The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is strengthening its marketing campaign for the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), to ensure that the country’s most vulnerable are informed of the initiative and can benefit from it.
This was disclosed by Director of Social Security in the Ministry, Denzil Thorpe, during an editor’s forum on the PATH initiative at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, yesterday (June 14).
The forum focused on the Beneficiary Identification Systems (BIS) and Findings of the 2012 Targeting Assessment of the PATH, which was undertaken by Consultant, Professor Godfrey Gibbison.
“As far as the social marketing of PATH is concerned, that is very active and very vibrant. There are several campaigns that we have had…but we go into the schools and into the communities. We go everywhere that we can and target people at every level to give them information about the programme,” he said.
He noted that the Ministry also utilises all forms of media “to get the message out” to prospective beneficiaries. These include electronic, print and radio.
Mr. Thorpe said based on the findings, some 81.4 per cent of those who need assistance are receiving it; and the Ministry will be intensifying its efforts to capture the additional percentage.
“Now we are able to identify that there are some persons out there that we need to reach, what we now have to do is look at the message that we are using to get them. We have identified that there are persons who still have not gotten the message so we need to find other ways to get to them,” he said.
Mr. Thorpe noted that while the house-to-house assessment is a “difficult” task, the Ministry may have to revisit this strategy to ensure that those in need receive assistance.
He added that the Ministry will also be collaborating with other Government agencies in its effort to reach its intended target.
PATH is aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the poorest and most vulnerable persons in the society. More than 390,000 persons in over 130,000 Jamaican families are now registered under the programme, which has significantly improved the quality of life for its clients. It is rated by the World Bank as one of the best social assistance programmes.
Children on PATH are among the top achievers in the Grade Six Achievement Test and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON