The Caribbean Development Bank and the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) which it administers, are collaborating with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission to train public sector officers in a new multi-dimensional approach to tackling poverty.

Part of the training, the Macro-Social and Economic Assessment / Institutional Analysis (MSEA/IA) Train-the-Trainers Workshop, held from July 9 to 11, 2018 at the Accra Beach Resort in Barbados, targeted participants from eight of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).

During the Workshop, participants learned how to prepare reports on key social and environmental indicators impacting their economies; evaluate the quality of services provided by national institutions; and examine how these institutions address issues of equity, inclusivity, accountability and transparency.

The MSEA/IA Train-the-Trainers Workshop was one of four conducted from June to July 2018 in order to build capacity in using the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment (ECPA) Toolkit. The enhanced toolkit now incorporates climate change and disaster risk management considerations in its design.

“In the early years, when the Country Poverty Assessment was launched, we simply attempted to measure poverty through nationwide Surveys of Living Conditions.  Subsequently, we recognised the importance of ensuring that people living in poverty would have some presence in the analysis of their own situation in poverty and vulnerability,” said Dr. Ralph Henry, principal workshop facilitator with Kairi Consultants Limited, the firm that led the recent Workshop.

The MSEA/IA Workshop, held at the Accra Beach Resort in Barbados, included participants from eight Caribbean countries.

Recognising that poverty impacts women, men and children differently, the Toolkit has also been enhanced to encompass assessments of the social and gender impacts of natural hazards and to strengthen the approach to data collection and analysis.

“The data gathered using robust tools like the ECPA will provide the basis for better designed, better targeted, and therefore, more effective policies and programmes. This is especially important given the thin capacities on the ground in Small Island Developing States relative to the scale and complexity of challenges in the Region,”said Mr. Matthew Straub, Chair, Community Disaster Risk Reduction Trust Fund Steering Committee and First Secretary (Development) and Alternate Canadian Director to the Caribbean Development Bank, addressing participants of the MSEA/IA Train-the-Trainers Workshop.

CDB has implemented 17 CPA Programmes since 1995 and provided assistance to 12 BMCs.  Through the ECPA, the Bank has broadened its support to include all 19 BMCs and has also established a Project Coordination Unit within the OECS Commission to assist Member Countries in undertaking their respective assessments using the new tools.

The approach to implementing the ECPA has also been adapted to afford countries more ownership in the process. “The ECPA Toolkit will now serve as the blueprint for countries to use in conducting their own national poverty assessments, relying more on in-country skills and, to a lesser extent, on external skills,”said Dr. Geraldine St. Croix, Project Coordinator of the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment in the OECS Commission.

(L-R) Matthew Straub, Chair, CDRRF Trust Fund Steering Committee and First Secretary (Development) and Alternate Canadian Director to CDB; Elbert Ellis, Operations Officer and Social Analyst, CDB; Dr. Geraldine St. Croix, Project Coordinator, Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment in the OECS Commission; Claudia James, Project Manager, CDRRF; Dr. Ralph Henry, Principal Workshop Facilitator, Kairi Consultants Limited.

It is expected that Workshop participants will transfer the knowledge and skills acquired to their respective national assessment teams who, in turn, will play integral roles in implementing the four components of the ECPA Toolkit.

“The time is upon us to mainstream approaches to reduce these vulnerabilities and strengthen the resilience of populations to ‘bounce back’ as quickly as possible after impact,” said Mr. Elbert Ellis, Operations Officer, Social Analyst, CDB.

The MSEA/IA and larger ECPA Toolkit are financed through CDB’s CDRRF, which is a multi-donor trust fund supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.