Island-wide social survey to help government assist the poor and vulnerable

The survey began in St. Paul’s and Newton Ground today, and it is being conducted through the Ministry’s National Household Registry, located on Victoria Road, Basseterre.

According to Administrative Assistant Tamara Amory, enumerators will be speaking to the head of households, taking basic information such as age, date of birth, social security numbers, information on disabilities, and collecting more detailed data related to such matters as relationships, education level, household assets, utilities, economic activity and income.

Amory said the data collection interview could take about 10 to 15 minutes, but that each interview is determined by its own circumstances.

“We are targeting the poor and the vulnerable. We don’t want to discriminate against anyone, even if the house appears to be very good. A person might have a disability in that house. So enumerators will cover all the parishes. However, household member have the right to say, ‘hey, I’m not interested’. They are not obligated to give the information,” Amory explained, as she pointed out that the information is treated confidentially, and would be used to provide appropriate levels of social assistance.

She indicated that Ayala Consulting out of Ecuador designed the database and would monitor the systems as enumerators enter the collected data. A technician based at the office will ensure that enumerators enter the data in the correct manner.

Residents in communities should find it easy to identify the enumerators, as they will carry ID, and will be dressed with a vest that carries the logo of the National Household Registry. Enumerators will be using iPads to enter responses.

Amory encourages household heads to participate fully in the survey.

The survey uses the proxy means test for the Federation, created by using the 2007-2008 Poverty Assessment.

The classification consists of four categories of indigent, poor, vulnerable or non-vulnerable. Director of Community Affairs Azilla Clarke explains that a proxy means test is a calculation of characteristics of households in a particular country.

It takes into account whether the household is headed by a male or female, the number of children, the standard of education and “you put a weight to those and depending on your calculated score you can then know whether you or your household is poor, vulnerable, indigent or not poor at all.” 

The survey is a component of the Social Protection Strategy.  The protection program incorporates several safety nets that assist the poor and vulnerable. They include social welfare programs provided by Social Services along with those provided by the Social Security Board, the Labour Department’s employment schemes along with programs such as Youth Experiencing Success (YES), the People Employment Program (PEP) and the Short-Term Experience Program, states information from the Government’s information service.


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