St Lucia: Ministry of Equity hosts Social Protection Workshop
St Lucia: Ministry of Equity hosts Social Protection Workshop

St Lucia: Twenty-one media and communications professionals were issued a strong call to action to become partners for social change during a two-day Social Protection for the Media workshop. The workshop was held at the Harbour Club and was hosted by the Joint Programme in Universal Adaptive Social Protection in the Eastern Caribbean jointly with the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment.

Addressing the media during the event, Irene Gaspard, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, noted, “Advocacy and communication are essential drivers for transformation in social protection. With certainty, there is a need for greater public awareness, and you, our Media professionals, are considered to be strategic allies in that regard. You can change and particularly shape the Social Protection conversation of today. We are certain that you recognize yourselves as being in a powerful position to effectively monitor commitments made by policymakers and increase transparency and accountability in delivering our social protection mandate.”

The workshop sought to better build media professionals’ capacity in St Lucia, enabling them to understand, report on and lead public dialogue on social protection issues and developments. During the workshop, participants were exposed to interactive presentations defining social protection, debunking prevailing myths and exploring social protection in an eastern Caribbean context. These sessions were facilitated by Celine Felix, Social Policy Manager with the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean office and Ariel Pino, Social Protection and OSH Specialist with the ILO Caribbean. Participants were also given a special session on leveraging storytelling to create compelling stories about the people who benefit from social protection. This session drew on the expertise of a former journalist and Communication and Advocacy Officer at the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Faine Richards.

Chrisy Bakie, a news reporter, noted that the training was well-received. “I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn how to properly report on social protection topics. As someone new to the media, this training was needed and will definitely help to improve my reporting on these sensitive issues. I look forward to having more sessions to learn about social protection. It was super informative and fun!”

The media workshop is one of several initiatives implemented by the Joint Programme in St Lucia. According to Lilia Ramjeawan, Joint Programme Coordinator, “The Joint Programme has contributed to strengthening Saint Lucia’s social protection system at the national and community levels. Our partnership with the Ministry of Equity has ensured that vulnerable populations have increased access to social protection programmes that are gender-sensitive and risk-informed. Additionally, the government is better positioned to assess the needs of the population and to use social protection to minimize the impact of future shocks on vulnerable populations.”

The Joint Programme is funded by the Joint SDG Fund and benefits from the expertise of five participating UN organizations: ILO, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP. These agencies collaborate, under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean), supporting government-led efforts to reduce poverty and inequality and strengthen people’s resilience through predictable access to adaptative social protection in Barbados, Saint Lucia, and the wider OECS.