Last night I attended the première of a short documentary produced by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), highlighting three communities that have benefited (and remain involved with) theNuh Dutty Up Jamaicaprogramme. (Kudos to Enola Williams and the team at Redbones Blues Café in Kingston for their support and cool drinks for the audience!) The fact is (as I tweeted several times last night) the programme is currently in limbo. I wrote about this and the need for support for JET a few weeks ago here.
As Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was at pains to point out last night, a decision was taken (passed in Parliament in April 2017), mandating the TEF to concentrate on direct tourism enhancement projects. However, Dr. Carey added, he is an enthusiastic supporter of this highly impactful programme, acknowledges its achievements and hopes that the funds will be available elsewhere. Kudos to William Mahfood of the Wisynco Group, who also spoke at the event and reaffirmed his company’s commitment to the programme. The Lakes Pen community, where Wisynco is located, is also involved in the Model Community Project alongside Trench Town and Nine Miles – two places closely associated with Bob Marley.
You may also look up a series of tweets from @jamentrust from yesterday evening, explaining the situation further – and also referring to the fact that the 20-year-old Schools Environment Programme, a programme with a well-established, solid track record, is also in limbo. JET just heard that funds from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), another government agency, will not be available this year. There were expressions of shock in the audience when this news was announced. I personally believe this is an incredibly shortsighted decision.
By the way, did you know that Redbones, which is on Argyle Road, is a recycling depot? You can bring your plastics and glass there!
JET’s CEO Suzanne Stanley is right. At this very critical juncture in its development, Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica could easily become a MOVEMENT! In fact, it should!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2017
SAVE NUH DUTTY UP JAMAICA!
JET CALLS FOR SUPPORT AMIDST LOSS OF MAJOR CAMPAIGN DONOR
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has sent out an appeal to Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the private sector to help save its popular national solid waste public education campaign – Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica. The announcement came during JET’s premiere of a short documentary film, From Nine Miles to Trench Town: How three Jamaican communities joined Nuh Dutty Up Jamaicalast night at Redbones Blues Café in New Kingston. Shot over the course of two years, the film explores solid waste management issues in Jamaican communities, which have been participating in a Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica Model Community Project.
During the evening, JET revealed that Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica faces an uncertain future following the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s (TEF) announcement that it would not be renewing its funding of the campaign in January this year. TEF has been the major funder of Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica since its launch in 2015. In a letter to JET, TEF indicated that although they were overwhelmingly happy with the results of the campaign and its delivery by JET, under a new GOJ dispensation (passed in Parliament in April 2017), they have been mandated to concentrate on direct tourism enhancement projects. TEF’s letter implied that Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica did not fall into that category.
JET has been referred by TEF to the ministry in charge of the environment, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM); but to date, no response has been received to JET’s request for support from the OPM.
“It is very disappointing that at this critical stage instead of throwing its weight behind a successful public education campaign on solid waste the Government of Jamaica donor has instead withdrawn its funding,” said Suzanne Stanley, CEO of JET. “Every study on Jamaica’s solid waste issues for the past decade has said more public education is needed; Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica has been effective at capturing the attention of Jamaicans and has inspired citizen action and advocacy aroundsolid waste management.”
In late 2015, an external evaluation of Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica found overall campaign recall to be 89% among a sample of Jamaicans, with over 90% of respondents understanding the correct message. Since then, Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica has increasingly gained popularity across Jamaica and attracted overwhelming support from all sectors of society. With a social media following of over 22,000, the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign has produced over 40 animations, video blogs and reality-based public service announcements for traditional and social media, encouraging Jamaicans to take personal responsibility for their waste.
The Model Community Project is one of several Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign strategies JET has implemented, with the aim of changing Jamaicans’ attitude to garbage through education, cleanups and improvements in solid waste infrastructure. Jerome Nelson, a resident of Nine Miles, who was present at the première said, “I think it’s a very good project in that we are keeping the environment clean and this keeps us healthy – anything that is helping to keep the place clean is accepted by the people.” Nelson continued, “JET is doing a great job in participation with the communities, so I hope to see this project continue.” Other communities which have benefitted from the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica Model Community Project are Lakes Pen and Trench Town.
“The withdrawal of TEF’s funding means that Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’s community work and everything else Jamaicans have come to know and love about the campaign is now on hiatus and at risk of being discontinued altogether,” said Stanley. “We can’t let that happen; we must keep the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica movement going.”
JET is calling on leaders from the public and private sector, to Save Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica. Jamaica cannot afford to lose the valuable momentum Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica has gained towards changing the attitudes of citizens to managing our solid waste.