Vulnerable individuals and families in rural areas will now be receiving social services at their doorsteps.
On Friday August 30, the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services partnered with several government ministries, agencies and private sector entities, to launch its community social outreach and impact caravan which is aimed at taking social services to the vulnerable in various communities across T&T. The launch took place at the Palo Seco Settlement Community Centre.
The strategy pursued was the whole-of-government approach. In T&T, ministries and other organisations have developed a habit of working in isolation instead of using a co-ordinated approach to get the job done. The ministry recognises that all government agencies request the same information and, therefore, there is an opportunity in which all ministries can share and collaborate for a much better experience to the citizenry.
Additionally, these singular visits do not benefit the organisations that are involved, because of the high cost attached to the logistics for staff, as well as, the requisite products and services to communities.
The whole-of-government approach undertaken by the Ministry is also consistent with National Development Strategy for T&T (Vision 2030), and will see continued collaboration amongst the various arms of the government, sharing information and outreach efforts in a co-ordinated manner, to enable a greater percentile of our vulnerable citizens to receive assistance.
The caravan is in keeping with the national social mitigation plan (NSMP) which is themed: Building Resilience to Secure our Nation. The intention is to provide attendees with information and access to a suite of government services, comprising, but not limited to food support, grants and social services, unemployment relief, basic needs provision—housing and utilities, education and sensitisation on financial management, promotion of training, retraining and micro entrepreneurship opportunities, psycho-social support, counselling and mediation services and resilience-building strategies.
Supporting agencies included the Central Bank of T&T, Housing Development Corporation, National Insurance Board of T&T, Nedco and the Ministries of Housing, Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Public Utilities, Labour and Small Enterprise Development and Office of the Prime Minister —Gender and Child Affairs. Non-governmental organisation, Foundation for the Enhancement & Enrichment of Life were also present and distributed school supplies and hampers to participants.
While the Community Outreach Caravan is not a novel idea, this ministry believes that the collaborative effort of going to communities to conduct business will benefit clients tremendously and result in an enhanced approach to treating with poverty, social injustice and inequality at the ground level.
The ministry hosted its second community social outreach and impact caravan at the Fyzabad Secondary School last Saturday.