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Apr 8, 2022

A Two-Year Program to Reduce Poverty

The Government of Belize in collaboration with U.N. partners today launched a sustainable development goal joint program at the San Ignacio Resort in the Cayo District. The aim is to build a resilient Belize through universal, adaptive and sustainable social protection. News Five’s Duane Moody breaks down what this means and how working together with public and private sector stakeholders, as well as N.G.O.s can realize this goal.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Pre-COVID, fifty-two percent of the country was poor and it is believed to be even higher given the economic impact caused by the pandemic. Today, a two-year program was launched by UNICEF and the Government of Belize – the overarching goal is to reduce the level of poverty in the country.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families & Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs

“It means a concerted effort to really focus on how we can work better together in reducing poverty. We can just imagine if we can really get the statistics where it is now. Now I am not saying that ministries have not been working and that we have not had partnership before, but we still have fragmentation. And so it is important for us, focusing on the sustainable development goals – reducing poverty, reducing inequality, better health, better education, better inclusion – using those sustainable development goals as a guide and working with our important U.N. partners, I think we need to wheel and come again. And that is what I think today’s launch is all about.”


In attendance were partners such as UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the Belize Red Cross, Social Investment Fund, the National Commission for Families and Children among others, to ensure that the work going forward ensures inclusion in the national response.


Birgit Gerstenberg, Resident Coordinator, U.N.C.T.

“The programme is funded by the U.N. Joint S.D.G. Fund and is dedicated to the building resilience and ending vulnerability in Small Island developing states initiative. I wish to outline that because this year we have the benefit of this specific fund dedicated to six countries which was a big opportunity for us to formulate together with the government a project that really touches the heart of the social problems – poverty.”


A survey is underway to determine the current situation and Minister Dolores Balderamos-Garcia says that there is a renewed energy to improve the lives of thousands of Belizean families and children.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

“We have what we call a social protection floor, which means you mustn’t go below those types of protections that are given. If we work smarter and more efficient, we will be able to establish that floor that we must not go beneath and then we increase the coverage because knowing that really in terms of the real indigence of children in the most needy areas, we don’t have the protection that we need. That means we have to do that wheel and come again so that the children who need it the most can get the level of protection.”


The two-year project, valued at approximately one million U.S. dollars, will be implemented by U.N. agencies: the International Labour Organization, the World Food Programme and UNICEF in collaboration with the Government of Belize. Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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