UNDP’s poverty programme in Trinidad and Tobago informs policy and programme development through a mixture of policy advice, advocacy and downstream initiatives. The programme contributes to work towards the development of a national poverty reduction strategy that will directly address poverty alleviation (MDG1).
The MDG1 target aims to reduce poverty and hunger, in Trinidad and Tobago and the world. In Trinidad and Tobago there are five areas of highest priority for pursuing poverty reduction which include: (i) promoting broad-based, sustainable growth in non-oil sectors; (ii) improving the functioning of the labour market by reforming specific administrative interventions to reduce rigidities, distortions and gender discrimination; (iii) improving both quality and equity in the education sector; (iv) rally supporting health reform to reduce current inefficiencies while ensuring quality and maintaining equity; and (v) reforming the safety net so that programs more adequately meet the needs of the poor without wasting resources.
UNDP through their own national plan works to assist developing countries in formulating poverty alleviation strategies that utilize the 2012 Atlas of Human Development for Trinidad and Tobago. It is on this accord that targeted approaches can be made to boost national awareness of the importance on fact based decision making.
UNDP will continue to work to involve the government and strengthen the private sector’s role on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to address issues of poverty and the environment and, by extension, to foster the creation of inclusive markets for the poor as market participants, niche entrepreneurs and important contributors to the supply chain.
Projects and Initiatives
Primary Health Care Strengthening Initiative
Partners: UNV, UNDP and Ministry of Health
There is a current dearth of healthcare professionals in Trinidad and Tobago’s primary healthcare facilities as a result of migration to foreign healthcare markets and a drift away from the public sector healthcare system to more profitable private practice. The UNDP is currently in consultation with the Ministry of Health to provide support through the provision of medical doctors to facilitate an improvement in the delivery of health services to the public in particular those residing in rural communities where extended hours of access are not currently available.
This will assist the Government in attaining several medium-term health care goals as laid out in its Medium- TERM Policy Framework and is fully consistent with the Government’s priority of addressing the issues of poverty through the provision of and access to essential social services. Also the problem of unnecessary hospital admissions due to excessive self-referrals to larger hospitals which is a result of person unable to access health care services at their local primary health care centres after the hour of 4:00 pm. In the long run it will free hospital resources for those critical cases that cannot be dealt with at the level of the health centres.
Development of Community Profiles for Most at Risk Communities
Partners: UNDP and Ministry of Community Development, Community Development Fund
Trinidad and Tobago has been collecting data by means of population censuses and household surveys by which to gauge the size, characteristics and living conditions of the population and the poverty situation of individuals and specific social groups. Among the data collection instruments used are the Population and Housing census taken every ten years, the Household Budgetary survey and the Survey of Living Conditions (SLC). The latter two, the HBS and SLC more specifically yield data from which living conditions and poverty status of the population can be determined, measured and assessed.
The CDF is an implementation agency of the Ministry of Community Development that seeks to build capacity in communities and organizations. The CDF strives to put communities on a development pathway through the strategy of poverty alleviation. Community profiling will provide a reference for the CDF’s formulation of strategic poverty alleviation interventions. It is intend that the data acquired will further enable the CDF to pursue its function of community development and increase the capacity of both CDF technical staff and civil society organizations. This lends itself to the ethos of people centred development and capacity building which is central to the CDF’s mandate. The exercise seeks to build the capacity of the Community Development Fund (CDF) to aid in the implementation of their key programmes and support services by the profiling of communities and training of community members and CDF staff in hopes of building a sustainable model that will strengthen the capacity of community members and CDF.