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Nov 6, 2012

World Bank note shows some pro-poor initiatives work and some don’t

Government has spent five point two million dollars on a BOOST program as part of its pro-poor policies. Another two point five million was spent on a food pantry program in the Belize and Cayo Districts. But is there value for the millions spent? That is what a team from the World Bank has been assessing. Among the key findings is that funds is going into the wrong hands.  News Five Jose Sanchez has the results from the World Bank and the implementing ministry, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Since 2009, the World Bank helped design and put together the cash transfer program known as Boost and other programs that it has supported through its technical capacity. Today, its representatives sat with relevant government agencies to plan how to strengthen human development policies.

 

Sara Berger

Sara Berger, Social Protection Specialist, World Bank

“Today the World Bank is here in capacity of non-lending technical assistance. Main component is to support GOB in dialogue between key policy makers and programme directors on the development of a systems based approach to social protection. Moving from individual programs; everyone on the same hymn sheet, stronger focus on individuals and families in Belize is doing very innovative things and one of the interesting thing the World Bank can provide is a more international perspective. Belize is far beyond many of the countries in Latin America in moving the dialogue from programmatic perspective to systematic perspective.”

 

An overview was given of the social protection and its systems by Veronica Silva of the World Bank.

 

Veronica Silva

Veronica Silva, Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank

“You can have very good services for individuals but if you don’t have for families you are losing some opportunities there. Then they are good families that work very hard are in community with a lot of problems so it is not to enough to intervene on families and individuals you need to intervene on the community. So the public policies, programmes and services are building blocks trying to help the environment. It is important to know the role of the public policies, the programmes and the services to help families communities and individuals to develop. You can have delays for example in early childhood development, incomplete schooling, and insufficient income depending on the age. Those that are in red here are the main risk that Belize is facing and it is very important that the programmes and the services that you are providing can help people trying to face and to cope with this  main risk: poor nutrition, immigration and employment. Some specific health problems, chronic poverty and you face natural chokes and crime and violence.”

 

The recent work programs gave an income to gang members but the individuals did not possess the skills. And lack of skills is a vulnerability that needs to be taken into consideration when making policy. Though five point seven percent of GDP is spent on social protection, the World Bank Policy note on Belize says that the system is “inadequate to address the risks these vulnerable groups face due to poor resource allocation, weak targeting, and low program effectiveness.”

 

Veronica Silva

“Some families are not poor but have high vulnerability for example a household or a family with a disabled member with some specific disability could not be poor but it is very important to support them because they have some important vulnerability. So when we are talking about vulnerability we are talking about individuals, household or communities that are adversely affected and less responsive to change in environment so you can be vulnerable in any moment. You need to be prepared to support people when they are facing some vulnerability and the concept is multidimensional so it is not just not having income. In some cases you have income but you don’t’ have enough skills.”

 

Children who have parents without skills are also at a disadvantage. And the note says, “Few resources are spent on small children, for example, despite being the most vulnerable group with the greatest potential to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty.”

 

John Flowers

John Flowers, Social Planner, Ministry of Human Development.

“If we start to address the solutions at point four and five or at point five when it is time to enter the labor force and then we realize we don’t have the skills for labor we don’t have the levels of education, people don’t have the capacities and resiliency to cope then maybe we have missed the point and so we really need to look at how the public policies and the social policies that are in place work together in complimentary fashion.”

 

Reporting for News Five.

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2 Responses for “World Bank note shows some pro-poor initiatives work and some don’t”

  1. Ha Ha Ha says:

    You guys should have heard Alfonso Noble’s response this article this morning. Still think he da one a di dumbest people ina this country. Heckle and Jeckle try justify anything the UDP do. If them start sell $#@!% dem wah seh ih good cause $#!% mek money….lol. Idiots.

  2. Seletar says:

    The reality is that Belize lacks real SYSTEMS. Money is spent, true, but it is too often handed out directly by the officials, usually to the squeakiest wheel, and to party activists and their families & friends, then to friends & family of the official. The most vulnerable and needy almost cannot near the cookie jar and receive no help.

    Politics should stop when a law is passed or policy or program adopted. When it gets down to putting it into effect, government should be non-partisan, fair, and impartial. And that’s just not the case here.

    Even with limited resources, we could do a better job for the poor without politics. Many of our charities and churches, working almost entirely with private money, are more effective.

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