Self-help and neighbourly cooperation have been abiding features of post-Emancipation Jamaican culture as the poor have struggled, under very difficult circumstances, to make a better life for themselves and their communities.
The Most Honourable Michael Manley, Prime Minister from 1972 to 1980 and 1989-1992, reflected his steadfast commitment to the ideals of self-reliance and community cooperation in a range of policies and in his personal voluntary involvement, joining people in their communities and wielding pickaxes, shovels and paint brushes on work days all over Jamaica.
In The Politics of Change, the first of his seven books, Mr Manley asserted: “It is vital for political leadership to ‘back its jacket’ and get in among the people at the roughest working levels from time to time.”
The Michael Manley Foundation created the Michael Manley Award for Community Self-Reliance as its first project, with such criteria as community initiative and participation; sustainability and succession planning; democratic governance and integrity; social, economic, cultural, educational and environmental impact; gender equity and youth involvement.
Fittingly, on Emancipation Day – August 1 – each year, Kingston’s Little Theatre is decked out in appropriate style for the Awards presentation that includes screening of a video documentary on the projects short-listed for visits by the judges and entertainment mainly by promising young artistes.
In the presence of members of the Manley family, executives of the Foundation, Parliamentarians, diplomatic and consular representatives, donors, participants in community self-reliance projects, mass media practitioners and a wide range of interested individuals from the general public, the winners of the Award are presented with a beautiful bronze resin trophy sculpted by the renowned Kay Sullivan and a cash prize of $200,000.
In the communities that have featured prominently in the Michael Manley Awards for Community Self-Reliance, citizens of all generations work together to improve their economic well-being, social conditions, educational standards, environmental practices, physical health and cultural expression. Most of the very impressive projects are in the remote hinterland.
Invariably, those communities enjoy extraordinary degrees of peace and tranquility. The winners also report that news of their award inspires enhanced material support from overseas as well as from local benefactors.
|Year||Awardees||Principal Activites||Guest Speaker|
|2000||Manchioneal Community Club Portland||Broiler Meat production,
sports & culture
|Mr Randall Robinson, PresidentTransAfrica Forum, USA|
|2001||Cave Island Citizens Assn, Trelawny||Water supply, sanitation, etc.||Dr Ralph Gonsalves,
Prime Minister, St Vincent & the Grenadines
|2002||Woodside Community Dev’pment Action Group, St Mary||Wide range of activities||Prof. Rex Nettleford,
Vice Chancellor, U. of the W. Indies
|2003||Maroon Town Community Enterprise,
|Banana and plantain chips production||Rt Hon. P.J. Patterson,
|2004||Amity Hall Development Committee, St James||Creating own piped water supply system||Ms Diane Abbott, MP
|2005||Sturge Town Community Dev’pment Council,
|Wide range of activities||Mr Woodrow Mitchell,
Mng Dir, Walkers Wood Caribbean Foods
|2006||Jeffrey Town Farmers Assn, St Mary||Farming, etc.||Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister|
|2007||Association of Clubs, Westmoreland||Wide range of activities||Revd Ernle Gordon, Rector, St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church|
|2008||Woodford Homework & Learning Centre, St Andrew||Homework assistance & IT Training||Hon. Bruce Golding, MP
|2009||Flanker Community Development Centre, St James||Wide range of activities||Dr Blossom O’Meally Nelson, former Postmaster GeneralPractice of engaging a Guest Speaker discontinued henceforth|
|2010||Spring Village Community Development Foundation,
|Education, training, and community enterprise|
|2011||Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, St Mary||Wide range of activities|
|2012||Association of Clubs, Westmoreland||Village tourism|
Since 2004, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) has partnered with the Michael Manley Foundation by donating a cash prize and a commemorative plaque to the project entered for the Michael Manley Award for Community Self-Reliance with the best credentials in Environmental Conservation or Child Survival and Development, the two causes to which the EFJ is devoted. The EFJ Awards have gone as follows:
|2004||Amity Hall Development Committee – St James||Environmental Conservation|
|2005||Bowden Pen Farmers Association – St Thomas||Environmental Conservation|
|2006||Holy Trinity Basic School – St Andrew||Child Survival & Development|
|2007||Hampstead Water Supply Upgrade – St Mary||Environmental Conservation|
|2008||St Catherine Community Development Agency (SACDA)||Child Survival & Development|
|2009||White Horses-Botany Bay-Pamphret Water Supply & Sanitation – St Thomas||Environmental Conservation|
|2010||Children First Agency – St Catherine||Child Survival & Development|
|2011||Winnifred Beach Benevolent Society – Portland||Environmental Conservation|
|2012||Central Village Inner City Services – St Catherine||Child Survival & Development|