Rapid response to address extreme poverty cases in Mahé’s central 2 region |02 September 2017
As part of its mandate to set out the extent, causes and effects of poverty in Seychelles, the Office of the Secretary of State for Poverty Alleviation in collaboration with the Seychelles Bureau of Statistics has conducted a poverty profile survey at grassroots community level in 30 specific areas in four districts of the Central 2 region of Mahé, namely Plaisance, Les Mamelles, Roche Caïman and Mont Fleuri.
The choice for Central Region 2 was based on the fact that the region has been identified as the area with the highest incidence of poverty, with a poverty head count index of 52%.
The purpose of the poverty profile survey which will cover all regions of Seychelles by 2018, is to explicitly identify who among the population are living in poverty, to what extent and what are the causes and risk factors contributing to their status of being classified as poor.
Information collected will result in the elaboration of aSeychelles National Anti-poverty Strategy.
The second phase of the survey will be done in the east-south districts of Mahé (Cascade, Anse aux Pins, Au Cap, Anse Royale and Takamaka) by the end of this year.
While the results of the Central 2 survey is currently being analysed and will be published by the end of September, the survey administrators have alerted that they have identified incidences of extreme poverty and hardships in some households.
Facts of extreme poverty situations have been established as follows:
- Poverty identified as per general findings:
- Poor housing conditions
- No running water and electricity in some houses
- Adults sleeping in the same bed with children
- Over crowdedness: Some houses need extension
- No proper toilet facilities in some houses
- Dirty environment
- Some people not having two meals per day
- Some people unwilling to work
- Others capable of working full time only work on part-time basis
- Others unable to work due to poor health conditions or drug addiction
- Some family members not contributing to household expenditure
- Evident drug trafficking and addiction
- Evidence of addicts dragging down family
A total of 125 households have been identified to fall in this category in the five districts, with one or more of the above conditions.
Based on this information, the Office of the Secretary of State for Poverty Alleviation in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, feels that urgent action should be taken to confirm the cases and intervene to bring some relief to those being affected. It has consequently decided to intervene immediately to relieve those families of their extreme conditions. This will be done with the collaboration of relevant government agencies, partners and stakeholders.
Partners include Local Government, Family Affairs, Habitat and Infrastructure, Employment, Education, Health, Land Waste Management Agency (LWMA), Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC), Red Cross, Agency for Social Protection, Committee for Awareness Resilience and Education (Care) and National Council for Children (NCC) as well as experts in social work, counselling, psychosocial support and other related fields. These experts will work on a one to one basis with needy families and individuals, as part of a social coaching programme.
It is to be noted that in the case of employment, the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status has already initiated an exercise to offer jobs to unemployed persons, starting in the Corgat Estate area.
Through a rapid response exercise done with the collaboration of the district administration office of the respective districts, the 125 households will be reassessed during the month of September, in order to confirm their dire needs. By mid-September 2017, areas of needed support and assistance will have been identified.
The assessment will be carried out, starting this coming weekend and for a period of two weeks, by a rapid assessment team made up of representatives from the Red Cross Society of Seychelles, the Public Health Authority, the Citizens Engagement Platform of Seychelles and the department of habitat and infrastructure. The assessment will be conducted mainly after working hours, through onsite visits. Following the assessment, recommendations will be made for response by the relevant ministries and agencies.
The rapid response programme aims to alleviate the impact of poverty through immediate short-term intervention that will ensure that families have the basic requirements such as access to electricity, water, food and hygiene permitting a decent standard of living, while medium and long-term interventions/programmes kick in to improve the lives of those being affected.
Following the first phase of this project in the Central 2 region, the Secretariat for Poverty Alleviation will review the evaluation and make further recommendations to the government as to the effectiveness of this strategy. It is important also to take note that the other social support services and programmes should be in a position to provide medium and long-term intervention to rehabilitate the families concerned, particularly in the context of family counselling, resilience and social skills.