Gray’s Green projects serve as models for community empowerment

A handicraft programme in the Gray’s Green community and other programmes geared toward equipping “the boys on the block” with life skills are paving the way for other communities to be empowered through education.

The Community Development Division (CDD) in the Ministry of Health, Social Transformation and Consumer Affairs will be focusing this year on empowering communities and will partner with other agencies and businesses to successfully execute projects to have similar initiatives in other communities.

According to a release from the ministry, field officers are being encouraged to carry out needs assessment in their respective zones to determine current data on humanitarian needs in areas of education, unemployment, care of the elderly, safety and security and other environmental situations that may have negative effects on residents.

Director of CDD Brenda Thomas-Odlum indicated that the data collected will be presented to the Social Policy Unit to be analysed and used to guide policy document.

In addition to this, the Community Development Division is working with Caricom to formulate a national Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the release said.

A draft constitution has been completed for NGOs and CBOs. And a consultation will be held as the third phase of the project, the date of which will be announced later.

The CDD is also promoting volunteerism and is appealing to retirees with technical and professional skills to volunteer to work with projects or programmes in the communities.

Other successful ongoing projects are the formation of neighbourhood watch groups in the various communities, the beautification and environmental project, the re-introduction of the homes, families and gardens festival and the recognition of centenarians.