UNICEF and JCPD sign agreement to modernise social protection system
Two organisations extend partnership to improve quality of life for persons with disabilities
KINGSTON, MAY 26, 2023 – UNICEF and the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding signalling their partnership and commitment to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities and modernize the social protection system.
According to the 2011 Census, there are approximately 580,000 persons with disabilities in Jamaica, however only 15,540 are registered, of which just about 5,000 are children.
“There is an urgent need for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that no one is left behind,” said UNICEF Jamaica Representative, Olga Isaza at the signing ceremony on Wednesday May 24 at the AC Hotel in Kingston. “UNICEF is concerned that of the number of persons living with disabilities, 25 per cent are poor and 53 per cent live in rural areas,” she added.
The MoU forms part of a broader initiative to ensure a child-sensitive, shock responsive social protection system for Jamaica. It also covers technical support to strengthen the quality of services for persons with disabilities, especially children with disabilities.
Additionally, the project is ensuring that information systems used by the Social Protection system are integrated to support increased coverage and coordination and importantly, working to close gender gaps on the policy and legislative frameworks.
Ms Isaza pointed out that these are critical areas which require sustained attention to protect and build on the gains made within the past decade. “We must continue to work to advance the fundamental rights and promote the full potential of children in accordance with the SDGs and Jamaica’s 2030 development plan,” she said.
On behalf of the Government of Jamaica, the Chairman of the JCPD Board, Colin Ebanks welcomed the partnership agreement with UNICEF and shared that this partnership “is a big deal on behalf of persons with disabilities.” He said the organization was anticipating training in advocacy and other capacity building opportunities for the Board of Directors and technical staff of the Council, as well as the transformative management information system that will see improved service delivery to persons with disabilities.
Under the agreement, over the next 18 months, UNICEF will accelerate its work with the Council to support the needs of the most disadvantaged children through a project oversight committee, comprising the government, partner UN Agencies such as UN Women and the World Food Programme.
“We are enhancing payment processes making them more efficient, effective, and accessible as well as strengthening institutional capacity for evidence-based emergency expansion of social protection programmes for the most vulnerable,” UN Resident Coordinator, Vincent Sweeney noted.
This project is being funded by a Joint Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Fund Programme and the Canadian Government. The European Union is a donor agency to the Joint SDG Fund.
Speaking on behalf of the EU Ambassador, Marianne Van Steen, Vanna Lawrence said, “The European Union uses this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to raising awareness on the living conditions of persons with disabilities, highlighting the challenges they encounter in everyday life as we assist with providing the tools and resources needed to improve their lives.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Jamaica, visit www.unicef.org/jamaica.