Civil Society Organizations Mobilize to Monitor Jamaican Policies

Jamaica has several lobby groups advocating on behalf of marginalized communities. It has “watchdogs” that keep an eye on what the Government of the day is doing (or not doing) in relation to specific issues of concern to these communities. But could the watchdogs sharpen their skills some more? Tomorrow will see the opening of an important training session that will enhance the research capabilities and advocacy skills of several civil society organizations. Here is today’s press release:

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AT LEAST eight civil society organisations (CSOs) will on Tuesday (July 26, 2016) benefit from the first in a series of training sessions designed to boost their ability to monitor human rights and governance issues in Jamaica.

 The organizations will focus on human rights violations, especially where marginalized groups are concerned and also gender-equity issues.

The training is being conducted under the two-year project titled Improved Civil Society Capacity for Research-Based Advocacy. Funded by the European Union (EU), the project is being implemented jointly by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC).

“We want to make sure that these organizations have the capacity to do the relevant policy research and highlight areas where there needs to be greater accountability,” said Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director of CVC.

“CVC and JCSC intend to ensure that their partner organizations are coordinated to build momentum and continue to deepen and strengthen the engagement of civil society in the governance processes of the country,” she added.

CVC and its Dominican Republic-based partner El Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral Educando por la Vida have, over the past four years, managed a portfolio of more than 36 sub-grants in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica.

Those grants have developed and documented model advocacy and programming interventions in key populations that can be replicated by other donors and Caribbean governments.

Similarly, the JCSC has done research on and published position papers and advocacy documents on a number of critical national governance issues, including issues of electoral and party finance reform, the environment, human rights in respect of police conduct, the budgetary process, and corruption prevention issues.

Based on the work of both organizations, it was revealed that many CSOs have limited policy-monitoring capacity as well as limited ability to do the research required for policy critique and for the articulation of CSO policy positions and advocacy.

Among the organizations to receive training are: Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, The ASHE Company, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, J-FLAG, Stand up for Jamaica, Woman Inc, and Jamaica Network of Seropositives.

At Tuesday’s workshop, presentations will be made by representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Family Planning Board, the EU, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and the Health Economics Unit at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

The project is expected to do additional workshops on priority issues identification and policy analysis and advocacy.

For more information, contact Indi Mclymont-Lafayette at or 852-8763.

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