Assessment of the relationship between the beneficiaries/affiliated enties of this grant contract

The JCDT has strengthened its relationship with eight Maroon communities in the Rio Grande Valley, St. Mary and St. Thomas, through its work in sustainable tourism in the communities. These communities are Hayfield, Scotts Hall, Millbank, Comfort Castle, Ginger House, Cornwall Barracks, Moore Town, Windsor.

These relationships were strengthened as the JCDT visited them to sensitize them, consult with them and provide information on the project before formally launching in their communities. We met with the communities once a month to discuss the project management status within the communities.

The meetings have also had the following impacts on the communities:

  1. Increased the cohesiveness of the communities as a Network, and the support given to each other, for example, Comfort Castle has continuously reached out to Millbank to assist them in the mobilizing phase and has pledged to continue to assist them throughout the life of the project.
  2. It has empowered the communities to have say over the decisions that are made in behalf of the network, which will impact their day to day lives as the subgrants phase of the project gets underway
  3. It has increased the communities’ understanding of the challenges faced in the project.

The threats and challenges that were identified in the communities’ SWOT analyses were incorporated into the plans going forward. Our organization has also incorporated comments and feedback from community members into the workplan and team reports. The recommended sites, challenges (such as tenurial rights), hydrogeology and geography of the relevant communities and at their preferred sites have been taken into consideration. Also, the dynamic effects of the social contexts within each community have been taken into consideration, and their potential effects on project success.

Our organization’s relationships with the 8 Maroon Communities and their various local groups were further strengthened, as we attended their pilot community tourism events and listened to their feedback as they explained the challenges that they had in putting their events together.

The JCDT has also begun to engage 26 community members in the Upper Yallas Watershed (Cinchona region) for sustainable agriculture/agroforestry and some community youth to reduce poverty and to empower at least 11 community youth through sustainable community tourism and alternative livelihoods, in a series of ongoing workshops/ internships including tour guiding, fire management and reforestation.

Assessment of the relationship between our organisation and state authorities in the action countries

The relationships between the Tourism Product Development Company, Jamaica National Heritage Trust, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica and the Social Development Commission, are positive, and have been especially useful in providing information on other project activities in the region, and how to best collaborate on our efforts. Representatives from each of these organisations have also attended several of the monthly community meetings, and the first round of community events to pilot the tour packages and provided valuable feedback and reassurance to these communities.

  • The Social Development Commission have been able to contribute relevant community profile, socioeconomic and demographic information as well as information on past projects. That has been very helpful for planning. We have also been communicating with a representative from the Social Development Commission Parish Office in St. Thomas, who has been attending community meetings, events and activities such as workshops, training activities and community pilot tour events.
  • The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.) was instrumental in training and certifying community members as Tour Guides, and a representative from their organization has joined us at some of the Community Tourism Events to provide valuable feedback.
  • We have also strengthened relationships with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, which have been present at some of the monthly community meetings.

Assessment of the relationship with other organizations

  • Associate(s) (if any)
  • Contractor(s) (if any)
  • Final beneficiaries and target groups
  • Other third parties involved (including other donors, other government agencies or local government units, NGOs, etc.)

There are no associates involved in implementing the action.

The contractors are as follows:

  • Dr. Chandra Degia- contracted to under line item Public Education & Community Outreach Consultancy, to conduct research that will the guide implementation of environmental education and community outreach programme and monitor its success, finalise the research instrument for data collection and analyse data by the end of June 2023. The Public Education & Community Outreach Consultant will be contracted in May 2023 to produce a strategy for Public Education & Community Outreach.
  • Josiann Woodburn- contracted under line item Business Development Consultancy for preparing report on site visit and Holywell tour with recommendations for tour pricing and improvements and provision of technical assistance to aid in package development and pricing.
  • Owen Evelyn- contracted under line item Business Development Consultancy for preparation of report on reconnaissance/ ground truthing along the cable car route from Hope Gardens to Holywell.
  • University of British Columbia - contracted under line item Carbon Trading Project Consultancy (pro bono)- to design and implement a feasible private voluntary market carbon trading project.

Final beneficiaries and target groups:

Our main beneficiary in Year 1 of the project was the local communities, more specifically the Maroon communities in the Buff Bay Valley, the Rio Grande Valley, one on St. Mary and another in St. Thomas. Community youth in the Buff Bay valley were trained in sustainable community tourism and alternative livelihoods, in a series of ongoing workshops/ trainings including tour guiding, fire management and reforestation. Maroon community members from Rio Grande Valley, St. Mary and St. Thomas were certified by the Tourism Product Development Company

(TPDCo) in TEAM Jamaica and Tour Guiding. These trainings are part of the JCDT’s activities in poverty alleviation through environmentally sustainable livelihoods.

Other third parties involved include:

  • We collaborated with a student and her lecturer/supervisor from the Chatham University, Pennsylvania, USA; she analysed the KAP Survey done in 2018 (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Study and the Socio-Economic and Socio-Cultural Assessment of the Yallahs and Hope Watershed Management Units) in which she found that environmental attitudes and behaviours were found to not be aligned, and that the findings which echoed past studies.
  • The Natural History Society of Jamaica has also responded to our invitation to join us at the different community tourism events and have been present at each of these events.
  • Charles Town Maroon Council- organised a community tour event, which served as a training activity for the other communities. The invited community members became more confident that they could successfully launch their tourism packages as they saw how Charles Town, a community with a similar historical and socio-economic background to theirs, has been able to sustainably offer their tourism package to visitors. It was a great experience to see the different communities connecting with each other and beginning to build relationships with each other.

Links and synergies developed with other actions

  • Threatened Trees Project funded by the Franklinia Foundation-To improve the conservation of at least 8 threatened trees and their cloud and rainforest habitat in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and World Heritage Site by improving knowledge and detailed protocols on forest restoration (population distribution, phenology, germination, propagation and growth) using at least 20 native, endemic and threatened tree species as a model and blueprint for conservation action, reducing encroachment in the National Park, increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of endangered and native trees species and their conservation and opportunities for income generation related to conservation, and improving forest restoration techniques shared with communities, academia, professionals and others.
  • Management Effectiveness Project funded by BIOPAMA- To enhance the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations (strengthening on-site infrastructure/equipment for patrolling, poaching control, developing capacity of staff), and to support local communities’ initiatives aiming to enhance the livelihoods of local people whilst effectively contributing to protected areas management.
  • Maroon Community Tourism Support Project funded by the Inter-American Foundation- To support the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the Blue and John Crow Mountains by supporting sustainable livelihoods and strengthening community organisations in 8 Maroon communities.
  • GEF SGP Project- To assist with ongoing conservation efforts which will address ecosystem-specific needs and the needs of particular species of concerns. Focus will be placed on generating revenue that will enhance community livelihoods. These initiatives will be done through greater awareness building and sustainable ecotourism. The project will enhance synergies among existing projects, government support and the income generating opportunities ecotourism provides to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the site’s management.
  • JSIF Project- The JCDT aims to capitalize on the rich ecotourism potential of Holywell by expanding accommodations for guests and staff and improve the site for a better customer experience. This will allow the site to increase its earnings and make significant contributions to JCDT operations and overall aim of conservation of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.

Training supported by the project

Please see the link to the report on the TEAM Jamaica and Tour Guide Training that was done in June - July 2023. The newly trained and certified tour guides were grateful for the TEAM Jamaica and Tour Guide Training Workshops, and expressed their eagerness to apply their knowledge in the real-world setting. Some testimonials are highlighted below:

Paula-Kay Cormack

Paula-Kay Cormack (Scotts Hall): I learnt a lot of different things, how to communicate with people, and it helped to build communication skills with peers, how to work with others, a lot on tourism and how to be a tour guide.

Damani Lewis

Damani Lewis (Millbank): I learnt how to be a professional tour guide, at first I did not have any experience about tour guiding or touring, and now I am fully versed in tour guiding. In my community, there are a lot of tour spots that no one is really improving and or trying to make improvements in, so I am going to try to do that.

Nevon Buckley

Nevon Buckley (Windsor): I learnt a lot and my experience was good, working with new people, TPDCo, and all the persons that made this possible, it was good and I really enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks to all the teachers and everyone else [that helped to make this possible]. I plan to benefit from this by working hard once a tour guiding opportunity comes up, I will always be there to do the best I can.

Rhieem Giddings

Rhieem Giddings (Millbank): My experience was great, I met a lot of new friends, good people, the teachers were good, everything was good. It has opened up more opportunities more me.

Ann-Marie Larmond

Ann-Marie Larmond (Comfort Castle): I have learnt how to treat my guests in a professional manner, and also different types of tour guiding, methods of tour guiding, my culture/history, and more. I have learnt new skills that I would like to pass on to others in my community.

JCDT | Protecting & Preserving Our Future

The JCDT appreciates the involvement and support of our Partners, Donors, and Sponsors
  • NEPA
  • Forestry Department
  • Jamaica National Heritage Trust
  • Environmental Foundation of Jamaica
  • Forest Conservation Trust
  • Pear Tree Press
  • Jamaica energy Partners