Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment personnel are touting the development of a comprehensive Vulnerability Index that will significantly increase the agency’s response time, in identifying and categorizing persons impacted by disasters and other societal exogenous shocks.
Permanent Secretary Velda Octave-Joseph notes that aside from the exhaustive list of regular persons already receiving public assistance, once a shock like last year’s November 6th trough or the COVID-19 pandemic is triggered, additional persons will inevitably be impacted, thus rendering them vulnerable.
The Vulnerability Index she says, will seek to capture those individuals even before they are impacted and would ensure that an appropriate multi-sectorial response is fashioned in rapid time.
“We are looking at a number of parameters that will include their ability to respond to hazards, their resilience factors, and their socio–economic situations. Then via a very scientific way, assign a score to those individual or households that would give an indication of their level of vulnerability.”
Aside from the Vulnerability Index, the Ministry of Equity is also on course for the establishment of an Integrated Social Information System that will be linked to other government agencies and ministries and will facilitate improved efficiency and greater coordination in the delivery of social protection services.
“We are looking to have this comprehensive database of individuals who are considered vulnerable, so that once you have an impact, you already have a start. You have a number of persons in your database so that when they come to you, coupled with the quick assessment that is done post impact, you can immediately provide support to those individuals.”
Recently, officials of the Ministry of Equity and their counterparts from the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP), continued to fine-tune Saint Lucia’s response mechanism in relation to Shock Responsive Social Protection.
SOURCE: Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment. Headline stock image courtesy Bill Wegener (Unsplash.com).