Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steven Blackett has reaffirmed his commitment to tackling extreme poverty and unemployment in Barbados.
He was speaking at the household orientation for the Identification, Stabilization, Enablement and Empowerment (ISSE) Bridge Programme.
The US$10 million programme, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and falls under the Strengthening Human and Social Development project, seeks to break the intergenerational poverty cycle in some of the island’s marginalized families as well as empower and change the lives of families and communities.
“This project is essentially about people working together for social change, which will improve the quality of their lives, the communities in which they live and the society of which we are all a part,” said Minister Blackett as he welcomed the newest cohort to the ISSE Bridge Programme.
He revealed that, to date, 103 households – comprised of more than 790 people – had signed on to the ISSE Bridge Programme.
“Our aim is to develop a more empowered participant with a greater chance of succeeding in this society,” Blackett said.
“The Government has always sought to build a socially balanced society. We fully understand the challenges which families face in their daily living and this has highlighted the importance of getting it to the right people, wherever they are, and meeting their needs in a timely and effective manner,” he emphasized.
The ISSE Bridge Programme focuses on education and human resources development, family dynamics and health promotion.
It imparts households with educational opportunities as well as access to healthcare and technical skills.
“We expect that you will use this time to take advantage of the technical and life skills training programmes offered through this project to make yourself better equipped for the job market or to start your own business,” Blackett told those benefitting from the programme.
Also speaking at the ceremony, chief of operations at the Inter-American Development Bank, Javier Urra, disclosed that upon the completion of the programme, 2,000 individuals are expected to have benefitted from the social safety net services, and at least 250 individuals would have benefited from the adult literacy and numeracy training programmes to improve their chances at employability.
Additionally, he said, “Barbados will have an information management system that will facilitate access to social services by eligible persons.”