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Jun 4, 2019

Ministry of Human Development Redefining Poverty

As we’ve reported before, the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation is trying to establish a comprehensive social protection system for the country. So today, another round of discussions was held at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. Stakeholders believe that in order for that framework to be achieved, we must first be able to define poverty. As it currently stands, the level of poverty in the country is said to be over forty percent and defined by an adult spending less than three thousand four hundred dollars annually. But during the next two years, a survey will be done to redefine poverty based on several indicators including access to health, education and food. Social Planner Mark Antrobus explains.


Mark Antrobus

Mark Antrobus, Social Planner, Ministry of Human Development

“Now we are talking about a new concept of poverty. So we have done three country poverty assessments over the last thirty years. We’ve always measured poor and vulnerable people in terms of how much money they spend in a year. And so the current poverty line is three thousand four hundred dollars per adult male per year. But now we are trying to say that it is not just about money. Sometimes you have money, but if you can’t access health or education; if you live in an area that is vulnerable to crime, then you suffer equally in terms of vulnerability. So we are trying to work out what this new definition will be, engage the public over eighteen, two years worth of consultations and come together in 2021 for the next country poverty assessment. It’s going to be a complicated process because a lot of people will say I don’t have time to spend with my children, I don’t have time to spend at home with the family. It is very difficult to measure that. So it has to be in a balance of what is important to people and what we can measure and what data we have.”

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