If you live in the Carmichael neighborhood, some of the first faces you would have seen after Hurricane Matthew were those of the Our Carmichael team. The group of volunteers provided how-to videos on how to board up before the storm, worked with Omni Cash to assist residents with rebuilding funds, cleared debris from the roads and distributed 4,000 bags of ice to residents without power. Mostly comprised of residents from in and around the neighborhood the quick and passionate response reflects the groups mandate to be the change they want to see in their home base.
In their own words, Our Carmichael is comprised of “persons tired of complaining.” Bringing together Bahamians, Non-Bahamians, young and old, and persons of all backgrounds they have created an apolitical space for people to help one another and create a positive impact on the Carmichael Community.
Devoutly focused on rebuilding the community and addressing key issues through empowerment, Our Carmichael has already championed many causes for their constituents. Recently, the group secured a partnership with Colina General to launch “Insure Carmichael” which encourages residents to get insured with specialized reduced the rates and requires the company to donate a percentage to the initiative from every policy written in the area.
In the past 12 months they have hosted more than 24 workshops on educational and issues such as money management, business management, family planning, community activism and free legal and health seminars. They have launched a job training agency, senior citizens club and young girls club and are looking forward to rolling out a community scholarship programme in the coming weeks.
Now, as Our Carmichael looks to spearhead a movement for more accountable political candidates and leaders, they have joined forces with The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) and 15 other civil society groups to push for a strong, fair Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that empowers the people and keeps the government honest.
“Carmichael is an expanse comprised of at least five political constituencies,” said Ranard Henfield, Founder of Our Carmichael. ‘That means those five MPs have access to constituency allowances that exceed $500,000.00 per annum. Unfortunately, our residents and communities do not benefit from these funds because we can't see how it's managed or influence how it's spent. A ‘True’ FOIA would allow us to see what's being done and propose the best way for the funds to be used to empower and educate our 50,000 plus residents.”
At ORG we believe that collaboration between government, civil society organizations, and citizens is the only way to achieve sustainable, positive change in the areas that affect us most such as governance, education, and the economy. We are proud to have Our Carmichael on board in the campaign for a True FOIA and a more transparent and accountable government.
For information on Our Carmichael, click here.