Poverty reduction cash transfer programme targets 9,000 families

Georgetown GINA, July 18, 2016

About 9,000 families living under difficult circumstances throughout Guyana will be supported through the Ministry of Social Protection’s Conditional Cash Transfer programme which is set to be rolled out soon.

This new programme will see the Ministry conducting a needs and risk assessment of the families to determine what form of assistance is best needed to decrease the dependence on Public Assistance, and ultimately reduce poverty.

Forbes Monroe, the Ministry’s Chief Probation and Social Services Officer explained that the Ministry recognises that families have been receiving the monthly public assistance, but they (the Ministry) found it inadequate to bring about the desired outcomes, hence, the Conditional Cash Transfer programme was conceptualised.

“What has been happening in the past is that we have been placing persons on public assistance, if somebody is in need, a single mother with five children, she will find it difficult in order to provide for those children and while they have the safety net system, which is the public assistance system, we have recognised that we have been giving monies to those persons, but we have not been getting the desired outcomes and so we are now looking at conditional cash transfer,” Monroe told the Government Information Agency (GINA).

The Chief Probation and Social Services Officer further explained that a  careful needs assessment is necessary, and if families continue to receive monies on a monthly basis, then the Government is not really helping that family, and therefore a careful needs assessment has to be conducted.

“What needs to happen is that we must have a careful needs assessment of the family so that we can understand what the family really needs, so it might not just be money, it might be skills that’s lacking, it could be that family may be having other difficulties and if we do not do a proper needs assessment we might not fully understand. We also need to understand that risk that family is likely to suffer or faced with, in terms of if the person is not helped financially, what might be the outcome,” Monroe pointed out.

Once that process is completed, Monroe said, the Ministry will put a better system in place to ensure that the families are supported in the specific areas, whether it is skills training or access to loans or funds to create income generating projects.

“We will target those areas that we can better plan with the family to overcome the challenges they are facing. This will reduce dependency on the public assistance, and ultimately reduce poverty,” Monroe stated.

The Conditional Cash Transfer programme is in the developmental stage and the Ministry will be conducting capacity building sessions, and recruiting additional staff for the Probation Department to ensure that the programme is executed effectively.