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IICA contributes to bridging Jamaica’s rural-urban divide

IICA contributes to bridging Jamaica’s rural-urban divide

In collaboration with the University of Technology of Jamaica (Utech, Jamaica), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has developed the components and objectives of a Master in Rural Development.

San José, 12 March 2019 (IICA).  The University of Technology of Jamaica (Utech, Jamaica) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have jointly developed a M.Sc. in Integrated Rural Development, an initiative geared toward fostering greater development in rural communities in this Caribbean country, through entrepreneurship and respect for the environment.

An understanding between Utech and the specialized Inter-American agency gave rise to the eighteen-month program, which incorporates elements that that will enable young Jamaicans to bring about progress in the most remote areas of the country.

The Hon. Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries observed that, “This first cohort is a group of young pioneers who have the opportunity to inspire a social and production revolution.  The country has to take a serious look at areas where opportunities exist and to recognize how to take advantage of them”.

The process that culminated in the development of the Master’s program, was conducted based on the highest standards of quality, and represents an important synergy between the needs and potential of academia and industry.

The idea for the program arose out of the observation of the disparity between the concentration of development in urban and rural areas in the Caribbean.  Therefore, the program is characterized by a unique focus on integrated rural development.

In her remarks, IICA’s Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, stressed that “territorial development creates the conditions needed to reduce poverty and inequality, through empowerment of rural communities. We must equip students with the knowledge and experience to find multifaceted solutions, conducive to enhanced economic growth and well-being in rural areas”.

 “The Institute is seeking to promote a new model of inclusive development in which rural life plays a central role, said Johnson, “and in which rural areas are provided with an adequate level of services and social programs”.

Post-Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Amani Ishemo, expressed concern about the imbalance between rural and urban areas, indicating that “rural communities are important drivers of economic development and Utech Jamaica is preparing a proposal to build a Rural Development Center, which could serve as a laboratory to generate ideas with respect to rural development”.

The Jamaican agriculture sector employs approximately 20% of the labor force and is an important contributor to GDP, foreign exchange earnings and rural life.  However, the performance of the sector could be restricted if the rural environment fails to foster new investments, new ideas, and a desire to remain in rural communities.

Letter of Understanding

The five-year agreement between Utech Jamaica and IICA will seek to generate collaborative partnerships for the development of courses in areas related to agriculture and rural development, cooperative education, facilitation of internships, capacity development, resource exchange, public education, joint publications and the provision of scholarships.

The mission of the University of Technology is to stimulate positive change in Caribbean society through the provision of high-quality learning and research opportunities and service to its communities.

 

More information:

Elizabeth Johnson, IICA Representative in Jamaica

elizabeth.johnson@iica.int

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