OUR IMPLEMENTATION

IMG_6353.HEIC

In Jamaica, the Resilient Islands Project (RI) is working in the Old Harbour Bay community, the largest fishing village in the country. Using the Vulnerability Ranking Index VRI) originally developed by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Jamaica Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), local stakeholders and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) modified and improved the methodology, which was then used to objectively select Old Harbour Bay as the area of focus for the RI project. The community was selected due to its locational vulnerabilities, declining status of their natural ecosystems, sensitive economic activities and livelihood strategies and recurring impacts by hazards such as storms and hurricanes. The Roadmap to Community Resilience was adopted by the RI Jamaica Team as the project’s implementation framework and strategy, which saw robust assessments and data gathering efforts, including a knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) to determine knowledge gaps for programme development. Additional critical community information was gathered through an Enhanced Vulnerability Capacity and Assessment (eVCA) of the area, undertaken using the Red Cross’ vulnerability toolkit, enhanced with TNC’s decision support tools and a local rapid ecological assessment undertaken at the site. The technical expertise of TNC was also employed to map the nearshore areas of Old Harbour Bay to identify the different benthos (physical and biological features). All these actions have proven pivotal in guiding the strategies and approaches of the RI Project towards preservation, management and conservation of these sensitive areas and species as well as community life and livelihoods.

 

 The RI project has enjoyed great success working with the local community, partners and government representatives and has received the necessary buy in and support for the successful implementation of the Project. Significant efforts have also been made to engage and educate the community about adopting nature-based solutions for climate adaptation, improving their emergency response and developing alternative and adaptive livelihoods within the area. The Project has also led feasibility studies to guide mangrove restoration projects on several of the affected Cays, that serve as key fishing grounds for community fisherfolks, as well as within selected sections of the community, as healthy mangrove forests can help the community by minimizing coastal erosion, reducing wave impacts during storms and acting as fish nurseries. Finally, since the use of nature-based solutions (NbS) is relatively new, for this approach to become sustainable, the RI Project has formed alliances with respective community-based organizations, government entities, private sector, NGO’s and academia to embed NbS into supporting laws, policies and legislative frameworks. The Project has also developed a synthesis report summarizing and analyzing the existing laws, policies and frameworks and making recommendations for the inclusion of NbS, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. This is augmented with Legislative Policy Briefs, outlining a strategy that can be used to advance the theory of change needed for this mainstreaming. 

20211109_134741.jpg

LEASON LEARNED

  • The STM wasn’t developed as community selection tool and the process of data collection doesn’t lend itself to what’s happening in a Jamaican context and so the vulnerability ranking index (VRI) was used as the community selection tool

  • The CAN checklist was introduced to twenty trainers trained in the eVCA methodology. Traditionally the environmental focus of a VCA was not significant, with the CAN checklist added there is now greater discussions taking place on the inclusion and consideration of ecosystems. This is leading to the mainstreaming of ecosystems and environmental considerations into IFRC products.     

  • The KAP was pilot tested and we received positive feedback which was used to refine the actual KAP survey instrument. Community members reported that they obtained the tool exposed them to new ecological information. Additionally, the information gathered through the questions will help them in their preparedness strategies going forward

  • Through the sharing of the project information, our stakeholders and community members were better able to understand the complementarities between the IFRC’s people centered approach and TNC’s landscape approach and how these can be augmented by the other stakeholder. The consultative session with government partners, stakeholders etc allowed us to avoid duplication of efforts and make more informed decisions.

  • The execution of the eVCA using a hybrid approach has taught us that there is now an underlying expectation that all trainings, community activities etc. should have some form of distance learning and technological application going forward. Communities are adaptable to the use of technology. COVID demonstrated the need for a hybrid response and as such semi virtual trainings became the norm.

  • Engaging others in a virtual world requires more planning and time

  • Policy work takes time. Through the consultations we learnt that some policies take more than 10 years to be formulated and there are existing twenty-year-old draft legislations still waiting to be approved and implemented.

  • The success of this project is largely dependent upon the partnership that was developed. TNC’s science and IFRC’s humanitarian efforts coupled with their auxiliary role with government allowed for easier blending of approaches, increased skillset and a wider more receptive audience.

Imagen 1.png
Imagen 4.png
Imagen 5.png
 

HIGHLIGHT RESOURCES

KAP - Jamaica.png

HIGHLIGHT RESOURCES

Robust assessments and data gathering efforts, including a knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) to determine knowledge gaps for programme development.

Flood Protection Benefits and Restoration Costs of Mangroves in Jamaica-1.png

Robust assessments and data gathering efforts, including a knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) to determine knowledge gaps for programme development.

HIGHLIGHT RESOURCES

 

RESILIENCE STORIES OF JAMAICA

Old Harbour Bay community continues to build resilience and adapt to climate change impacts despite COVID-19

Old Harbour Bay Community meeting Oct 2020.jpg

Photo: Community leaders from Old Harbour Bay share their feedback on the Resilient Islands project during a meeting on Oct 7, 2020 at the Old Harbour Bay Community Centre, while Resilient Islands Field Officer from the Jamaica Red Cross, Kimmoy Tulloch (left) records the key points.

The Jamaica Red Cross and The Nature Conservancy have been working with the Old Harbour Bay community located in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, Jamaica since 2018 on the Resilient Islands (RI) project to build resilience and implement nature-based solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the community and the RI project team had to halt all on-the-ground project activities planned due to COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed by the Government. When the Jamaican authorities lifted the lockdown and eased some of the measures, the RI team returned to Old Harbour Bay in October 2020 to meet with the community leaders to discuss resuming the project activities. The meeting was an open discussion on the impacts of the pandemic on the community and the best way to continue the planned RI project activities. The discussion was facilitated by Kevin Douglas, the RI Project Manager, who also shared the role that the JRC could play in supporting the community during this period. 
 

The community leaders’ eagerness to continue the RI activities was best described by Sandra Nembhard, a pastor and president of the Old Harbour Bay Community Development Association, when she exclaimed “we need this project like yesterday!”
 

Since the start of the project, the community has participated in an ongoing enhanced vulnerability and capacity assessment (EVCA) including focus group discussions and historical profile and has benefited from the development of a community fact sheet, a knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) survey, as well as rapid ecological assessments and drone and sea floor mappings. 

As part of plans to continue the project, members of the community, alongside the RI project team, while adhering to the relevant COVID-19 protocols, will work on completing the community resilience mapping and other EVCA tools including direct observation, seasonal calendar, venn diagram and resilience stars.

 

They will also develop a community resilience action plan which will serve to help build the capacity of the community to respond to disasters and reduce their risks. In addition, the community will implement micro projects aimed at preserving the natural environment and increasing sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Understanding Risks and Building Resilience through Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (eVCA) in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, Jamaica.

Old Harbour Bay mapping.JPG

Photo: Kevin Douglas, Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project Manager, conducts a mapping exercise with community members from Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, Jamaica, as part of the eVCA process.

Jamaica has dealt with devastating hurricanes, flooding and other extreme weather disasters in recent years. The combined effects of climate change, its location within the hurricane belt and sea level rise threaten the livelihoods and ecosystems of the island.

 

The Nature Conservancy and the Jamaica Red Cross worked with the Old Harbour Bay community to understand their specific areas of risk through the enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (eVCA) process, which began in 2020, but was halted for some time due to COVID-19 and was then completed in 2021. The sessions consisted of in-person and virtual gatherings, where community members agreed on the main hazards for the community and developed community action plans that integrate key natural resources to address the risks of climate disasters.

 

The eVCA tools were deployed over the course of six months. The sessions involved activities on mapping, focus group discussions, historical profiling, among others. They resulted in the community identifying hurricanes, strong winds, storm surges, overland flooding, and crime as high-priority hazards, as well as prioritizing an action plan that adapts to the existing environment and is conscious of future climate change impacts.

Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine, Jamaica Benefits from Bathymetry and Benthic Mapping.

RI Project team Benthic & Bathymetry Mapping.jpg

Photo: The Jamaica Resilient Islands team, comprising members of The Nature Conservancy and Jamaica Red Cross, pause for quick snapshot, during a benthic and bathymetry mapping of the Old Harbour Bay area in St. Catherine, Jamaica.

Under the Resilient Islands project, The Nature Conservancy and the Jamaica Red Cross mapped out and identified the different benthos (plants and animals that live on or in the bottom of a body of water) in the areas of Old Harbour Bay in November 2019. To develop the maps, they recorded the health, diversity, distribution and abundance of the benthos, the water and habitat quality, the changing ecological communities of the area, and documented invasive species and fisheries resources.

 

Benthic and Bathymetry mapping are important to understand the coastal and marine ecosystems at risk. Bathymetry refers to the depth of the seafloor. By collecting this data, the team determines different aspects of the topography of the seafloor including the slope and roughness. Scientists and researchers developed the map using imagery and underwater photos. The resulting digital map can be viewed using geographic information system tools.

Benthic and bathymetry maps help make informed decisions that protect fragile shallow-water coastal areas, manage coastlines, facilitate long-term monitoring, provide a baseline for future storm or pollution events and identify critical and sensitive habitats in the region.

 

This type of mapping complemented the vulnerability assessments and informed a portfolio of nature-based solutions. Additionally, the data gathered was converted into actual information that feeds into decision support tools such as coastalresilience.org

In expressing appreciation for the mapping and what it meant for his community, Charles Moodie, Water Taxi Operator from Old Harbour Bay shared that “these are things which should be done many, many years ago, and I have been saying that and your people are the first people that I saw, your organization, that thought and think that these things will be helpful for the present and for time to come.”

Understanding Risks and Building Resilience through Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (eVCA) in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, Jamaica.

RI Community Distribution OHB.jpg

Photo: Kevin Douglas, Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project Manager, conducts a mapping exercise with community members from Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, Jamaica, as part of the eVCA process.

Jamaica has dealt with devastating hurricanes, flooding and other extreme weather disasters in recent years. The combined effects of climate change, its location within the hurricane belt and sea level rise threaten the livelihoods and ecosystems of the island.

 

The Nature Conservancy and the Jamaica Red Cross worked with the Old Harbour Bay community to understand their specific areas of risk through the enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (eVCA) process, which began in 2020, but was halted for some time due to COVID-19 and was then completed in 2021. The sessions consisted of in-person and virtual gatherings, where community members agreed on the main hazards for the community and developed community action plans that integrate key natural resources to address the risks of climate disasters.

 

The eVCA tools were deployed over the course of six months. The sessions involved activities on mapping, focus group discussions, historical profiling, among others. They resulted in the community identifying hurricanes, strong winds, storm surges, overland flooding, and crime as high-priority hazards, as well as prioritizing an action plan that adapts to the existing environment and is conscious of future climate change impacts.

Resilient Islands supports Voice of Old Harbour Bay Youth Intervention Program

RI Youth Intervention OHB.jpg

Photo: Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project Manager, Kevin Douglas, shares info on how to protect ecosystems during a summer program with youth from Old Harbour Bay.

In August 2021, the Jamaica Red Cross and the Nature Conservancy participated in a community summer camp where they supported intervention programs for at-risk youth to educate them on the topic of ecosystem-based adaptations. The Resilient Islands team engaged over 100 participants in ecosystems awareness sessions where they exchanged information on the importance of protecting their community’s ecosystems through graphics.


Natalie Marston from Old Harbour Bay spoke of the need for the community to look out for its children, and how the local Red Cross can assist by providing supplemental classes to keep them on a path to help achieve their goals. Marston also highlighted the value the Jamaica Red Cross has had on the community, and the importance of listening to its members to properly address their needs.

 

The main takeaway from the activity is that youth are the future, and it is important to have them take part in climate action. Youth provide unique views and experiences on how to increase resilience and be innovative in preventing and responding to disasters.

THE FUTURE IN JAMAICA

 

The partnership developed between the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Jamaica is a unique, successful and rewarding one, which would be beneficial to continue beyond the Resilient Islands (RI) initiative. 


In addition to the implementation of life changing micro projects, the RI initiative developed a portfolio of nature-based solutions that proposes a suite of interventions which, when implemented in Old Harbour Bay, will increase community resilience especially among the most vulnerable. Each of the solutions can be implemented separately or together as a comprehensive project. The RI team has both the technical expertise as well as the support of government and other partners and the local community, with the only missing factor being the necessary funding for implementation.


Continuous capacity building and stakeholder engagement are critical for the full benefits of nature-based solutions to be realized. The humanitarian-scientific partnership forged between the JRC and TNC has demonstrated the resolve to achieve and sustain these benefits. Through the strengths of both organizations, including an island wide network of volunteers bringing communities together, upscaling the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation and nature-based solutions into existing laws and policies and weaving ecosystems deeper into the fabric of risk reduction in the minds of government and local communities, this is attainable.


However, the work of building a more resilient Jamaica, one community at a time requires the continuation of this partnership as well as additional stakeholders, including donors, joining the path to resilience. 

Explore others Geographies

Countries-02.png
Countries-01.png
Countries-03.png
 

Story Map Collection

This StoryMap Collection will walk you through the geospatial story of Resilient Islands: how data was collected, what data products are available, and how these layers can be utilized to inform decisions.

At the national level, socioeconomic, environmental, and risk datasets were compiled between the years 2018 and 2020, from multiple sources and summarized by district. These datasets were published as a Decision Support Tool and can be viewed at maps.coastalresilience.org or directly through this StoryMap Collection.

Mapping a Path to Resilience

New geospatial data guides Caribbean countries towards climate adaptation

TOOLS AND RESOURCES ICON_Ç_Ç_Ç.png

Explore
     Our Tools
and Resources