4 NGOs Fighting Poverty in Jamaica
As of 2017, the poverty rate in Jamaica was 19 percent, which was higher than more than half of the United States. Additionally, 8.9 percent of the population suffered from hunger as of 2016. Despite these seemingly discouraging statistics, Jamaica has seen several improvements in both the economy and standards of living. For example, Jamaica’s GDP in 2018 was $15.72 billion, which is a 6.34 percent increase from the previous year. The improvement is a direct result of efforts from the World Bank, the Jamaican government and active nonprofits working to combat the issue of poverty in Jamaica. The World Bank Group has invested $500 million in economic development. The Jamaican government instituted a progressive conditional cash transfer program called the Programme of Advancement and Higher Education (PATH) to help increase school attendance and health visits. Aside from the developments that these two major actors led, here are four NGOs fighting poverty in Jamaica.
4 NGOs Fighting Poverty in Jamaica
- U.N. Volunteers Online: U.N. Volunteers Online is a network that provides opportunities for individuals to spend a couple of hours serving worthy causes from the comfort of home. The website includes organizations dedicated to fighting 17 causes ranging from health care and education to sanitation and peace missions. One of the many issues the organization aims to tackle is poverty in Jamaica. The Nathan Ebank Foundation of Jamaica is working with U.N. Volunteers Online to gain traction as it launches a new digital initiative. The Nathan Ebank Foundation is a charitable organization that has dedicated itself to providing better health care access and opportunities for children with disabilities and special needs in Jamaica. The Foundation serves constituents in Jamaica through educating professionals and parents on how best to serve children with disabilities, advocating for reforms that resolve issues of systematic oppression against those with disabilities and providing assistance to families and children with disabilities. The Foundation received the World Cerebral Palsy Medical-Therapeutic Award in 2018 as recognition of the rehabilitation support services that it offers to children with cerebral palsy.
- American Friends of Jamaica: American Friends of Jamaica is an organization that partners with Jamaican charities and nonprofits to fund and promote community development in Jamaica. The organization has raised $14 million to support a diverse network of organizations tackling issues in economic development, education and health care. The organization has recently partnered with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and the Council of Social Services to start collecting donations for COVID-19 response materials. These materials include protective gear for health workers such as masks and gloves, as well as essentials such as toilet paper and food for the elderly.
- Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation: Davis Cup Tennis Athlete Karl Hale founded Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation, a nonprofit that embodies the motto “Participate, Elevate, Educate.” The goal of the organization is to uplift future generations by improving educational infrastructure and resources. Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation has built more than 21 schools all over the island, one of which was a project that Olympic athlete and icon Serena Williams led in 2016. Because the organization builds and supports schools all over the island, serving with them is an excellent opportunity to both help alleviate poverty in Jamaica and tour the island. The next build will begin in July 2020 but until then, the organization is utilizing a free hotline for parents and children struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Food for the Poor: Food for the Poor is an organization that provides housing, aid and relief to those suffering from extreme poverty in Jamaica. The organization has shipped 583 tractors full of aid and sponsored 500 children experiencing poverty in Jamaica. Food for the Poor has built more than 35,000 homes. The organization is currently advocating to support the homeless in light of the current global pandemic. It has also partnered with Amazon to become one of the many nonprofits that individuals can donate to by shopping online at smile.amazon.com.
These four NGOs are all fighting poverty in Jamaica in addition to the World Bank and the Jamaican government. Through these combined efforts, poverty in Jamaica has substantially declined and the economic climate has improved.
– Tiara Wilson