Improving the livelihoods of persons with disabilities

A lack of reliable data of persons with disabilities in the Caribbean creates a big challenge for policymakers, legislators, public officials and activists working to improve their livelihoods.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is therefore addressing this challenge by providing funding to conduct disability assessments in four Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) – Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Under the technical assistance project, beneficiary BMCs will convene national workshops designed to train participants in the conduct of disability assessments. The project will also see the BMCs disseminating the findings; obtaining feedback; and identifying strategies for more effectively addressing disability in the Region.

Division Chief of CDB’s Social Sector Division, Deidre Clarendon, emphasised the importance of data gathering for making better decisions, and designing appropriate policies and programmes for persons with disabilities.

She said that if this region is to achieve the “no one left behind” goal of the Sustainable Development Goals, the participation in and access to benefits by persons with disabilities must be central to CDB’s work.

“Persons with disabilities must be included in our societies and empowered to utilise their skills in such a way that they can enjoy full, productive lives. This objective calls for access to better and more reliable information that can inform the design and implementation of evidence-based programmes for people with disabilities,” said Clarendon.

The first of these disability assessments was launched by the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment of Saint Lucia in June 2019. The Ministry, in partnership with the Central Statistics Office, is currently conducting a household disability survey.

The first phase of the Disability Assessment project, which started in July, is being implemented over a 24-month period. The findings of the assessments will allow CDB to develop more targeted, and better-informed projects, knowledge products, and services to support disability mainstreaming in the Region. It will also identify opportunities for development co-operation between CDB, its BMCs and other development partners.

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