August 12, 2014 – Stemming from the recently launched Project Sprout by the Sandals Foundation, the non-profit organisation in partnership with the Digicel Foundation established its first greenhouse farm in Westmoreland and is reporting huge success with the farm producing over 800 pounds of sweet peppers since it opened in March of this year.
Project Sprout is an early childhood intervention that helps children achieve their developmental milestones. The project introduces early childhood specialists and social workers into the schools while facilitating parental involvement in children’s education both at school and at home. It also facilitates infrastructural upgrades, and provides teaching and learning aids along with nutritional support.
With the knowledge that parents are faced with financial challenges in providing nutritious meals, ensuring that children learn, the Sandals Foundation included an agricultural component using greenhouse technology. The greenhouse, situated in the rustic Robins River community, Westmoreland is the first of four units that will be located in that parish as well as St. Ann.
The Sandals Foundation provided 26,000 square feet of space for the establishment of four greenhouses with Digicel Foundation providing grant funding, which was also matched by the Sandals Foundation to meet the financial requirements for the project. The greenhouse in Westmoreland will provide the school canteens at Culloden and Beeston Spring Early Childhood Institutions with vegetables in the upcoming school year while the produce reaped to date has been directly supplied to Sandals Whitehouse with the proceeds going towards the schools’ feeding programmes.
The greenhouse component is supported by the Sandals Foundation’s partnership with communities, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), The Early Childhood Commission, The Ministry of Education, Digicel Foundation and Sandals Resorts International.
“The education sector and in particular the early childhood division needs public-private partnerships to secure the outcomes that are desired for the children who are being prepared for the primary level,” said Sydney Henry, projects manager of the Sandals Foundation. “We continue to work with our partners to improve these outcomes.”
According to Digicel Foundation’s Senior Programme Manager, Community Development and Special Projects Kerry-Jo Lyn, “The Digicel Foundation believes that working in partnerships, such as this, are imperative to national growth. The collaboration with Sandals Foundation epitomizes corporate social responsibility as well as public-private partnership. These partnerships are even more impactful in challenging times such as these. In this case, the greenhouses represent hope, innovation and sustainable investment in the education of the next generation.”