2016 annual report shows strong growth in outreach, impact
Over 800,000 Jamaicans were positively touched by the work of the Digicel Jamaica Foundation during the organisation’s previous financial year, the Foundation said in a news release Friday.
This amounts to nearly one in every four Jamaicans directly or indirectly benefitting from the Foundation’s partnerships in education, special needs, entrepreneurship, and community development.
A local private philanthropic entity, the Digicel Foundation invested US$3.6 million ($460.8 million) over the past year in schools and communities islandwide. The figure was disclosed at the launch of the organisation’s annual report held at the Digicel Building in downtown Kingston on Thursday.
The report highlights that the foundation gave more than it had originally planned for the medium term 2013 to 2016; in some cases tripling initial targets. As examples, allocations for special needs teacher training and the number of social enterprises funded were increased.
An original idea to positively impact the lives of 75,000 Jamaicans under the foundation’s community development agenda, instead recorded a total reach of 214,164 persons.
“The dedicated Digicel Foundation team members were inspired by our partners, local and international, Government, and private sector,” noted Digicel Foundation Chairman Jean Lowrie-Chin. “We saw their resolve and dedication, resulting in higher educational achievements, greater awareness, and respect for our special needs community and extensive job creation.”
In explaining why more lives have been positively influenced by the expanded focus, Chief Executive Officer of the Digicel Foundation Samantha Chantrelle stated: “We received unwavering support from our project partners and beneficiaries which aided us in having a stronger impact on the lives of our fellow Jamaicans.”
The organisation’s commitment to supporting the special needs community continued this year as it funded 14 significant projects across the island in coordination with local and international partners.
The parish of Portland felt the greatest impact, with over 507,000 lives being touched by the work of the organisation. A Centre of Excellence which was constructed to support a range of physical, behavioural and intellectual special needs was the centrepiece of the various projects executed in the parish over the past year.
Other landmark ventures included: the Ramps in School Programme; the provision of 32 mobile science laboratories to as many high schools; the training of teachers of students with special needs; and partnerships with several community groups to expand entrepreneurial activities.
In its 12 years of existence, the Digicel Foundation has successfully implemented 737 projects at a cost of over $3 billion;as the organisation continues to work with dedicated partners in order to achieve Jamaica’s development goals.
The Digicel Foundation, a non-profit organisation, was established in September 2004 and is committed to supporting the development of Jamaica through a number of socially impactful projects.
The main objectives of the Digicel Foundation include driving efforts to achieve Jamaica’s Millennium Development Goal of increased literacy; the use of information and communication technology (ICT) tools and equipment in primary schools and increased training for teachers; enhancing the care of special needs children across the island in a variety of ways, including training for teachers; and the pursuit of sustainable projects and partnerships for community development.