Social Care Minister, Steve Blackett speaking at opening??of the IDEAS Global Assembly while Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Irene Sandiford-Garner and Director of the Evaluation Office, UNDP, Dr. Indran Naidoo look on.(A. Gaskin/BGIS)

There is a need for greater emphasis to be placed on the monitoring and evaluation of the policies and programmes which have been designed to ensure fundamental improvement in the lives of vulnerable persons.

This was underscored by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, during his address at the opening of the IDEAS Global Assembly, at Hilton Barbados today.

The four-day assembly, which is being held under the theme Evaluation and Inequality: Moving Beyond the Discussion of Poverty, will address inequality in the developing world, as well as poverty and its origins.

Alluding to reports which indicated that initiatives which have a monitoring and evaluation process were more likely to stay on track, Minister Blackett stressed that "any problems being experienced with a project or programme, if detected early would in turn reduce the likelihood of having major cost overruns or time delays later".

He pointed out that for any monitoring or evaluation of a programme or project to be effective, there needed to be, among other things; "The identification of clear, unambiguous organisational objectives; [and] the removal of an overriding imperative to have the programme up and running, with its actual relevance and utility being almost a secondary consideration."

In addition, the Social Care Minister mentioned some of the challenges that were associated with monitoring and evaluation in the social development sector.

"Some persons in the social sector are often guilty of operating on gut feeling and an almost condescending and paternalistic attitude based on the idea that we know what’s best for others. This in turn makes measuring success very difficult… I am aware that it is difficult to construct indicators for those intangibles such as self-esteem and improvements on the quality of life, but there are proxies and we need to identify, capture and measure them," Mr. Blackett asserted.


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