Press Release
Credits Photo by Steve Adams on Unsplash
Published on August 9, 2023

Strengthening Capacity in Shock Responsive Social Protection

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have partnered to strengthen the capacity of 52 social protection and disaster management practitioners in the area of Shock Responsive Social Protection. The four-day training sessions were delivered in Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Threatened by economic hazards and extreme weather events, Caribbean countries are considered highly prone to large shocks. Shock Responsive Social Protection focuses on shocks that affect a large portion of the population simultaneously. Social protection systems are considered shock responsive when 1) they can ensure continuity after the impacts of a shock 2) they absorb additional demand for benefits and services and 3) they mitigate the negative impacts faced by people, particularly vulnerable populations (2020). Improving the capacity of Caribbean institutions and systems to prepare for and respond to shocks is therefore critical.

Speaking on the objectives of the training, Sarah Lionel, Programme Policy Officer with WFP and lead facilitator stated "The training seeks to equip participants with increased knowledge in the areas of social protection and disaster management and the linkages between the two. The intention is to position institutions to prepare for and respond to shocks so that they can better render assistance to the most vulnerable when crises occur.”

Participants were exposed to interactive lectures; individual and group problem-solving activities and were encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences based on their national context. Additionally, to ensure the operationalization of learnings at the country level, participants benefitted from a one-day, action planning session, where they were tasked with drafting a roadmap towards a more responsive social protection system in their country.

Workshop photo

Dr. Bonnie Richardson-Lake, Permanent Secretary, Social Development and Education in Anguilla, spoke highly of the training, particularly the action planning component. She said “The training has been very engaging and useful, particularly the action planning component. We understand what our needs are but the challenge often arises when we look at how we move forward. The action planning component was an important piece of the puzzle.”

Reflecting on her experience during the training Ms. Azilla Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis stated "One of the themes that came out of COVID is that it takes an all-of-country approach … When national disasters strike it shows you that there is a need for collaboration and cooperation. Having various stakeholder agencies such as NEMA, Social Protection and Community Based Responders present

during the training allowed first, for learning and then being able to plan for the inevitable. Climate change continues to have a pervasive impact on the region. So, it’s imperative for us to be able to continue to provide opportunities for sharing and also planning what that response could look like in the eventuality.”

The training sessions were delivered under the Resilient Caribbean Joint Programme, a wider initiative funded by the Joint SDG Fund to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Caribbean, especially those related to social protection (SDG 1.3), education (SDG 4) and decent work and training (SDG 8). The US$2.1 million initiative, spanning 2.5 years, leverages the expertise of four participating UN organizations: ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and WFP. These agencies collaborate, under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The Joint Programme addresses challenges faced by Caribbean Small Island Developing States including limited contributory social protection coverage; limited access to social protection for workers in the informal sector, particularly youth; and a need for coherent and gender-responsive labour market programming through youth empowerment and training.

Source: Shock Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean Synthesis Report by Rodolfo Beazley, Francesca Ciardi, and Sarah Bailey, 2020.

Media Contact: Tara Morris. Communications Consultant, Resilient Caribbean Joint Programme. Email: taralgaskin [at]


The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.