Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - The St. Lucia Chapter of the Roving
Caregivers Program was officially launched at the Greenfields Inn in Dennery on
Tuesday. The implementation process began in September 2004, and included the
extensive training of 15 secondary school graduates who are now serving as
caregivers or rovers in the communities of Auxlyon, Dennery Village, Monchy and
The Roving caregivers early childhood home visiting program originated in
Jamaica, and is a non-profit initiative designed to provide early stimulation
and enrichment to young children, who have no access to early childhood
education. The program was implemented in St. Lucia, following a recent Social
Protection Review, which indicated that 39% of the nation’s children from ages
0-4 years were living below the poverty line, while 20% had no access to day
Education officer for early childhood education Mrs. Marguerite Gustave said the
program had so far proven to be successful.
“Some of our successes of the program include the commitment of Rovers to the
task of educating and stimulating children in their care, an increase sense of
responsibility and improvement in self esteem. Expression of satisfaction from
community members who have indicated improved social skills and development in
language patterns of children in the program. The inclusion of three male rovers
in the program we consider a major success despite the attitude of male to ECD
programming in St. Lucia”, saidMrs. Gustave.
Senior Programme Specialist of the Van Leer Foundation Mr. Hubb Schreurs, said
the Rovers Caregivers program had the potential of bringing men and women
together in social and economic development activities. He believes that the
projects set an example for integrated services at the family level.
“Overtime, I do believe that this project could be considered another learning
ground, a resource for many currently active in the more formal education
institution, as it tries to incorporate recent thinking on child rearing,
socialization, and parenting theories and practices”, Mr. Schreurs said..
The program will be replicated in the communities of Bruce Ville, Boisden, Anse
la Raye and Augier, and is funded by international and local agencies.
International donors include the Bernard Veer Leer Foundation, the Caribbean
Support Initiative and the United Nations Children Fund. Among the local funding
agencies are the Poverty Reduction Fund, the Basic Needs Trust Fund and the
Ministry of Social Transformation, Culture and local Government.