USAID/Jamaica works with its local partners to help increase civic participation among youth and to increase citizen participation in creating safer and more prosperous communities. Areas of support include community policing, anti-corruption, and the development of local and regional strategies that tackle gang prevention. USAID recognizes the economic dimension of community safety and security, and the direct relationship between youth employment and violent crime. The program provides technical, financial, and policy support to the private and public sectors to foster access to micro-enterprise and job creation initiatives.
Thousands of Jamaican students, from early childhood to tertiary levels, have benefited from the implementation of innovative education programs by USAID. The Agency collaborates with the Ministry of Education, local and regional experts, teacher training colleges, the University of the West Indies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector companies, parent groups, and other stakeholders to develop and implement programs that address problems of chronic poor attendance, underachievement, and low levels of literacy and numeracy.
Throughout the years, USAID has funded many major projects including: the establishment of the Mona School of Business and collaborating with UNICEF on its Transitions to Primary School project. Through the New Horizons for Primary Schools project (NHP) (1998-2005), USAID partnered with the Ministry of Education to increase literacy and numeracy levels among primary school students. The NHP project was directed at 71 low performing schools serving poor rural and inner city communities where there was limited success in school and included integrated approaches to elevate students’ learning experiences. As a result of lessons learned from prior education interventions, special attention was targeted at improving the performance of boys.
Today, USAID through its Jamaica Basic Education Project is focusing on strengthening the Ministry of Education's Education Transformation System Program and supports the vision of the Jamaican government to achieve 100% literacy at Grade 4 by 2015.
Jamaica is highly vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change and extreme weather; a high level of interdependence exists between the environment, economic, and social systems in the country. USAID/Jamaica will continue to work closely with the public and private sectors to reduce vulnerability to climate change within the agriculture sector. USAID programs also focus on disaster risk reduction in rural communities; ecosystem protection and conservation measures to buffer climate impacts; and training to improve curricula development and research on climate change in higher education. In addition, USAID will help build capacity within the public and private sectors and for NGO stakeholders to develop and implement a low emissions development strategy.
Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States created a Caribbean regional HIV prevention and care program in 2009. The primary goal of PEPFAR in Jamaica is to support the Government’s efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV over the next five years, with a focus on key populations.
Jamaica is one of the more heavily affected countries in the Caribbean with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 1.8 percent. There are an estimated 32,000 Jamaicans living with HIV of which approximately 50 percent of persons remain unaware of their status.
USAID is providing technical assistance, capacity building, and financial support to the Ministry of Health and community-based organizations implementing HIV prevention programs targeting key populations. Activities include training and support in the area of behavior change communication to help improve the quality and range of services being offered. Another project provides grants and organizational development assistance to local partners to help strengthen and expand existing HIV prevention efforts. USAID is also working to address stigma, gender norms, and sexual and gender-based violence in relation to HIV prevention.
Last updated: September 15, 2014