OAS/Development Cooperation Fund Craft Enhancement & Business Planning Training to Support Human Resource and Capacity Building in the Public And Private Sectors
Over the years there has been a significant decrease in the quality of products sold to visitors with over 75% of souvenirs sold being imports from China. There is evidence of limited or only conventional products on the market; a result of lack of sound knowledge in contemporary design and product innovation. Given the impact that tourism has both on economic activities and social landscape, the challenge lies in the ability to provide an inimitable and participatory tourist experience which is critical for improved sustainability. The proposed project will seek to alleviate this predicament by enhancing the human capacity within the tourism industry through the provision of more extensive training opportunities. This OAS/Development Cooperation Fund craft project is strategically aligned not only with Jamaica’s national priorities, but also the national priorities of our neighbouring Caribbean islands and the OAS strategic priority outcome “to improve product and service quality through specifically designed training programs for MSME’s.
The project is designed with three (3) four-day craft skills upgrading workshops to be conducted for at least eighty (80) artisans in four regions in Jamaica, namely Western (Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James); Northern (Trelawney, St. Ann, St. Mary); Eastern (Portland, St. Thomas, Kingston &St. Andrew; Southern (St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester & St. Elizabeth). This may involve more days as monitoring sessions to reinforce skills taught. There will be five (5) such workshops and monitoring days. Additionally, one (1) week training in Business development for all artisans and a one-day trainer orientation session for consultants. Presently six (6) specialized training in the recycled/reusable materials are being conducted while five specialized training in fibre has been completed.
The OAS/Development Cooperation Fund project is geared at supporting the main objectives outlined in Jamaica’s Tourism Master Plan in respect of the craft sector, which prescribes:
- Assisting the development of arts and crafts, improving merchandizing and business management skills of vendors and helping them access finance;
- Assisting the large number of self-employed and small businesses in the formal and informal sector who/which supply goods and services to the industry improve the livelihoods they earn from the industry by working with business support agencies targeting micro and small businesses;
Succinctly, the main objectives outlined in the plan are:
- Providing growth based on a sustainable market position
- Enhancement of visitor experience
- Supporting community-based development
- Building an all-inclusive industry
- Enhancing environmental sustainability
In keeping with the mandate, the first of five (5) expositions was held on Friday, December 19, 2014 at the Sagicor Pavilion (next door to TPDCo). At that exposition several trainees displayed their works in fibres such as straw, wicker and thatch palm. Another exposition was held August 28, 2015 at the Jamaica Pegasus. On show were craft made from papier mache, textiles, banana bark, coconut shells and calabash. There will be three (3) more displays of the craft items made from the various media namely: Bamboo, reusable/recycled materials and Textiles. To complete the Project an Overseas Bolivian Consultant in Textiles has been recruited and is presently training Artisans with specialized training in Textiles with Branding, Design Development and Product Development.