The Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs was created in January 2001 – over twenty (20) years ago. The past twenty-two (22) years have focused on the establishment and expansion of the Units and Departments as they worked towards meeting their mandates. As the Ministry prepares to enter into its twenty-second year of existence, our focus will be a mixture of foundational and aspirational activities.
In the area of foundational activities, the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs will be undertaking the creation and approval of the Ministry’s first five-year Strategic Plan. Building on the extensive history of policy development, legislative mandates, regional and international commitments and taking into consideration our local population profile, needs and expectations, this strategic plan will aim to identify the top action items and priorities needed to actively move the Federation towards the attainment of the related 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Secondly, owing to the extensive technical assistance provided by our local, regional and international partners, much learning has been undertaken regarding the roles and functions of the various Departments and Units. Additionally, policies have been created for almost all of the substantive areas of the Ministry coupled with supportive legislation. The time has now come for operational guidelines and standards to be created that reflect the on the ground implementation and operationalization of the policies and legislations. These documents will ensure that each new member of staff practice the same standard as their peers and the general public is assured of the expectations of the officers and Departments with which they interact.
Our first aspirational activity will focus on our need to communicate effectively with our internal and external customers. While our name has changed throughout the years, we have remained steadfast in our mandate to protect and serve the vulnerable populations of our Federation. To do this, we need to ensure that all persons have access to information on the services we provide and the avenues to make contact with us. To this end, the Ministry will increase its presence on all media platforms along with the production of informational content that is age and ability appropriate.
Secondly, the Ministry would be desirous of developing management information systems that would allow for a client’s history to seamlessly be transferred across the Departments that are providing services. Access to historical and present-day information about a client would improve the Ministry’s ability to move from being reactionary to being proactive in our approach. We are cognizant of the data protection, security and confidentiality considerations that go hand in hand with the development of management information systems. These would be the cornerstones of any system or variety of systems to be constructed.
Finally, as data is key to developing evidence-based policies, procedures, services and programmes, our intention is to move from data gathering to analytics and annual reporting. Knowledge is power and this power should not be concentrated with the service providers but shared with the consumers and the wider general public. The Ministry will aim to produce its first Annual Review document that would be a summary of the services delivered for the previous year. This information can be used for research and development by our aspiring young professionals as well as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Ministry in meeting its mandate. Over two decades of existence is indeed a milestone. As the world continues to change so shall the Ministry, while being respectful of our history and heritage.
On behalf of the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs, it is my duty to submit for tabling in Parliament the Annual Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) complete with the objectives and expected outcomes for 2023 for the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs.
The information presented is as a result of consultations with the Ministry’s management team, staff and partners. As such, it can serve as a working guide for the operations and as a critical instrument tool for the assessment of the Ministry’s performance in 2023.
The Ministry therefore stands committed to implementing the initiatives and programmes using all resources available to us as we strive towards child protection, poverty alleviation, gender equality and the creation of communities where vulnerable persons including children, women, older persons and persons living with disabilities can say with pride that the Federation is the best place to grow up and grow old.
Azilla Clarke (Ms.)
Permanent Secretary (Ag)