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Panos Caribbean Utilizing Social Media to Advance its Development Agenda

June 20, 2011

You can now follow Panos Caribbean on Twitter, you can also send a friend request to our Facebook profile or become a fan of our recently created Facebook fan page. Panos Caribbean also has a Youtube account and a blog that is hosted by WordPress.

Panos Caribbean, like many organisations, has had a website for years. However, as social media has become more popular and relevant, the organisation has seen the need to expand it’s publishing platforms to include the very dynamic and very popular social media tools.

“Social media, known as new media, has become crucial partners to traditional media and has broadened the reach of organisations, even those that are not in the business of communication,” Executive Director of Panos Caribbean, Jan Voordouw stated.

“Through our social media platforms, we are able to communicate with our partners and beneficiaries and others in ways that our website does not allow us to,” he continued.

Panos Caribbean’s Youtube account hosts a growing number of videos developed or comissioned by the organisation as part of projects or under media fellowship arrangements with television journalists from the Caribbean. The videos are also hosted on our website on Panos Caribbean’s TV channel under our Media Productions Tab. Videos that we share to our Facebook and Twitter pages are hosted on our Youtube account.

These two videos were produced by journalist, Kalilah Enriquez of CVM Television under a Media Fellowship awarded by Panos Caribbean ( and funded by the Panos Global AIDS Programme. ( They form part of a GAP funded HIV and Human Rights media fellowship project which includes two other videos as well as a photography fellowship.

These two vdeos will be premiered on CVM television in Jamaica in the month of June 2011 as part of the fellowship arrangement and as part of Panos Caribbean’s 25th anniversary celebratory activities.

PART ONE takes an overall look at the issue of street boys in Kingston, Jamaica and their risk and vulnerability to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The voices of authority figures are also in this video and includes their perspectives on what government and civil society are doing to address the problem.

In PART TWO we meet Romario, Andre and Kemar, street boys from Kingston, Jamaica who wipe car windows to earn a living.

The three boys speak candidly about their knowledge of sex, their early involvement in sexual activities and their knowledge of HIV and AIDS and how their parents and other adults sexual choices influence their own sexuality and sexual choices and values.

Our blog, which is independently hosted by wordpress, has articles produced by our cadre of freelance journalists from around the Caribbean. A feed from the blog shows the top three posts on our website.

“That is one of the main distinguishing feature of social media,” Andrea Downer, Panos Caribbean’s Online Content Manager explained. “The fact that everything online can now be connected, forming a seamless communication hub of independent pages and accounts that are all related and linked. This increases effectiveness and improves on communication efficiency,” she stated.

“We are able to talk to our Facebook friends in Facebook chat (instant messaging) or send and receive messages. Our Facebook friends and fans can give us direct and immediate feedback to our posts about our projects and activities and we are able respond similarly,” she continued.

“When I made the decision for Panos Caribbean to begin using social media, I felt it would give us the opportunity to reach young people who are a very important demographic of the Caribbean’s population. However, it is not just young people who are our audience on Facebook and Twitter; social media allows us to seamlessly interact and network with other development partners and organisations in ways that we would not be able to via our respective websites,” Mr. Voordouw explained.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Join the conversation!


Panos Marks 25 Years of Development Work in the Caribbean

June 19, 2011

For twenty-five years Panos has been working with the media and other communicators to foster debate on under-reported, misrepresented or misunderstood development issues. We believe that only by including the voices and views of those most affected by these issues – usually the poorest and most marginalised people in society – will lasting solutions be found.

Panos may officially have been founded in 1986, but our origins go back to the early 1970s when the environmental movement was gathering pace.

In 1974, UK journalist Jon Tinker started Earthscan, a unit of the International Institute for Environment and Development which offered journalists (and later NGOs) objective information on key global issues and on policy options for addressing them.

By 1986 Jon had transformed Earthscan’s Southern media programme into a new independent institution: Panos.

From the outset, as part of its commitment to Southern-led development, Panos aimed to build a network of independent institutes around the world.

Panos Caribbean will commence a range of activities to mark this tremendous milestone in June 2011 through to March 2012.

Panos Caribbean Releases Video: “Real People, Real Voices!”

April 11, 2011

Panos Caribbean staff members from Jamaica & Haiti Offices

Panos Caribbean will commemorate 25 years of working in the Caribbean in June this year. As part of its activities to mark this significant achievement, the organization has released a short video: “Real People, Real Voices!” which explores some of Panos Caribbean’s recent activities and achievement.

Since its inception in 1986, Panos Caribbean has been working to help empower the most marginalized and vulnerable persons in the region through projects and other activities on issues related to children and youth, public health, media community & environment as well as gender.

There is a lot that we have been able to achieve over the past 25 years and some of our work and beneficiaries are highlighted in the video: “Real People, Real Voices!” which echoes Panos Caribbean’s tagline and motto.

The video production, which is just over six minutes long, can be viewed on our Youtube page by clicking this link: The video is also embedded below.

Please take a few minutes to watch and hear the real people of the Caribbean talk about how Panos Caribbean has impacted their lives in real ways through our commitment to empowering people to take action to improve their circumstances, their communities and their lives.

Artistes and Communities Combine to Raise Awareness on Biodiversity and Climate Change – Outreach Concert slated for Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 8, 2011
By Andrea Downer, Journalist

Kingston, Jamaica. April 6, 2011- At least ten local artistes will on Saturday, April 9, team up with the communities of Mocho and Portland Cottage in Clarendon to raise awareness on the need to conserve plants and animals (biodiversity) at risk of extinction as well as planning for climate change.

The two – Mocho: a farming community and Portland Cottage: a coastal community – are a part of a project on communicating climate change and biodiversity. They have combined with the Voices for Climate Change Education Project which has 24 artists involved in public education.

This Saturday’s concert, which will be held at Lennon High School, will focus on climate change as well as biodiversity.  Both communities have concerns about the way in which climate change will impact on the biodiversity there as well as on their livelihoods. Biodiversity can be defined as the balance between plants, animals and humans.

“I learnt from the older generation in Mocho that the area had a lot of medicinal trees, the older folks hardly went to the doctor. There was a cure for every sickness you could imagine. However, now, you can’t find cold bush any more, we can’t find the bush for belly aches, so herbs and bushes like honey weed, thistles and leaf of life is now a thing of the past,” said Vice President of the Mocho Community Development Association (MCDA), Odette Eccles. “Colon mint, a very good mint for cleansing the colon we hardly ever see it any more. Very few people trying to plant back a few of those medicinal bushes to see if they once again can be in the community.”

Veteran Singer, Lloyd Lovindeer helps some school children to plants a tree at their school during a Voices For Climate Change Education Outreach Event in 2010

Mocho, located close to Four Paths in Clarendon, is known for its farming produce and the preservation of the area’s biodiversity is crucial to the future of that economic activity.

Eccles blames the loss of endemic wildlife and the threat to the area’s biodiversity on bauxite mining which took place in the community for more than 30 years. According to her, the activity left them (in Mocho) with a lot of schools and nothing else.

“With the flat lands which used to be used for farming mined out, the farmers have to go to the hills to farm, which further threatens the area’s biodiversity.  Bauxite mining by JAMALCO came into the community in the 1970’s and continued until about 2005,” she disclosed.

She said while workshops and community meetings help to spread the urgent environment message of climate change and the need to preserve the Mocho’s biodiversity, a reggae concert is ideal to reinforce what has been already taught to members of the community.

“People rarely read flyers and posters.  I think music really gets to the people more. When you come to the concert, rock to the beat, listen to the words of the songs; that will have a more lasting impact. Also, the kinds of artistes that will be performing are well known and people will stand up and take notice because of how popular they are,” she said. “People will tend to remember the catchy words from music rather than what is said in workshops or community meetings.”

Voices for Climate Change Artistes performing on stage during a climate Change awareness concert last year (in 2010)

Artistes slated to perform are Lovindeer, One Third, Pam Hall, Cameal Davis, Boom Dawn, Amique and Nazzle Man, Fire Juice, Pampi Judah, Free the Ghetto Youth, Big Pop, Minori and Colah Network.

The concert kicks off at 3pm and goes up to 6pm. A tree planting exercise at Mocho and Brixton Hill Primary school will start the day’s activities at 10 am.

The concert on Saturday is among several activities to be held in Mocho as part of a 15 month project which is an extension of a pilot Voices by Panos Caribbean. This current project has much more of a focus at the community level. It is a collaborative effort between the Mocho Community Development Association (MCDA), Panos Caribbean and the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC).

The project is being implemented with a US$29,000 grant from the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to work on communicating climate change and biodiversity issues.

Regional Director, Media, Community & Environment at Panos Caribbean, Indi Mclymont-Lafayette during her presentation during at a one-day workshop on March 29, 2011 on climate change and biodiversity held in Mocho, Clarendon by the Mocho Community Development Association, (MCDA) and Panos Caribbean.

“We have had two workshops so far on climate change and biodiversity since the start of the year and already people in the community are more aware of the issue. They are asking questions about climate change and show a lot of interest in finding out about it,” said Eccles. (End/06/04/11)

Jamaican Journalists to be Trained in Biodiversity and Climate Change

March 26, 2011

Regional Director, Media, Community & Environment at Panos Caribbean, Indi Mclymont-Lafayette during a VOICES for Climate Change Education workshop with artistes and some media representatives last year.

By Andrea Downer, Journalist

Kingston, Jamaica. March 25, 2011- Roughly 10-15 Jamaican journalists will on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 participate in a one day training workshop on covering climate change and biodiversity issues.

The workshop will be held in Mocho, Clarendon, by the Mocho Community Development Association (MCDA) in association with PANOS Caribbean and the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC).

“The workshop will sensitize key stakeholders in vulnerable sectors and communities on the emerging research and data on climate change and biodiversity issues while helping to promote sustainable conservation and preservation of marine and forest eco-systems, which is one of several activities being carried out in the community of Mocho, Clarendon,” said Regional Director, Media, Community and Environment at Panos Caribbean, Indi Mclymont-Lafayette.

“We are targeting 15 journalists and while some journalists have already confirmed their attendance, there are still some spaces available,” she explained.

According to her, based on Panos’ work, observations had been made that biodiversity was an underreported area in the Jamaican media. So the workshop would help to increase the number of stories produced on biodiversity and climate change issues in Jamaican media. It would also build the link and foster relations between media and two vulnerable communities – Portland Cottage and Mocho in Clarendon.

Participants at the workshop will also be eligible for a cash fellowship to do follow up reporting on the issues which should boost journalists’ capacity to cover biodiversity and climate change issues. The fellowship recipient will be expected to produce a series of stories (4) on the climate change and biodiversity issues.

There will be several presentations on climate change and biodiversity work being done in Jamaica, after which journalists will embark on two field trips, one around the Mocho Community and then to Jackson Bay, a beach which fishermen say is disappearing. It has not been determined if this is linked to sea level rise or storm surge or if it is as a result of climate change. A representative from NEPA will be invited to share more on the issue.

Transportation to and from the workshop will be provided.

The Mocho Community Development Association (MCDA), Panos Caribbean and the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC) have received a US$29,000 grant from the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme an gotten and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to work on communicating climate change and biodiversity issues. The 15 month project is an extension of the Voices project but with more of a focus at the community level and nationally. (End25/03/11)

For more information contact Andrea Downer at or call 920-0070.


Panos Caribbean and York University hosts conference on Hispaniola

March 11, 2011

A Photo taken from the event website of the six students who organised the conference.

By Andrea Downer, Journalist

Kingston, Jamaica. March 5, 2011 – Panos Caribbean will for the second time this year put Caribbean  voices into Canadian diaspora dialogue when it partners with York University in Canada in a one day  conference called Transcending the Border: Dialogues on the Challenges of Hispaniola.

“Although the Caribbean is not far from North America, the stories of the poor people of the Caribbean are still not well  known in parts of Canada,” said Jan Voordouw, Executive Director, Panos Caribbean. He added that he was heartened  by the university’s sustained interest in Caribbean issues particularly Haiti where Panos has carried out development  work in communication for the past 25 years.

York’s conference, which will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Glendon College, York University, provides a forum for academic, diplomatic and professional discussions on important political, economic and social issues between Hispaniola and the world.

“This symposium is expected to bring together some of the brightest minds from the region to share their expertise on the topic of Hispaniola,” stated Kathryn Bodkin, Coordinator for the conference.

Read more…

Panos Caribbean & York University in Canada Host Seminar on Haiti Earthquake

January 13, 2011

Panos Caribbean's Haiti staff members in a photograph outside the organisations new office in Port au Prince Haiti, the old office was severely damaged during last January's earthquake. Panos Caribbean was among many Civil Society organisations which suffered massive displacement of their staff and severe disruption of their operations as a result of the quake. This photograph, taken one year after the quake, effectively captures the resilience if the Haitian people and their irrepressible spirit in the face of the many disasters which have affected Haiti throughout it's history.

Andrea Downer

Panos Caribbean

In recognition of the importance of reflection and analysis and using insights to aid disaster response in the future, Panos Caribbean has partnered with York University in Canada to host a seminar on lessons (learnt and unlearnt) from the Haiti earthquake.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011, marks the first anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti .

The seminar, which will take place today, January 10, 2011 at the Leith Room at York University ’s Keele Campus will be hosted by the Disaster and emergency Management Program School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York in collaboration with Emergency Management Ontario (EMO).

“All societal crises, including natural disasters,  present opportunities for learning lessons and improving societal resilience, humanitarian response and building capacity to improve the handling of similar future events,” said Franklin McDonald, Panos Caribbean Board Member and former head of the Institute of Sustainable Development Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. McDonald is one of the key players in the event.

“For a variety of reasons the recent Haiti Earthquake presented and continues to present a special challenge for first response practitioners, emergency managers, researchers, educators, and those responsible for capacity building,” the veteran disaster response professional explained. McDonald was the head of Jamaica ’s national disaster response agency in the early years of his career.

Read more…