GPC-ICT4D Jamaica alliance progresses ICT infrastructure developments for vulnerable communities to self-manage natural disasters.
JAMAICA – GPC’s GeoVillage platform is intended to bring foundation telecommunications and electrification to remote villages that don’t have such infrastructure, and to build on this with a wide variety of internet-based services that can tie villagers to a global network of useful services ranging from banking, microfinance, telemedicine, agricultural extension, and others. GeoVillage is currently a conceptual framework developed by the GPC Group, and steps are underway in several countries around the world to turn this concept into reality.
As part of the GeoVillage development effort, the GPC Group has teamed with several important and influential partners in Jamaica to respond to a USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) programme that specifically focuses on disaster management. Using GeoVillage as a foundation, this programme would empower poor and vulnerable communities to accurately prepare and respond to natural and climate-change related disasters with the use of state-of-the-art information and communication technology (ICT), geographic information systems (GIS) and significant participation by themselves. ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) Jamaica’s technological and grassroots contribution has been instrumental in taking the project to new heights.
“ICT4D’s remarkable team motivation and tenacity to progress the ICT infrastructure has now placed attention on all in-country partners to step-up action” said Mark Sorensen, GPC President. Responsibility is now on the broader consortium of committed program partners to seek concept and implementation funding from a variety of institutional, government and private sources. Initial funding for the project is being sought from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) with a letter of interest recently submitted to the USAID-DIV (Development Innovation Ventures) – Humanitarian Innovation Initiative.
At present, the Universal Service Fund (USF) Jamaica has a successful network of 118 Community Access Points (CAP) established across the Country, providing broadband internet service particularly to the rural and urban poor areas. GeoVillage would integrate its early warning systems for disaster management into this embedded network, adding efficiency to current regional resources. The proposed USAID-DIV project will select six CAP sites in highly vulnerable urban and rural communities across various Parishes in Jamaica with the potential of directly reaching 5,000 residents and 35,000 residents indirectly. It is expected that within 3 years, the GeoVillage programme could reach 50% of Jamaica’s population either directly or indirectly and 100% in 5 years.
This collaboration of effort has received the strong endorsed and cost-share support from the USF Jamaica-CAP programme, and is further endorsed with financial support to up-scale the project by the Jamaica Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, National Spatial Data Management Division within the Ministry of Water, Land and Environment and Climate Change, the Land Information Council of Jamaica, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Best Communities Jamaica, and the public-private volunteer network of the Jamaica National Emergency Response GIS Team (NERGIST).
Further details can be found in the GeoVillage Brochure, which is available in English, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese, with Dari and Pashto available soon. Please contact email@example.com