BRIDGETOWN: Barbados will strengthen its social safety net for its poorest citizens and improve labour market training opportunities with a US$10 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The program seeks to reduce extreme poverty and high unemployment rates in Barbados. It will be structured in three components:
- Reducing extreme poverty through the expansion and consolidation of the Identification, Stabilization, Enablement, and Empowerment (ISEE) Bridge Program.
- Reducing unemployment through improved employment services and demand-driven technical training.
- Creating an efficient Management Information System (MIS) that connects programs executed by various Barbados government agencies.
Although Barbados has a Human Resource Development Strategy (2011-2016), further consolidation with its social policies is needed, the IDB said.
“The existing labour market programs have limited coverage and the relevant Barbadian government units lack the necessary tools to adequately target beneficiaries, monitor programs’ implementation, and improve inter-agency coordination and with Barbados’ private sector,” it added in a statement.
The initiative will cover 250 additional households or approximately 2,000 individuals during a four-year period, focusing on the following pillars: personal identification, education and human resources development, family dynamics and health promotion.
The activities that will be executed under this component include the financing of daycare services, school meals, school textbooks and uniforms, remedial learning courses, and selected health promotion services.
In addition, it will aid 8,000 Barbadians seeking jobs by providing access to improved job counseling services, better local labour market information, and offering demand-driven technical training courses for unemployed youths.
The program will fund a Management Information System that will strengthen the government’s coordination, monitoring and accountability capacities related to national labour market trends.