Launch of Social Protection Awareness Campaign

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Dean Jonas

The Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy has launched a Public Relations campaign to highlight significant changes to the Government’s Social Protection system under the new Social Protection Act of 2020.

 

The purpose of this campaign is to sensitize the public and persons in need of these updated programmes.   This campaign is meant to highlight the critical elements of the Act and more broadly illustrate the importance of social protection, such as public assistance, social security, insurance and economic empowerment, to everyone’s daily lives.

 

A series of information-sharing and public education activities aimed at building awareness of social protection and related policy frameworks, and what it means for the greater wellbeing for individuals, households and the wider society will begin today. These include various activities on radio, TV, social media and in newspapers, along with community-based activities to target low-income persons.

 

Minister responsible for the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy, the Hon. Dean Jonas cites this as a major achievement, “Changes in the act were made to protect the vulnerable and indigent. It is very critical that our society understands and appreciates the protection needed.”

 

Since 1961, Social Protection policies and programmes in Antigua and Barbuda have been governed by the Poor Relief Act (under the Bboard of Guardians). The Poor Relief Act focused primarily on individuals, with minimal investment in contributory schemes, and providing limited Social Assistance such as doling out cash to the most impoverished persons to meet their basic needs. However, vulnerability is much more than the lack of money. Social protection addresses multidimensional needs, protects the vulnerable and empowers everyone to achieve their full potential.

 

Over the past 60 years, Social Protection policies and programmes have drastically changed. For this reason, the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, with technical assistance from UNICEF, has replaced the Poor Relief Act 1961 with the Social Protection Act in September of 2020. The new act represents what Social Protection policies and programmes should be, a inclusive approach where everyone is covered and where everyone thrives.

 

Another new component of the act is the creation of a Social Protection Board and a Social Protection Commission to provide essential oversight and promote transparency. Their primary function is to coordinate the functioning of the multi-sectoral social protection systems, covering non-contributory and contributory programmes, labour market planning and poverty alleviation, and planning for the eventuality expansion of the Social Protection Programme.

 

Under the new act, the following programmes are currently being offered with more still to come.

  • Food assistance and Voucher programmes
  • Help for the homeless
  • Home help for the elderly
  • Funeral Grants
  • Fire Victims Grant
  • Paratransit Services
  • Support for children, disabled and indigent

 

With funding from UNICEF and major support from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the skillful team at the Ministry has been working very hard. “I want to go on record thanking them for their support and commitment to ensure the needs and wants of the vulnerable in Antigua and Barbuda are met,” Minister Jonas concluded.

 

For more information on the eligibility criteria, contact the Social Protection Board at 268-562-7515/562-7516 or email: [email protected] Visit the Social Protection Board headquarters on Cross Street to pick up an application form.

 

#SocialProtection #OurResponsibility

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Jonas – please take a food handlers course & practice C-19 protocols.
    No hair covering
    No mask
    No gloves
    Fails to meet our national standards.
    Thank you for wearing an apron over your buttoned up shirt.

  2. Why police don’t arrest him. Jonas in public, no mask and not even 6′ distance.

    Another case of rules for us and a different set for govt members.

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