FLANKER, St James – The National Integrity Action (NIA), one of two agencies which has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development, Community Empowerment and Transformation Project II (USAID COMET II) has commended the Spot Valley High School and the Flanker Resource Centre, both in St James, for their initiatives aimed at changing the lifestyle of community members, and instilling values.
“We would like to applaud Spot Valley High, Flanker Resource Centre, and we would like to thank USAID for making all of this possible,” stated Jamie-Ann Chevannes, NIA youth outreach officer.
USAID COMET II recently sponsored a mural at Spot Valley High and bag juice packaging equipment and refrigerator for the Flanker Resource Centre, at a combined cost of over $5 million.
The Jamaica Observer West caught up with the team recently on the final day of a four-day working visit to St James, led by USAID’s Acting Mission Director to Jamaica, Rebecca Robinson.
The tour included the observation of a number of programmes implemented in the parish, the hosting of a stakeholders meeting, participating in Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) community events, the training of the judiciary in trafficking in persons, the hosting of a parenting mentor training workshop, the presentation of youth upliftment certificates and the launch of Cohort #2 USAID COMET II workforce development training.
Chevannes disclosed that the NIA offered rewards to various community-based, and non-government organisations that could come forth with innovative ways to assist in instilling positive values and attitudes within the society.
“Youth Crime Watch came forward to us with a proposal that we thought was highly innovative and that would allow persons through experiential learning to actually include the values of integrity and what it meant to them. And so, today we are here to see the fruit of that labour through the programme that is funded by USAID, that we now have students engaged in the integrity club within the Spot Valley High School, and as well as the mural that they unveiled today,” explained Chevannes.
Acting Principal Roan Green said the mural created by male students over the Christmas break, “speaks of the values that we would love to see in the school, the values that we would love to see coming out of each and every person, so the idea is to live it as we move along each day so that as persons come into the school they know what we are all about.”
Rocakeem Haughton, a welding and visual arts student, who hopes to become either a welder or a gallery owner, said he assisted in painting the mural with the positive messages for children to read.
Meanwhile, Robinson urged the students to “respect each other as you try to be the best you can be”.
“… It is very important for each and every one of you to respect each other. Respect yourself, because, unless you start with yourself with respect, the community cannot become a better place,” he argued.
As for the Flanker project, Chevannes said, “I think it is a wonderful concept, and I think it put Flanker at the moment as the standard-bearer, because it also shows that it is a community that wants to change for the good.”
Project manager of Youth Crime Watch of Jamaica, Casania Griffith noted that “the programme is not just to assist them (Flanker community) in building their social enterprise, but it’s about capacity building of the persons who will be running the resource centre … teaching them accounting, general marketing, teaching them about social enterprise”.
She noted that the programme started in 2016 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Flanker, adding that the initiative has resulted in various activities, including training programmes for social enterprises, the hosting of patenting workshops and the training of integrity ambassadors under the NIA brand, in an effort to assist in building the organisation and push the message of integrity.
Flanker Resource Centre programme manager, Alicia Spence, said funds generated from the bag juice business, named ‘Macky’s’ in recognition of the late Marlene McIntosh who started the resource centre, will be used to increase and enhance the programmes currently provided at the centre.
“There are a number of programmes that we have here, such as the homework club, suspension programme, the marching band and the performing and creative arts group,” explained Spence.
By: Anthony Lewis