The Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) has concluded the pilot phase of it’s “Koudmen Ste Lisi” programme, and has undertaken an evaluation to determine the impact and sustainability of this poverty reduction initiative.
“Koudmen Ste Lisi” is a holistic intervention program designed to give psycho-social support to families living in extreme poverty. Over the last two years, 44 families were enrolled in the programme from communities highlighted by the Country Poverty Assessment as being highly vulnerable and indigent.
Executive Director of the SSDF, Joachim Henry, highlights the scope of the initiative.
“The term Koudmen, although we understand what it means, in the context of Koudmen Ste Lisi it’s slightly different, it’s not where we are coming to do things for people. It is agencies of government coming together, targeting the poorest households on the island and signing contracts with them for a period of time. During that time they receive support of various types which we call pillars.”
The executive director says these pillars of support include housing, educational and employment assistance, family dynamics and psycho-social support.
“The 44 families we had in Koudmen Ste Lisi for the pilot phase are targeted using a very accurate and objective tool. Currently we’re using the proxy means test to identify the families. So far we have had the 44 families; after two years they have graduated out of this programme and the exercise was to review and evaluate where they are as compared to where they were.”
The outreach included regular visitations by specially trained family social workers, support counsellors and community officers building close relationships and becoming a conduit through which support is administered.
Henry says its is interesting to note that even though cash was not used as a pillar in the pilot programme, the psycho-social support provided was a motivational force strong enough to help these families graduate out of extreme poverty or indigence.