Naggo Head Redevelopment Plan Workshop
“It’s Our Community, Let’s Make It a Better Place” was the theme of the year-end community meeting and workshop. This meeting was a resounding success as 170 persons turned out and spoke up, sharing ideas and thoughts on moving the community forward.
Community members made up the bulk of those in attendance, however, the meeting saw representation from the Portmore Municipal Council; Housing Agency of Jamaica, Factories Corporation of Jamaica, HEART Trust NTA, NHT, Rapid True Value, and LAMP.
Much of the talk surrounded the presentation of the results of Jam Habitats community enumeration exercise. Residents and stakeholders in attendance were delighted to see the context-specific data on community demographics, sanitation, housing and land tenure among other things and debate on how these statistics would shape redevelopment plans for the 2030 vision of the community.
Councilor Nicholson, the BRACE staff, community members expounding on the data presented
Meeting attendants were split into focus groups to drill down on key areas such as physical and social well-being.
The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) made their first presentation to the community about their plans for developing the adjacent land into the Naggo Head Commercial and Industrial Space. www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOdDA7JnuoY
The Chairman of FCJ, Littleton Shirley urged the persons in attendance to “get ready” as in the following months, plans would begin to come alive and persons skilled in building and construction would be needed from the community. Additionally, he urged the youth within the community to prepare themselves by seeking skills training to enhance their qualifications to help fill the 20,000+ job vacancies that will be required for the Commercial and Industrial Space to function.
Kenardo Miller, a 17-year-old resident of Naggo Head who volunteers with the project beamed with excitement as he commended the team for a well put together, informative and educational meeting, one in which he was able to interface with the HEART Trust NTA in a promising discussion that led to an interview for an internship. He echoed the sentiment of many persons in attendance, stating that the meeting has given the residents of Naggo Head hope for the future.
Participation is key in actively, meaningfully, and sustainable building the resilience of any community and the importance of focus groups, workshops and forums such as this that link community members with government and private sector stakeholders cannot be overstated.
This meeting was a fitting culmination to a challenging, yet productive and fruitful year and we look forward to many more dialogues in 2018.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.” –Henry Ford
Jam Habitat for Humanity at the Regional Housing Conference 2017
From October 18-20, 2017, the JamHabitat team attended the Regional Housing Conference hosted by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation at the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall in Montego Bay. The conference addressed the challenges surrounding housing in the region and provided possible solutions.
Throughout the conference, our team engaged in meaningful discussions and highlighted the participatory approach to community development in informal settlements like Naggo Head. On the final day, we were two of five panelists that presented in the session ‘Housing and Land Tenure’.
Sherece James (3rd from Left) and Salina Solomon (4th from left)
Our Land Tenure and Technical Specialist, Salina Solomon highlighted our achievements but pointed out that they were realized because of the extensive participation of members of the community. She noted that in the absence of the provision of adequate low-income housing solutions by the government, the poor have provided shelter for themselves albeit in an adhoc way. She also noted that initiatives aimed at improving the security of tenure should be used to combat the ills that plague inner-city communities because of their adhoc development, which is largely caused by poverty.
In addition, she discussed the government’s need for a comprehensive cadaster and the role this will play in enhancing national development while at the same time improving the security of tenure of residents in inner-city communities. Ms. Solomon expressed that valid and viable solutions to the housing challenges that Jamaica faces have been presented at the conference and recommends that collaboration and strategizing is what will bring these solutions to fruition despite the time consuming, expensive, mammoth and messy task at hand. The main point she left with the conference is that “Land tenure is the catalyst, stabilizer, and key mobilizer to regularize inner-city communities, and basis upon which housing solutions can be tailored to create a sustainable community”.
Our GIS Analyst Sherece James discussed the use of GIS to make informed decisions in housing solutions. She reiterated the usefulness of the participatory approach to mapping. Mrs. James highlighted the uniqueness of each community and expressed the need to collect the relevant data to tackle each settlement separately. She illustrated that the GIS can be used to visualize data to know what is happening where, how it is happening and why. From the powerful analysis of the enumeration data, she was able to show the housing and land tenure challenges that exist within the community and the need for land tenure regularization to include improving leases. She also reiterated that the housing sector should provide assistance to retrofit houses and improved community infrastructures incrementally considering community members already reside within the settlement.
– As part of the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, Habitat for Humanity publishes a guide for hurricane housing construction and repair.
SAN JOSÉ (October 13, 2017) – Habitat for Humanity has published a manual as part of celebrations of the UN-promoted International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), which aims to simply explain key solutions to prevent wooden houses from being damaged in the event of a hurricane.
This booklet explains the main vulnerabilities of lighthouses and buildings (made of materials such as wood) against strong winds and rains and proposes some low-cost technical improvements to make houses stronger and safer. “The recommendations given here are useful both for the construction of new homes and for the reinforcement of existing ones, and it is aimed at the entire humanitarian community, hoping that they will be useful during reconstruction efforts after this catastrophic 2017 hurricane season” explained Javier Cidón, Caribbean Response and Risk Reduction Manager for Habitat for Humanity.
The motto for this year’s IDDR celebrations has been defined by the UN as: “Home, home insurance” – Reducing exposure and reducing displacement. “The connection between a safe home and the family’s capacities to be resilient is highlighted. Therefore, this day is a great opportunity to position our effort to include the disaster risk reduction component in all our housing programs and be aligned with UN advocacy efforts, “continued Cidón. Cidón also detailed that the guidelines manual was developed as part of a Habitat project funded by USAID-OFDA (United States Office of Foreign Affairs focused on Disaster Assistance) in Jamaica and whose main objective is to strengthen the community fabric to make it more resilient to the threats of natural events.
The complete guide in Spanish or English can be accessed at this link.
For Jaime Mok, Manager of Risk Reduction and Response of Habitat Office of Latin America and the Caribbean, the concept of resilience refers to adaptation and goes beyond the construction of resistant housing: “Resilience is also about how to quickly recover from damage. The final pages of this handbook offer some advice on what to do just before the storm, in case our house is still not safe enough. The target audience is both construction professionals and members of the community interested in safer construction.”
IDDR began in 1989, following a call by the United Nations General Assembly to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and becoming aware of the importance of controlling the risks they face. The 2017 edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign focused on the seven objectives of the Sendai Framework. This year focuses on Objective B, which aims to reduce the number of people affected by disasters by 2030.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.
Our disaster response initiatives have been focused on offering technical expertise in humanitarian response, home building and sustainable shelter construction to serve more than 230,000 families in 52 countries. This includes building approximately 80,000 new homes and repairing more than 126,000 around the world in the wake of disasters. In addition, to reduce future shelter vulnerability, Habitat has provided training and other services in disaster preparedness and mitigation to over 690,000 people.
Planning for development in Naggo Head
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Land Administration and Management Program, Jamaica Fire Brigade, University of Technology (UTech) and Portmore Municipal Council all lent their support to JamHabitat’s special redevelopment community meeting held August 31, 2017. Sustainable redevelopment planning for Naggo Head is part of our mandate to ensure that the community’s resilience is not only increased throughout the duration of the project but also after the project has ended. Several focus groups and think tanks have been held with community members in groups of 10-15 persons, however, this meeting was special because we invited the entire community of Naggo Head to brainstorm, plan and share their ideas about redeveloping their community.
The hot topics included widening narrow lanes, improving drainage, development of social infrastructure and community zoning by NEPA. A democratic approach was taken as persons who attended the meeting voted on the issues that most impact their lives in the community as well as projects aimed at addressing those issues. The meeting and 500 household survey will inform the Naggo Head Local Sustainable Redevelopment Plan which is currently being drafted by UTech.
UTECH Partners with BRACED in Naggo Head Redevelopment Plan
On Friday the 30th June 2017 a crucial MOU was signed between University of Technology (UTECH) and the JamHabitat 2014 (JHFHI). This MOU sealed the long-standing partnership between the BRACE project and UTECH, whose students have been carrying out assignments in Naggo Head analyzing social and economic data on transportation, health, education; physical and social infrastructure and producing a safety audit.
The MOU will strengthen the partnership with JHFHI and the Portmore Municipal Council in developing Naggo Head’s redevelopment plan. An extensive enumeration process will precede this plan with some 500 households being enumerated to collect social and economic data. UTECH will be providing expertise in:
- Assisting with the preparation and design of survey instrument
- Analyzing all the data
- Preparing report findings for the redevelopment plan
- Documenting the Community Redevelopment Plan on behalf of the BRACE Project and the Municipality of Portmore
Naggo Head has been declared! Of course, the JamHabitat team knows how special the community of Naggo Head is and has already declared it our flagship and pilot project area for BRACED II which focuses on settlement regularization through improving land tenure security.
The government of Jamaica has also declared Naggo Head as a project area under the Registration of Titles, Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Act. This declaration means that residents of our Naggo Head project area will benefit from reduced land titling costs, quicker processing time and will be eligible for waivers of subdivision approval.
Community members who have resided in Naggo Head for several years, even generations, will also benefit from adjudication committees. Often times the resident’s tenure is insecure and vulnerable because of their economic, educational and financial status which poses an obstacle for them when paperwork such as wills and sales receipts need to be produced to support their title applications. The adjudication committee, comprised of technocrats and community members will hear these cases and assist with making a determination of land rights which will then be formalized. This will make a big difference towards the regularization of the community and we celebrate Naggo Head for achieving this milestone.