Kids no Longer to be Sent Home from School Because of Lack of Water, Thanks to Climate Change Grants

Climate change has all kinds of impacts on people’s lives that may not be obvious – but they are there. They may be small things – but they are important to Jamaicans’ lifestyle, healthy living, and productivity too. 

I recently visited Mount Airy Primary and Infant School in Clarendon with a team from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) and the Rural Water Authority (huge kudos to them for the critical work they are doing with rural schools). It’s a lovely, small but well-run school, in a beautiful hilltop position. As a Director of EFJ, I hope to do more of these visits with the hard-working team.

Here is the press release from the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation on the grants that EFJ signed last week with no less than 51 community-based and civil society organisations, to help with adaptation to climate change. I believe these grants will make a difference.

Please also visit, like and follow the EFJ’s Facebook page and follow on Instagram and Twitter @The_EFJ. Stay informed on the fantastic work that is being done behind the scenes as Jamaica tackles climate change!


Kingston, Jamaica. October 30, 2017. Access to water has always been a challenge for students at the Mount Airy Primary and Infant School in Mocho, Clarendon.

The tank at the school is insufficient to meet the needs of the 121 students and 13 members of staff – not to mention community members.

But in six months’ time that will change when the school would have completed constructing one (1) 20,000 gallon Ferro-cement tank, upgrading its guttering system and installing a solar powered water pump.

Environmental Foundation of JamaicaThe Mount Airy Primary and Infant School was one of 51 community and civil society  grantees who received funds from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) who administer the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund (SCCAF) on behalf of the Adaptation Programme and Finance Mechanism (AP&FM).

“We are very happy to have received the grant. It will make us better prepared for the dry season. So we will no longer have to send home students during the dry times because we have no water,” said Principal at Mount Airy Primary and Infant School, Madelyn Edwards.

“Because we are fixing the gutters as well – we can now catch water. Before because we didn’t have proper gutters the rain would fall and the water would be wasted. With more water we can take care of our school garden.”

“We have recently started planting carrots, cucumbers and sweet peppers in the garden to use in our school canteen. It will boost the student’s nutrition and cut our grocery bill,” she explained.

Principal of Mt. Airy Primary and Infant School Madelyn Edwards (in blue jacket) standing while the school’s Board Chairman signs a grant for water management at the school, at the grant signing ceremony last week. Standing (left) is Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; sitting at right is Barrington Lewis, CEO, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica. (My photo)

Edwards was one of the grantees filling the meeting room at the New Kingston Business Centre on Tuesday, October 24, when representatives of the 51 community-based and nongovernmental organizations signed their grants with the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ). The project funding, totalling J$228 million, was made available through the AP&FM of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank.

“We can definitely say that the EFJ handles one of the largest grant portfolios in Jamaica,” declared Emma Lewis, Government of Jamaica Director, who spoke on behalf of EFJ Chairman Professor Dale Webber. Ms. Lewis pointed out that for the calendar year 2017, the EFJ had granted awards in the sum of J$447.56 million for 93 project proposals. This figure includes thirteen projects that received J$86.03 million from the EFJ’s Forest Conservation Fund in July. Eighty projects have been funded in 2017 under the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund to the tune of JS361.53 million.

Successful applicants hailed from thirteen parishes, with over half from Manchester, Clarendon and St. Andrew. Seventy per cent of the grants were for climate resilient cropping systems, water management and agro-processing, with several including renewable energy solutions.  According to the EFJ, it is still seeking to improve the geographical and thematic spread of projects, and in partnership with the Project Execution Unit (PEU) of the AP&FM will look carefully at other areas for climate resilience for future funding.

Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director at the MEGJC, noted the devastation of recent hurricanes in the region, which underlined the importance of building climate resilience in communities. The Ministry, he said, is focused on building local capacity to address the impacts of climate change – including sea level rise, coastal erosion and floods.

EFJ’s Chief Executive Officer Barrington Lewis and Indi McLymont Lafayette, Communications Specialist for the AP&FM-PPCR Jamaica both stressed the importance of knowledge sharing by grantees.

“It is very important that we share our lessons learnt to increase our collective knowledge,” said Ms. McLymont Lafayette while urging grantees to be creative and proactive about sharing their stories locally and online.

A gardener is enjoying his work (it was starting to rain!) in the front of the Mount Airy Primary and Junior High School (the front gate is behind him). My photo

For further information contact:

Indi Mclymont-Lafayette

Communications Specialist

Adaptation Programme & Financing Mechanism (AP&FM) for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica: Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation, 16a Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 5. Tel: (876) 633-7529 or 294-3608.  Email: Website:

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