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CPA Provides Much Insight into St. Lucia's Social Fabric

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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - A Country Poverty Assessment exercise currently underway in Saint Lucia is reportedly providing planners with vital insights into the social fabric of the island.

Deputy Chairman of the National Assessment Team (NAT) Donavan Williams says sixteen communities island-wide have been specially selected to be part of the exercise. The survey touches on four main components namely macro economic analysis, institutional analysis, survey of living conditions, and participatory poverty assessment. “It is very interesting and revealing to hear firsthand of some of the responses from some of the groups that we have interviewed so far,” says Williams.

He says he was, “privy to a meeting of children ages 8 – 14 in the Faux A-Choux community and the insights that they provided were quite astounding. You would not believe that persons of that age can perceive some of the issues, problems and solutions to those issues. I think it’s a real exciting exercise in that sense.”

The Saint Lucia initiative is being undertaken simultaneously with Antigua/Barbuda. The rest of the region will have similar poverty assessments conducted in their territories next year. Social Transformation Minister Honourable Menissa Rambally says the data gathered will be used to assess the quality of life and living conditions being experienced at the community, family and individual levels, with particular interest on vulnerable groups like women, and children.

According to Ms. Rambally, “the Ministry of Finance will serve as a beneficiary of this information and exercise, so will the Ministries of Education and Health because you can well understand that when you go into a community, the information that we would glean from that community would be wide ranging. Therefore this country poverty assessment is not only useful to the social development landscape of St. Lucia but it’s important to every aspect of development taking place within the country because it is going to inform us in a very real way as to what people are experiencing.”

The last country poverty assessment was conducted in 1995 and gave rise to the formation of the Poverty Reduction Fund among other intervention agencies. This current assessment will end by January of 2006 with a draft report scheduled for February 2006. Officials say in the end the hope is to further enhance the types of programmes that must be undertaken by government in order to make meaningful interventions.

The main donor agency involved in funding the poverty assessment is the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in close collaboration with the National Assessment Team (NAT) appointed by the Ministry of Social Transformation, Culture and Local Government.

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