BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is addressing the challenge of persons with disabilities (PWD) in the Caribbean by providing funding to conduct disability assessments in four borrowing member countries (BMCs) – Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
How much do we know about the lives of persons with disabilities in the Caribbean? Not nearly as much as we need to know. A lack of reliable data creates a big challenge for policymakers, legislators, public officials and activists working to improve the livelihoods of PWD.
Under the technical assistance project, beneficiary BMCs will convene national workshops designed to train participants in the conduct of disability assessments. The project will also see the BMCs disseminating the findings; obtaining feedback, and identifying strategies for more effectively addressing disability in the region.
The first of these disability assessments was launched by the ministry of equity, social justice, local government and empowerment of Saint Lucia in June 2019. The ministry, in partnership with the central statistics office, is currently conducting a household disability survey.
The first phase of the disability assessment project, which started in July, is being implemented over 24 months. The findings of the assessments will allow CDB to develop more targeted, and better-informed projects, knowledge products, and services to support disability mainstreaming in the region. It will also identify opportunities for development cooperation between CDB, its BMCs, and other development partners.
Deidre Clarendon, division chief of CDB’s social sector division, stressed the importance of data gathering for making better decisions and designing appropriate policies and programmes for persons with disabilities.
“If our region is to achieve the ‘no one left behind’ goal of the sustainable development goals, the participation in and access to benefits by persons with disabilities must be central to CDB’s work. Persons with disabilities must be included in our societies and empowered to utilise their skills in such a way that they can enjoy full, productive lives. This objective calls for access to better and more reliable information that can inform the design and implementation of evidence-based programmes for people with disabilities,” said Clarendon.