Growing the Local Economy through Income-Generating Initiatives and our Service Learning Program
There is a steady stream of tourists to the Blue Mountains to climb the peak, however, the majority of those tourists travel past Hagley Gap to one of the lodges in Penlyne that dominate the local tourism industry.
Our hopes are to establish a Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce and hand over the tourism promotion project to local business owners after start-up assistance from the BMP.
Growing the Crafting Industry
The Blue Mountain Project made the cover of the Jamaica Observer twice this year. The one story was regarding Rohan Cuff being the first entrepreneur able to sustain a souvenir shop in the Blue Mountains. Rohan gave the credit to the continual stream of BMP volunteers that were looking to spend money locally as the main reason his business was able to survive. However, the vast majority of the items sold in his shop are made in other parts of the islands and we would like to encourage home businesses where families could make quality items available for sale locally.
We will continue to support the women that currently make the eco-weave bags and promote and sell those bags. However we are looking to diversify the items made and sold. If you have a skill set you are willing to share that could be a potential home-based business for members of our community please get in touch with us and consider volunteering in our Service Learning Program.
Environmental Initiatives and Recycling
The 5 communities where the BMP lives and works are the gateway communities to the Blue and John Crowe Mountains National Park. The beauty of our region is breathtaking but upon a closer inspection one will see that many of our mountainsides are littered with trash. The BMP will be working to minimize our use of plastic and implementing composting and recycling programs in 2016 and plan to have community-wide recycling programs in place by 2017.
Service Learning Program
The BMP Service Learning Program is critical to the local economy as volunteer program fees go directly to community members and to small businesses within the rural villages where we live and work. Our volunteers stay with host families where they get their meals, local community members organize our excursions and community members provide all of our transportation within Jamaica. Outside of agriculture and Blue Mountain coffee, the BMP is the leading force in the local economy as the majority of our $80,000 annual budget is reinvested in the communities where we work. Our Ambassadors, Service Learning volunteers and Field Service participants support the economy further by spending money in the local shops, bars and restaurants.