Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.
Cooperation and partnership will continue to play a large role in the initiatives of the Digicel Foundation as much growth is found in the continued partnership with institutions whose mandates and spirit match our core objectives. Continued partnerships between the Ministry of Education, the Barita Education Foundation and the Jamaica National Foundation show how the pooling of resources and the sharing of ideas can result in a compound effect benefitting the communities and citizens of Jamaica.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
This partnership was created out of the mutual objectives of the Digicel Foundation to contribute to education in Jamaica and the Ministry’s goal of achieving 100% literacy at the Grade 4 level by 2015. Improving literacy at the primary school level is an instrumental step in improving the quality of life of citizens in developing countries and possibly the catalyst to achieving their full potential. In 2006, The Digicel Foundation partnered with a pilot literacy and resource room programme at the Jessie Ripoll Primary School in Kingston which saw the school being ranked number 1 in their region and eventually number 1 in the island. This initiative was recognized by the Ministry of Education who offered their expertise and insight into improving the concept of the resource room into an “Enrichment centre”. As of 2010, the over 1700 students exposed to the now 25 enrichment centres had seen an average movement of two grade levels in literacy. The Ministry is working hard to ensure that the 2015 goal is still in sight and the continued growth of this partnership will be a key part of the plan.
BARITA EDUCATION FOUNDATION
This was the third year of a partnership forged with the Barita Education Foundation who through their research had realized that a significant portion of our nation’s children spent their formative years (between 3 and 6) being taught in privately owned basic schools by teachers who had not been properly trained in early childhood education. The Digicel Foundation found that the BEF had created an excellent model that involved taking trained teachers into basic schools in the inner city and delivering a specially designed curriculum to these basic school teachers. Ms. Donna Leslie of the BEF said “The programme is rather like an intervention as we go into communities that are usually affected by the problems associated with their economic state.”
The BEF would deliver this programme over the course of a year and the results of the programme are then monitored for a number of years thereafter to make sure that the results are being had and are sustainable. The partnership with the Digicel Foundation and the Barita Education Foundation sees the Barita Education focusing on the training of the teachers, while Digicel Foundation focuses of the physical aspect on the schools including creating Resource Centres and refurbishing other areas of the schools as needed and the remuneration of four of the eight teachers.
THE JAMAICA NATIONAL FOUNDATION
Inspired work by the Jamaica National Foundation paved the way for another partnership for the Digicel Foundation. Innovator, Saffrey Brown had created a whole new template for empowering communities through a sustainable community centre which Jamaica National Foundation dubbed, “The Source”. The JNF went into communities and studied the needs of the community members and designed a self sustainable community centre geared specifically to address these needs. This concept is the first of its kind in Jamaica and the Digicel Foundation and Jamaica National Foundation partnered to construct the largest Source centre yet in Savannah-La-Mar, Westmoreland. Saffrey Brown, explained that “Digicel has come on board as the first private sector franchisee outside of the JN Group, and as a result of their significant financial and technical assistance, we have been able to create a ‘bigger, better’ Source for Savanna-la-Mar”. She went on to explain that “‘The Source’ was developed to serve as a platform for sustainable economic growth”, adding further that “members of more than five marginalized communities in Savanna-la-Mar will benefit from unprecedented access to information, resources and services that empower and build their income generating capacity”.