Challenges and Solutions in Reducing the Poverty Rate in St. Kitts and NevisSt. Kitts and Nevis is not one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean. No exact statistics on the exact poverty rate in St. Kitts and Nevis exist, but it is clear that the country both has ongoing struggles and that solutions to many of its problems do exist.

One of the biggest contributing factors to the poverty rate in St. Kitts and Nevis is youth unemployment and underemployment. Some of the costs of this are hard to quantify, such as the feeling of self-esteem one gains from being employed.

Childhood education is free in St. Kitts and Nevis, but the additional costs associated with it can be prohibitive. Teachers in St. Kitts and Nevis have been known to hold antagonistic attitudes towards the poor. In many cases, impoverished parents of children have to work two or three jobs to provide for their families.

Health problems related to unhealthy lifestyles are widespread in St. Kitts and Nevis, such as obesity, hypertension and depression. This, in turn, puts a strain on the country’s healthcare system and economy.

It is not unheard of for citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to procure healthcare and education abroad. In fact, many low-income families in the country are supported by migrants living abroad and sending money home.

Another contributor to the poverty rate in St. Kitts and Nevis is one that threatens all Caribbean nations: natural disasters, particularly hurricanes. The collapse of the sugar industry has led to soil erosion, a result of diverting runoff rainwater to sugar fields through pipes.

Alarmingly, violent crime, which can be both symptomatic of and contribute to poverty, has risen in the very recent past. There were 103 reported homicides in 2006-2010, compared to 42 from 2001-2005, a 160 percent increase.

Despite the obvious challenges that lay ahead, there are several steps being taken to reduce the poverty rate in St. Kitts and Nevis. The country is in the process of reforming the various antiquated departments that would be concerned with a rise in violent crime. Effective mobilization of resources to inform the public about bad health choices could make a huge difference. Currently, the government is investing in more training for medical professionals.

St. Kitts and Nevis face a number of very real challenges in alleviating poverty. But most of these challenges have been identified and none are insurmountable. In the coming years, with proper action, the poverty rate in St. Kitts and Nevis can be reduced.

Andrew Revord

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in St. Kitts and NevisSt. Kitts and Nevis is a dual-island nation in the Caribbean that gained independence from England in 1983. Most of the population of 52,000 descended from West African slaves. Additionally, most of the population lives on St. Kitts, which some politicians in Nevis believe neglects the Nevisians in government affairs.

Due to its size, there is limited information regarding hunger in St. Kitts and Nevis. However, the information that is available shows that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is taking action to eradicate hunger.

Of note, the percent of undernourished people in St. Kitts and Nevis stood at 10.2 percent for the period 2011-16, a significant decline from a high of 21.9 percent during 2005-2007. Unfortunately, many individuals who still face hunger in St. Kitts and Nevis may not have the resources to confront illness and may have to risk other aspects of survival or may become dependent on others for their own livelihood.

The government has implemented the Poverty Reduction Strategy that will reform the presence of hunger in St. Kitts and Nevis. Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture and Social Services, highlighted several of these government initiatives on World Food Day 2015. The government plans to accomplish this strategy by redistributing resources more equitably; strengthening public, private and community organizations; investing in social services and empowering vulnerable groups.

St. Kitts and Nevis has also implemented a safety net program that provides financial or food baskets to poor families. Additionally, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is working on an initiative to provide one meal a day to all primary and secondary school children.

Despite the small size of the two islands, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is working hard to combat hunger and has many strong initiatives in place to promote a higher standard of living for its citizens.

Christiana Lano

Photo: Flickr

Education in St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis is the first Commonwealth Caribbean country to introduce free universal secondary education. This was implemented after replacing the former education structure inherited from the British colonial period.

The country has an Education Act that addresses the fundamental goal of providing access to quality education for all nationals in institutions that foster economic development and other values of the country’s community. The country also has a number of private institutions that offer paid tuition.

The country has a network of free public schools that provide accessibility and are well-resourced to meet the country’s education needs. While education in St. Kitts and Nevis has seen major improvements, the quality of education is greatly impacted by the low percentage of fully skilled teachers.

While teachers may be scarce in St. Kitts and Nevis, education in the country is not developing due to lack of determination. Education in St. Kitts and Nevis has seen the development of a technical and vocational education and training strategy that promotes employable skills development and entrepreneurship.

The country currently is unable to offer or sustain a tertiary education institution but prepares students to attend university in other parts of the Caribbean as well as other regions. Education in St. Kitts and Nevis focuses mainly on the strengthening of a diverse and broad educational system based on societal need. The country has seen great progress as its current literacy rate stands at ninety percent.

This Commonwealth nation continues to take into consideration its economic trends, educational system, administration and management in the College of Further Education, focusing mainly on The St. Kitts Technical College specializing in technical education.

Rochelle R. Dean

Photo: Flickr