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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Service,  successfully launched its joint programme “Towards national measurements of multi-dimensional poverty in Trinidad and Tobago” on Wednesday 12 July, 2017, at the Courtyard Marriott, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The launch brought to focus the issue of poverty and its measurement in Trinidad and Tobago.  This project proposes to consult with people from all regions in the country on the issue.  Some pioneering work will also be initiated on the issue of child poverty in Trinidad and Tobago. The project will champion informed decision making for policy implementation. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, International Development Agencies, Senior Government Officials and Members of NGOs working on child poverty issues attended and participated in the discussions that followed the formal part of the proceedings.  Remarks were delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Development and by visiting UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director of Management, Ms. Fatoumata Ndaiya. 

The next stage of the Poverty Project was conducting the consultation focus groups. UNDP, alongside consultant Health and Economic Unit (HEU) with support from partner Ministry of Social Development and Family Services and assistance from Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Arts, decided on 14 municipal regions throughout Trinidad to conduct the focus groups. These regions were Point Fortin, Siparia, Penal/Debe, Sangre Grande, Arima, Tunapuna/Piarco, Chaguanas, Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Princess Town, Couva, San Juan/Laventille, Rio Claro/Mayaro and Diego Martin.

Consultations began on October 4th and ended November 15th. In all 20 consultations were conducted including one for persons with disabilities and another for NGOs. The focus groups comprised of women, men and a separate focus groups for children. Participants of the various focus groups were eager to take part in the discussions and passionately shared their issues, experiences and recommendations about the problem of poverty in Trinidad and Tobago. The children’s focus groups were equally as engaging and insightful as the children freely expressed their views and concerns on poverty and how it affects their daily lives.  The discussions of the focus groups were recorded and documented for analysis by the HEU to produce a poverty report which will be the starting point for the second phase of the poverty project.

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