DHWFD Collaborates with UNDP to hold Focus Group Discussions on Poverty in Tobago
“The vulnerable persons in our population deserve some improvements to their quality of life.” This according to Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development during the delivery of her remarks at the first of two days of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) on poverty in Tobago, which were conducted by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Division. The first FGD was held at the Anne Mitchell Auditorium on Monday, 13th August, 2018, involving participants from Tobago West and the second FGD was held at the Roxborough Secondary School on Tuesday, 14th August, 2018, involving participants from Tobago East.
Dr. Carrington explained that Trinidad and Tobago are signatories to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and thus the Tobago House of Assembly remains committed to support any initiative that seeks to achieve any of these goals. She also explained that this initiative by the UNDP benefits the entire country of Trinidad and Tobago. She said “we embrace and support these discussions as they allow us to understand each person’s experience as it pertains to poverty and they give us the opportunity to design the necessary programmes and services to impact our population in a more focused way.”
The Secretary added “the Division has been reshaped to focus on the family so we have strategically placed our social workers in the community to better serve our population.” She explained that the “rich data” generated from these discussions would directly impact their work, particularly our interventions in the communities.
Mr. Madgy Martinez Soliman, Resident Representaive a.i, United Nations Development Programme, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten provided some context for conducting the FGDs. He explained that the United Nations “made a bold commitment to end poverty by 2030,” particularly with placing “No Poverty” as the first Sustainable Development Goal. He added that ending poverty “involves targeting the most vulnerable, increasing access to basic resources and services, and supporting communities affected by conflict and climate-related disasters.”
Mr. Soliman explained that the FGDs will support the UNDP’s project entitled “Toward a National Measurement of Multi-dimensional Poverty”, which is being done in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). He indicated that this project will inform the development of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NPRS) for Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Soliman said “this means that we can identify the poor better, target and bring relief to those left behind, starting with those who are furthest behind.”
Mr. Soliman also expressed the importance of capturing information from the children. He said “from our experience at UNDP, it is widely recognized that children experience poverty differently from adults and are more severely affected as their survival and long-term development are impacted.” Mr. Soliman ended by affirming the commitment of the UNDP to provide support to end poverty in Tobago.
The FGDs were conducted nationally to develop a localized definition of poverty and child poverty for Trinidad and Tobago, with the ultimate aim of developing a poverty measurement methodology for Trinidad and Tobago. Focus group discussions were conducted across fourteen municipalities in Trinidad and two districts in Tobago (Tobago East and West). The data generated from these FGDs will inform the development of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NPRS) for Trinidad and Tobago, which is a holistic plan to eradicate poverty in Trinidad and Tobago and ultimately achieve goal one of the SDGs, which is “No Poverty” by 2030.