project 1000North Street Primary School in Kingston is the first school to benefit from the Digicel Foundation’s Project 1000—just in time for Teachers’ Day celebrated worldwide on May 8.

Launched last month, Project 1000 will provide one thousand early childhood and primary institutions across the island with Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) over the course of three years. Approximately US$375,000 will be invested in the project. As part of the application process, schools are required to state the number of computers, tablets, notebooks and equipment that they have sourced (through their past student associations, fundraising events and the private sector) with a request to match it. The Digicel Foundation will then match the request up to two computers, tablets or notebooks. North Street Primary School submitted their application shortly after the April 24 launch, and less than two weeks later, the school now has three new computers.

“We all know that we are in a new technology age and everybody needs to be tech savy,” noted Winifred Lawrence, Principal at North Street Primary. “Our children will certainly benefit from having these new computers and they are very much looking forward to it,” she said.

Project 1000 is in keeping with the Foundation’s aim to meet the United Nation’s Millennium development goal of achieving 100% literacy by 2015. The ICT equipment will be used to provide additional learning resources to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, specifically the teaching of phonics and reading. Computers are all preloaded with educational software, and teachers are trained by the Camara Foundation to use these resources in the classroom effectively. During the past two years, both the Digicel and Camara Foundations have donated over 750 computers islandwide.

“For the past nine years the Digicel Foundation has been working tirelessly to improve literacy and numeracy at the primary school level,” noted Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation.

“So far the Foundation has been able to contribute to roughly 373 schools islandwide. We want to touch as many schools as we can and Project 1000 is one way in which we will be able to do this. North Street Primary is the first school to receive computers through Project 1000. I commend the school’s authorities for taking the initiative to apply so quickly, and I encourage other schools to do the same,” said Chantrelle.

The computers though funded by the Digicel Foundation, are sourced and installed by the Camara Jamaica Foundation. A three year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the two Foundations during the launch of Project 1000 on April 24.

“The Camara Foundation is very excited to be a part of the Project 1000 initiative. This revolutionary project, spearheaded by the Digicel Foundation, will see over 2,000 computers put into 1,000 schools, over 1,000 teachers to be provided with ICT training and each of these 1000 schools to be provided with monitoring and technical support. North Street Primary is the first school to receive computers since the Project’s launch in April. Camara Foundation will be the watchdog to ensure that these schools use these computers optimally and that it produces the expected results of improving education in Jamaica.”