By:Curtis Morton

Charlestown-Nevis-A very significant meeting of relevant stakeholders was held on Tuesday 15th March at the conference room of the Nevis Credit Union.

The meeting served to give a progress report on what has been achieved so far after the conducting of the relevant surveys and what is required in the future, as regards the St.Kitts-Nevis National protection strategy..

Director of the Social Services Department in Nevis, Mrs. Sandra Maynard, in welcoming the participants, indicated the following:

“The St. Kitts Nevis National Social Protection Strategy was finalized in 2012 to inform Government’s planning processes to ensure that public resources are directed towards addressing the challenges of poverty and vulnerability across the Federation.

The policy is a comprehensive one which set out several very important goals and objectives through which we should achieve far reaching and sustainable changes in how we administer social services and impact the less fortunate in our islands.”

She indicated that as a result, the department has consolidated and strengthened its cash transfer programs through the launch of the MEND program in St.Kitts and the RISE program in Nevis.

A central beneficiary registry has also been established, which serves to improve the way in which persons are targeted to receive social assistance benefits.

There has been an increased efficiency in institution capacity and monitoring and evaluating procedures.

 Among those making presentations were key personnel of the AYALA consulting firm out of Ecuador/Miami.

Mrs. Maynard noted that as part of the social protection reform, the firm was contracted to create the St. Kitts Nevis National Household Registry, Proxy Means Test and a Management Information System.  They have been working with the departments in the federation for almost two years

According to Mrs. Maynard, a preliminary stakeholders meeting was held on February 18th and stakeholders were updated on what was achieved up to that point.

So far since the establishment of the MIS; some stakeholders, including IT, Health, Education and Finance have also been involved to varying extents in previous training programs.

She urged the persons present, to participate fully in the day’s proceedings as she pointed out that elements of data sharing will be critical to the process going forward.

Apart from the presentation made by the AYAL representative, Director of the Social Services department in St.Kitts, Miss Azilla Clarke, gave a comprehensive power point overview of the findings from the surveys that have been conducted so far and got pertinent feedback from the participants.

The Nevis Household Registry is located in a specially designated office on the top floor of the existing Social Services Department and persons can make direct contact with the officers there.

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