A group of consultants from overseas is pointing to mobilisation challenges in the British Virgin Islands (BVI); this after residents ended up being a virtual no-show at two important community meetings held in different sections of Tortola over the last two evenings.
For example, only two residents showed up for the meeting that was to be held at Althea Scatliffe Primary School in the territory’s capital last evening, May 17.
As a result, the overseas consultants gauging living conditions in the territory were forced to scrap the Road Town meeting.
The meetings were scheduled as part of the ‘test-run’ phase of an upcoming national assessment of living conditions in the BVI and other Caribbean countries.
The actual assessment, which is being done in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Development Bank, is scheduled for completion in 2018.
A team of independent consultants out of Trinidad and Tobago is in the BVI conducting the pilot version of the BVI national assessment.
The consultants told BVI News Online yesterday that a major part of the assessment is getting input from persons about their living conditions.
One of the consultants, Fredericka Deare, said last evening’s two-person turnout was an indication that the BVI government will have to come up with ways to rally residents when the actual assessment kicks off.
“The government of the British Virgin Islands next year will be doing a national assessment of living conditions; so we are here and we’re working with the Ministry of Health and Social Development. We are doing a test run…” Deare told BVI News Online.
“The turnout [last night, May 17] shows us something here. One of the issues here [in the BVI] will be mobilisation of people; so the ministry will have to brainstorm as to how to get people to attend meetings like these. If not, I guess the ministry will have to think outside the box as to how to get people’s voices, because the study is not just a survey. You have to get people talking about their lives and the services that right now they access, and how you can improve these services. They’re gonna have to find a way to get the voices of people to respond,” she added.
The first meeting was held on Tuesday in Purcell Estate. The consultants said the turnout was low, but the meeting was productive.
Meanwhile, the consultants will head to the island of Anegada tomorrow for their final stop. Deare stated that she and her team are hopeful for a better turnout.
“Even though this one (meeting in Road Town) did not come off, we still have an opportunity to test this particular instrument in two communities. So all is not lost. So far, the feedback that we are getting is that Anegada folks are very active. When we go on Friday, I think we would have the kind of turnout that we need to test the tools [for the assessment],” Deare said.
Yohance Nicholas, another of the Trinidad and Tobago-based consultants, explained the purpose of the pilot assessment.
“What we’re specifically doing as part of that project is bringing on board considerations of climate change and disaster waste management. And, as part of the process of updating the methodology [of researching], we have to naturally pilot test it… We’re here basically to do a test run of some sub-components of the methodology to see how they run.”
Some of the sub-components would be in the form of interviews, and focus group discussions.
“We will then be able to triangulate information gathered from the multiple sources. If it turns out that maybe community meetings are not an appropriate mechanism, there are other sources of information that can be used,” added another of the consultants, Heather Stager.
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