ideas, ways of thinking and resources. The LPD activities will not only directly increase the capacity of targeted civil society groups but will also allow for improvements to the environments in which such Jamaican organizations operate. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of these organizations.
In closing I wish to take this opportunity to express appreciation to the USAID, on behalf
of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (and the wider Government of Jamaica) for the
assistance provided over the years. We commend them on their contribution in helping
to address the many challenges Jamaica face as we strive to be Jamaica the place of
choice to live, work, raise families and do business. Thank you.