Social Good

My most challenging project in life

About two years ago I was in the hospital for the birth of my son when I got a call from UNICEF asking if I would consult for them. “YES!” was the only reply.

Having donated to UNICEF in the past, and now a dad, the timing and the opportunity couldn’t have been better, not least because of the on-the-job training it provides me for my most challenging client yet. He turns two this December.

The first 1,000 days have a profound effect on the rest of our child’s life. Meanwhile as first-time parents fumbling along, that’s me, we are handed a onetime chance to sleeplessly and selflessly shape this expanding ball of pure human energy. Continue reading

Social Good

Deaf Can! Coffee: 10 ways to launch a successful social enterprise in Jamaica

Deaf Can! Coffee’s Fabian Jackson, Carlyle Gabbidon, Tashi & Blake Widmer

Maybe you’ve seen them wearing their branded t-shirts serving coffee at events around Jamaica. There are now three full-time and 25 part-time baristas working with Deaf Can! Coffee, just two years since the social enterprise launched. In that short time, founders Blake and Tashi Widmer have learned quite a lot about how to make a social enterprise work in Jamaica.

Based at the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) on Kingston’s Cassia Park Road, Deaf Can! has grown at a time when coffee culture is thriving on the island, as has awareness of social enterprises and their potential impact in Jamaica. Imagine if every wealthy church congregation followed their example and founded their own social enterprise employing youth? I chatted with Blake at Deaf Can’s third location, inside the Toyota Coffeehouse at the dealership on Old Hope Road…

Identify a business opportunity

“I think we are offering a product and a service that nobody else is by being able to deliver a pop-up service at an event with the equipment we have. Also, we’re tapping into an underutilised labour force which is the deaf community, there are a lot of people who don’t have a job or only work part-time and when we have an event we can send out a text and say, ‘Hey we have an opportunity to work at this event this weekend and it’s gonna be such and such hours’.” Continue reading

Social Good

Job opportunity: U-Report Jamaica social messaging tool

u-report unicef jamaica

For the past couple months at UNICEF Jamaica I’ve been working to prepare the Jamaican launch of U-Report, which is UNICEF’s social messaging tool. In a nutshell, it allows us to send weekly polls/message pushes to an audience of U-Reporter via their favorite messaging platforms: Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter and (free) SMS. For more info and to apply for the project coordinator position, visit the UNICEF Jamaica blog here.

Social Good

UNICEF: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for Mother’s Day

'Being the world's fastest woman was hard work. Being a mom will be more!' More from our Goodwill Ambassador Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce coming tomorrow on #MothersDay. 🥇👶🏾

Geplaatst door Unicef Jamaica op zaterdag 13 mei 2017

For UNICEF I recently got the opportunity to interview Shelly-Ann for Mother’s Day since she’s Jamaica’s Goodwill Ambassador but now of course, also an expectant mom. The Pocket Rocket in real life is exactly as you would expect: laser focused, unfussy and just nice. Here’s the post on the UNICEF blog: As a mother I can do more for Jamaican children – Shelly-Ann

Social Good

Youths are alright, but the adults…

Getting absent children back to school

“They said how could Roshane get higher marks than us!?” How one student bounced back after missing months of school:

Geplaatst door Unicef Jamaica op vrijdag 16 december 2016

Late last year, the UNICEF team drove to Chester Castle in Hanover to shoot a video about a small but successful partner project getting absentee kids back-in-school. We were there a couple of hours when Roshane Thomas, this businesslike 12-year-old walked up to introduce himself, and like that everyone realised we had the story right there.

Today on his 13th birthday, people have watched his video 950,000+ times; he just got 100 per cent in maths (when previously he was going to school once a month) and he has this wisdom to share with his peers and their parents.

It’s too easy to write off today’s youth as wutless, yet when you work with them you realise that not only is that belief a reflection of us; but that we have just as much to learn from them as we think we have to teach them.