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Social protection agencies under the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs (MPEA) are now in a better position to respond to those affected by emergencies or disaster.

Approximately 20 participants representing heads of departments under the Ministry’s portfolio, technical staff and stakeholder organisations are currently participating in a two-day workshop at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

It is being facilitated by the Ministry and the World Food Programme under the theme: Building on Lessons from COVID-19 and Hurricane Elsa; Responses to Help Strengthen Future Social Protection Responses.

Ahead of the start of the workshop this morning, Acting Minister in MPEA, Corey Lane, received 20 tablets donated by the World Food Programme (WFP) Caribbean Multi Country Office to the Ministry.

The workshop is designed to strengthen the Ministry’s emergency preparedness efforts through the exchange of lessons learnt from the social protection response to COVID-19, Hurricane Elsa and the La Soufriere volcano eruption in Barbados and the region.

The workshop is structured around different thematic blocks deemed relevant for strengthening social protection to support emergency preparedness and response. These include assessments for social protection responses; digital data for preparedness and response; and delivering assistance to affected populations.

Interactive exercises and discussions will be complemented by presentations to share experiences from other countries in the region. The workshop forms part of WFP’s broader engagement and partnership with the Ministry.

Earlier this year, WFP assisted MPEA in implementing a cash transfer programme which provided assistance to approximately 600 individuals, or 115 households, affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

WFP also provided technical assistance to the MPEA to support the development of a digital assessment form for identifying temporary accommodations for persons affected by Hurricane Elsa, and the relevant training for its use. It is anticipated that the workshop would assist in identifying future areas of collaboration between the two agencies.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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