The governnment of Jamaica

Community Governance

The Government of Jamaica’s policy framework for economic growth, social development, public sector reform, and poverty reduction among others inform SDC’s work SDC’s work is informed by the social and economic policy framework of the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) and the agency’s assessment of Jamaica’s current reality.

Our mandate is facilitating the building and strengthening of civil society mechanisms and structures with requisite capacities to enable citizen participation in the management of Jamaica’s development processes.


Citizens are ensured a voice in decisions about key development issues/concerns to:

1) Increase the number of community organizations that have the necessary possess the skills and knowledge to actively participate in local deliberations/discussions.  SDC’s focus on the development of these organizations by engaging the abilities of their members to assess their strengths and weaknesses identify priority issues, consider alternative solutions and take appropriate
2)  Actions in response to identified issues.
This approach enables members of community based organizations to effectively influence the development of their communities over time and across different issues and is evidenced by:

  • improved skills, attitudes, problem solving and management capabilities
  • increased participation in community driven initiatives
  • increase and improve organized and representative local structures
  • increased confidence to influence decisions which affect people

2) Establish vibrant community based organizations (CBOs) which collaborate with other partners and network with CBOs and other partners to discuss about issues and possible solutions.

3) Increase community advocacy at the local and national levels which aims to secure for citizens better and more responsive services as well as reformed policies which reflects the need of citizens.; and 4) improved and responsive services and policy mechanisms.


Active communities can have more than one CBO. Existing CBOs and other groups in the community can work together in a Community Development Committee (CDC). A CDC is the “composition of all organizations in a community. It represents the interests of citizens and is the voice of the community”. Effective CBOs and CDCs are also given the chance to interact with other sectors such as NGOs and local businesses in parish forums such as development area committees (DACs). Figure 1 illustrates how CBOs and CDCs interact with CSOs/NGOs , and local businesses in forums known as Parish Development Committees  (PDCs).

Figure 1: Mechanism for improving local networks and processes for dialogue and decision making



  • Broad agreement among communities, local government, service agencies and other groups to cluster Jamaica’s 785 communities into 73 ‘Development Areas’ (DAs) .
  • 66% of DAs have established management committees (DACs) that comprise CDC representatives.  They have regular meetings, and plans for community driven development activities.
  • 385 (49%) of Jamaica’s 785 communities have CDCs that bring together over 5,000 community based organisations (CBOs).
  • Over 600 community leaders trained in community planning and advocacy skills
  • All 12 Parish Councils and KSAC  have Parish Development Committees (PDCs).  Several PDCs show promising attempts to plan and develop links with key partners at the parish and national level as well as provide advice to local bodies such as parish councils and KSAC, business sector and NGOs.

Contact your local SDC office and find out how to better organize your community group

“Remember; organize to realize your goal”


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