The National, Thursday February 27th, 2014
PROJECTS to support some Pacific Island countries to address economic downturns and other related issues are said to be successful.
Pilot projects supporting vulnerable populations in Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and Tonga are helping reduce impact of economic downturns and counteracting declining effectiveness of informal safety nets, according to experiences shared at a workshop organised by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The three-day regional workshop, which began yesterday, focuses on semi-formal safety net pilot programmes implemented under social protection of vulnerable in Pacific project, funded by a US$3 million (K7 million) grant from Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFRP) through ADB.
“These innovative pilot programmes are strengthening partnerships between governments and community groups and are producing good results in safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable populations.
“They are also enhancing government capacity for social protection,” Sunhwa Lee, ADB principal social development specialist, said.
“This regional workshop is a great opportunity to showcase the governments’ leadership in pilot programs and policy dialogues on social protection.”
In Marshall Islands, cash-for-work opportunities for unemployed, youth and low-income groups are focused on coconut tree replanting since nearly two-thirds of coconut trees are non-productive and need to be replaced.
As coconut trees are an important source of food and income generation for Marshall Islanders, this pilot is contributing to both food and income security.
In Tonga and Cook Islands, existing community networks and NGOs are being strengthened to provide social assistance, such as home care and nursing services, health promotion visits, and early childhood intervention services, to the elderly and people with disabilities governments’ monitoring is also playing a key role for the assistance.