South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society

Jamaica Placeholder
Jamaica

Name: South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society
Country: Jamaica
Year of establishment: 2020
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

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South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society

Jamaica Placeholder
Jamaica

Name: South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society
Country: Jamaica
Year of establishment:
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

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Description

The South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society is a registered community-based organization with the Department of Co-operative & Friendly Societies in Jamaica. It was created through extensive dialogue with the Forestry Department and community members to enable and empower citizens to protect the Cockpit Country-the largest remaining natural forest in Jamaica. The Cockpit spans five watersheds, it is the source of six major rivers and is a critical water resource for 25 per cent of Jamaica’s surface water run-off. The Cockpit is the site of premier Karst Geomorphology, Maroon wars, and most significantly, it is a sanctuary to endemic and endangered species such as plants and animals.

Through this Committee, members are mandated to improve community members' capacity and infrastructure through projects and programmes as needed by communities in and surrounding the Cockpit Country in order to reduce extensive deforestation which has a negative impact on both man and the environment. It is through sustainable alternative livelihood activities that the Committee has created opportunities for community members to deter deforestation within the Cockpit Country. These activities by way of various projects include apiculture, agroforestry, craft training and production, micro-entrepreneurship training and basic community training skills which are largely geared at women and youths.

This Committee has twenty-one (21) registered members with membership ranging from youths to the elderly; with females playing an active role in its membership and executive body.

Nature Element: Agricultural, Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Jobs and livelihoods (SDG 1) , Food security (SDG 2) , Gender equality (SDG 5) , Climate action (SDG 13) 

Nature Element: Agricultural, Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Jobs and livelihoods (SDG 1) , Food security (SDG 2) , Gender equality (SDG 5) , Climate action (SDG 13) 

Environmental Impacts

This project had no negative impact on the environment but rather had tremendous positives for the environment. The establishment of an apiary allowed for an increase in pollination within the area which was good for improving the biodiversity within the Cockpit Country.

Additionally, the establishment of agroforestry plots created the opportunity for the increase in forest coverage within the Cockpit Country and aided in the restoration of soil which suffered from poor farming practices, notably slash and burn. The use of timber seedlings aided in soil enrichment and increased the Committee's efforts in climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration; the Committee established agroforestry plots within four (4) communities within the Cockpit Country: Troy, Wilson's Run, Warsop and Litchfield.

Crafted products (tote bags) were considered positive as they created an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to the now single-use plastic bags; these became banned in Jamaica in 2020.

Sustainable Development Impacts

This project had no negative impact on the environment but rather had tremendous positives for the environment. The establishment of an apiary allowed for an increase in pollination within the area which was good for improving the biodiversity within the Cockpit Country.

Additionally, the establishment of agroforestry plots created the opportunity for the increase in forest coverage within the Cockpit Country and aided in the restoration of soil which suffered from poor farming practices, notably slash and burn. The use of timber seedlings aided in soil enrichment and increased the Committee's efforts in climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration; the Committee established agroforestry plots within four (4) communities within the Cockpit Country: Troy, Wilson's Run, Warsop and Litchfield.

Crafted products (tote bags) were considered positive as they created an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to the now single-use plastic bags; these became banned in Jamaica in 2020.

RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

With the ongoing pandemic, training that was earmarked for face to face modularity was held in smaller groups with training updates being shared online using WhatsApps to ensure training materials were disseminated to all participants.

Various communities did not have running water which would have been necessary for the various agroforestry training sessions and establishment of the agroforestry plots; this was mitigated by ensuring that planting was done within the wet season and was guided by the Forestry Department team in the seedling selection of drought-resistant crops eg. pineapples.

REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Based on the rurality of these communities within the Cockpit Country, many poor youths and the elderly, especially women were not able to readily access training and employment opportunities within their communities. Access to training and alternative livelihood initiatives enabled them to improve their socioeconomic level from a low to a moderate level.

When compared to males and urban females, rural females (youths and the elderly) have less of an opportunity to improve their lives and their families because they are limited geographical access to education and job opportunities which makes them doubly disadvantaged to manage the shock of a weak Jamaican economy.

GENDER EQUALITY

Due to the inclusive approach to sustainable development, community and Committee members were consulted on the strategic and practical needs of both genders. It was recognized that for most women living in Southern Trelawny in the Cockpit Country, there was an immediate need to have training in income-generating ventures as the majority of females within these communities were not able to formally contribute to their households.

It was based on these consultations that training needs were identified with capacity training arranged on days that did not interfere with key community days such as 'Market Day'. Facilitators were also asked to allow mothers to attend these training with their children as needed with much of the training being held at the local community church. This created a safe space for women and girls to meet for various training activities.

Women were deliberately encouraged to identify income-generating activities that could be done within their communities so as to empower themselves financially. Craft production was one such activity that women would be able to do at home without affecting their domestic role within society.

Agroforestry farming was taught with a demonstration plot being created on International Rural Women's Day (October 21, 2021) by the women of the Committee. Additionally, apiculture training was also a female-led activity with the establishment of one major apiary at the home plot of its Secretary, Cassandra Coke.

Scalability

The Forestry Department has a strong focus on agroforestry and has used this Committee to lead in the incorporation at the community level, of agroforestry activities, especially with other Local Forest Management Committees.

This project offers the Agency the ability to expand its community outreach through training in climate-smart agriculture at schools and community-based groups. Furthermore, with the Forestry Department leading the national tree planting activities, this thrust in agroforestry will aid in having more citizens engaged in tree planting activities islandwide.

Replicability

This project has so far been replicated by two (2) other Local Forest Management Committees that work alongside the Forestry Department in its Social and Community forestry programme in Western Jamaica.

There has been a notable expansion of alternative livelihood projects within forest-dependent communities to incorporate women, youths and the elderly in agroforestry, craft training and production and apiculture by these community-based groups in the parishes of St. Ann and Trelawny.