After more than a year of battling the socio-economic impacts of the novel Coronavirus , Antigua and Barbuda received a much needed cash injection this week.
Over USD $110,000 was distrubuted to approximately 800 beneficiaries as apart of Output 2 of the Strengthening National Health Capacties and Reducing Negative Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Crisis in Antigua and Barbuda project being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean under the lead of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda
This project, funded by the Indian Government through the Office of South-South Cooperation will adopt a comprehensive approach to effectively meet the needs of the most affected population of Antigua and Barbuda.
With an emphasis on gender equality, all interventions under the recovery programme will consider the greater impact and seek to address the specialized needs of vulnerable groups during crisis.
The Social Protection Board, a Department of the Ministry of Social Transformation, facilitated the distribution of the payments to the beneficiaries to ensure those most in need were reached.
The Social Protection Board was established in 2020 to provide for the prevention, reduction and elimination of economic, discriminatory and social vulnerabilities as it relates to poverty and deprivation in Antigua and Barbuda.
Ms. Mary Baltimore, Chairperson of the Social Protection Board noted, “The Social Protection Board would like to thank the United Nations Development Programme in connection with the Government of India for this generous donation.
As we serve the most vulnerable, we extend gratitude on behalf of our beneficiaries as they are all very thankful for your assistance. We are happy and very grateful for this, and we look forward to your continual support as we continue to serve the most vulnerable within our communities.”
Randolph Gage, a beneficiary of the project expressed his gratitude for the support, stating, “It’s a good thing. People are going through struggles and regardless of the amount, it will go a long way.” Another beneficiary, Neilwattie Ramnaraine added, “I am pretty glad for the help that I am receiving. It is a good gesture, especially for those of us with children.
This timely intervention, simultaneously tackles the health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic at a commensurate speed and scale and in line with the integrated logic of the Sustainable Development Goals. Mellissa Johnson, Head of the UNDP Antigua and Barbuda Office noted “In line with UNDP’s commitment to sustainable growth and leaving no one behind, this project is driven by solidarity, science, and human rights, whilst focusing on the most vulnerable people.”
At this time when exogenous threats like COVID-19 and natural disasters are impacting the region, it is vital that developmental efforts are continued to reinforce the need for regional resilience and building forward better.
Collaborative projects such as this are part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” vision. As the Caribbean continues to seek solutions to support traditionally vulnerable groups, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.
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