The Digicel Foundation helps Content Gap with culinary training programme
The Content Gap arm of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) in St Andrew, made a very unusual move and has shifted part of its focus from its dominant income-generating activity of farming to include baking and food processing, thanks to the investment of the Digicel Foundation’s ‘Mek a Muckle’ programme.
The Foundation has invested $165,000 in their initiative to provide training in this area for community members.
Inez Wilson, president of the Content Gap JAS, conceptualised and currently organises this programme. Wilson said that there are limited training and employment opportunities in Content Gap. “Everyone in the community is doing farming and we wanted to train the young people to do something else. The funds from Digicel Foundation have been used to purchase a six-burner stove, two industrial mixers and supplies to start our training programme,” she stated.
At present, there are 10 members of the community enrolled in this programme. The duration of each training programme is three months and classes are held at the Content Gap Community Centre, conducted by two Home Economics officers from RADA. Training is done twice monthly and trainees learn to make a variety of baked products as well as jams, jellies and wines. The products are packaged, labelled and sold within the community. Wilson expects that they will soon be making enough products to expand their market to include other communities in Kingston and St Andrew.
The impact of Digicel Foundation’s investment is not limited to the adults in this community. In the upcoming academic year, the JAS would like to expand its training to include the Grades 5 and 6 classes of the Content Gap Primary School. Students will do a shorter course in baking and will also learn table setting.
“It’s good that we got this money to buy the equipment,” Wilson said, “Jobs are not available in this area and, with this training, many of our young people will be able to go out and get jobs.”
Chairman of the Digicel Foundation, Jean Lowrie-Chin, commended the farmers on taking the initiative to step outside of their comfort zone and invest in this area.
“By giving the younger generation a choice in their future, you have demonstrated your dedication to improving the future of this nation. Digicel Foundation is encouraged by this bold initiative and is always willing to support groups that invest in preparing our youth for an extraordinary tomorrow,” Lowrie-Chin said.