April 23, 2010
A new management system for the rural growth of our nation

The Ministry of Rural Transformation will benefit from nine months of technical assistance to be provided by the Consultancy Firm of Landell Mills Ltd. The main aim of this technical assistance is to develop a system to monitor, audit and evaluate the implementation of the strategic Plan for Rural Development.{{more}}

In this regard, a workshop captioned “Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation” was formally opened on Monday, April 19, and continues until today, Friday, April 23, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade conference room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, another aim of the workshop is to build the public service capacity to deliver Vision 2025. What is Vision 2025? Vision 2025 equals a better quality of life for all citizens. According to the Ministry of Rural Transformation Handbook, a better quality of life for all citizens includes “high levels of human and social development, economic and political stability, technological advancement, improved physical infrastructure and environment sustainability, deep sense of national pride, peaceful, safe and secure nation”.

Dr. Andrew Jacque, Team Leader and Project Planning and Implementation Specialist of Landell Mills Ltd, stated that the mission of Landell Mills Ltd is to “assist our clients to participate actively in the global economy whilst protecting their fragile environments and vulnerable communities in the process.”

According to Dr. Jacque, his team is charged with the following responsibilities: “setting up an institutional framework to coordinate, monitor, evaluate and report on rural development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; designing and implementing a monitoring and evaluation system; developing and piloting a programme for community regeneration with creative thinking to inspire development; and capacity building for continuing the Rural development process after completion of the technical assistance.”

Dr. Jacque said that the key challenge for Landell Mills Ltd when writing up the Tender Submission was “how to address the issue of a cohesive planning and intervention framework that would not just accommodate but rather foster the essentially top-down national planning process with that of the essentially bottom-up planning process of community regeneration and empowerment.” He said that Landell Mills has taken this challenge to heart.

Landell Mills Ltd has entrusted the task of implementing this project to three qualified and experienced Caribbean persons – Alexa Khan, Trinidadian, is the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist on the Project. Christobel Ashton, Vincentian, is a Rural Development Specialist. Ashton is responsible for implementing three (3) pilot projects in community empowerment.

Nathaniel Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transformation, said that the purpose of the results based monitoring and evaluation training is to identify issues affecting rural people relating to the fall out from the Agriculture sector. According to Williams, it is the mandate of the Ministry to create viable rural communities whilst preserving the environment and empowering people.

Williams expressed gratitude to the European Union (EU) for partnering with the Government on this project. He said that the funding amounted to $14 million Euros.

Selmon Walters, Minister of Rural Transformation, said that the Ministry was started in 2005 to enhance rural lives, to empower women and involve local people within the community. He said that rural transformation cuts across all other Ministries. He added that the Ministry of Health is involved in rural transformation, for example, the decentralization of health care services.

Minister Walters said that rural people are mostly disadvantaged and it is the Government’s position that rural people must have equal opportunities as anyone else. He said that in the future residents in rural areas will not have to come to Kingstown to acquire a birth certificate or other important services. According to Minister Walters, the Private sector is becoming involved in rural transformation citing that the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU) has opened an office in Georgetown.