Digicel Foundation awards $2 million each to 15 community groups
The awardees are all smiles with their symbolic cheques of $2 million each from the Digicel Foundation, at an award ceremony held Tuesday at the Digicel headquarters in Kingston.
Fifteen organisations have been granted $2 million each by the Digicel Foundation to start their own community development projects.
The awardees, which included representatives from every Jamaican parish, were presented with the funds at a ceremony held at the Digicel headquarters on Ocean Boulevard in downtown Kingston. The initiative is part of Digicel Foundation's 15th anniversary celebrations.
The 15 community groups were selected from a list of 30 shortlisted applicants.
Karlene Dawson, CEO of the Digicel Foundation said, under the theme '15 Strong', the Digicel Jamaica Foundation, with a call for application in March 2019, embarked on a quest to identify 15 new community development project for investment.
Digicel Foundation chairman Jean Lowrie-Chin addressing the audience.
She said members of the 30 shortlisted groups took part in a training seminar on October 30.
The training was led by Dr Kadamawe Knife, Strategic Planning and Entrepreneurship Specialist from the Mona School of Business Centre for Entrepreneurship Thinking and Practice.
Dawson said the response was overwhelming.
“We received 123 applications from groups across Jamaica. Our community development programme officer had the difficult job of shortlisting the top 30 applicants and for the last three months our board of directors has been visiting the groups to decide on the final 15 – it has not been an easy task,” said the Digicel Foundation CEO.
Holness... challenged the awardees to go back to their communities and be agents of change.
“This year we wanted to celebrate our proactive involvement in community development by focusing on ensuring that our investment would touch every parish on the island,” continued Dawson. “For the past 15 years, we have enjoyed serving Jamaica and we look forward to another 15 years. We have been able to make so much possible with the support of our customers and partners."
Guest speaker at the ceremony, Juliet Holness, Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew and wife of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, congratulated the awardees and also challenged them to go back to their communities and be agents of change.
Jean Lowrie Chin, chairperson of the Digicel Foundation, in her address said the projects brought to more than 660,000 the number of persons that the Digicel Foundation has helped over its 15 years.
“If you look at the map of Jamaica and on the Digicel Foundation website, you will see the island covered with little dots; after 15 years it is looking beautiful, each coloured dots represents a completed project in three specific areas -community development, education and special needs,” said Lowrie Chin.
Entertainer Agent Sasco was, as usual, in fine form.
"We have completed a total of 1,236 projects; we have spent over four billion Jamaican dollars and impacted well over 660,000 lives,” she noted.
Allison Philbert, CEO of Digicel, said she was more than pleased with the work of the Digicel Foundation.
“At 15 strong, you are still a group of some of the most dedicated people I know. Our foundation is one of a handful of the philanthropic organisations in Jamaica that is dedicated to improving the lives of our people, particularly those with special needs, empowering our communities through social entrepreneurship and applying innovative techniques and solutions that enhance the teachings. The Foundation has come a long way and I salute you,” said Philbert.
The Foundation focuses on the areas of Community Development, Education and Special Needs.
Since 2017, the Digicel Foundation has been working with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) to upgrade basic school for certification by the Commission.
“There is a great sense of need in Jamaica, and this starts with our children. We have been working with ECC to ensure that basic schools have the necessary facilities to promote quality education in a safe environment,” said Dawson.