Social Development Commission (SDC)

22 Camp Road Kingston 4, Jamaica, Agency

The Social Development Commission (SDC) is the principal community organization agency working with Jamaica’s 775 communities. Positioned in the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, the SDC continues to execute its legal mandate to inter alia, “promote and control schemes for, and to do any act or thing which may directly or indirectly serve the advancement of – sport, social, cultural & economic development – for the people of Jamaica and workers in particular”(S7/1965).


To be the leading community development agency working within a Jamaican Society where all citizens actively participate in a process and benefits from the resulting good governance, economic prosperity, sustainable environment and social well-being


To facilitate the empowerment of citizens in communities, enabling their participation in an integrated, equitable, sustainable National Development Process.


The Social Development Commission (SDC) evolved from Jamaica Welfare Ltd [1937] – pioneers of rural community development – to be the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) principal community mobilisation and organisation agency in urban and rural areas.  The Jamaica Social Welfare Commission Act established the SDC in 1965.  The legal mandate of the SDC is, inter alia, “to promote and control schemes for, and to do any act or thing which may directly or indirectly serve the advancement of  – sport, social, cultural & economic development  – for the people of Jamaica and workers in particular”.

The SDC’s approach to community development is in line with international best practices where communities are involved in identifying and designing strategies aimed at improving their quality of life.  This essentially means safeguarding human rights as the fundamental principle guiding the development of the country.  SDC’s core outputs are focused on a strong community governance mechanism, reliable disaggregated data to produce community profiles and community priority plans and programmes that identify needs, the required partnerships for success and the most suitable environment for quality service delivery.  Central to the focus of the organization is the reform of local governance and its entrenchment in the constitution.

The SDC has had notable achievements in transforming the Jamaican landscape through milestones reached in each of the respective core output areas.  As a platform for the Local Government Reform process in Jamaica there are 4637 active Community Based Organizations (CBOs); 415   active Community Development Committees (CDCs)  representing 53% of 775 communities, 44 active Development Area Committees (DACs) accounting for 61% of 73 Development Areas; and 11 or 85% active Parish Development Committees (PDCs).

There has also been progress in terms of policy as the revised local government reform act is now a motion to the lower house of Parliament.

For the SDC, effective governance will continue to be the central focus supported by strengthened research and priority planning processes, as it is only through people participation that Jamaica will be the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.