By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development's RISE programme reportedly suffered "substantial challenges" and is under review to determine whether the pilot project will be adopted, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.
Mr Newbold, in a statement on Friday, said the natural conclusion explained that those challenges negatively affected the project unit's ability to meet targeted goals. However, he noted successful elements such as the production of a data management system to document and monitor client benefits, and the integration of a pre-paid automated card system.
The project was facilitated by a five-year loan contract with the Inter-American Development Bank, and its conclusion is not expected to hinder or interrupt the delivery or quality of services, he said.
Mr Newbold was responding to questions sent by The Tribune to Social Services Minister Lanisha Rolle, who has repeatedly declined press inquiries.
"The general aims of the pilot were to test the following initiatives," the statement read, "programmes designed to provide support to households in need; approaches indicative of institutional strengthening; and a software system designed to monitor and evaluate services delivered to clients.
"The programme has reached its natural conclusion, and the ministry is at the stage of final assessment of the pilot as per the contract. To this end, the IDB has communicated its assessment and the government of The Bahamas intends to review the contents of its report."
It continued: "Though a well-intentioned initiative, it would appear, however, that the project suffered substantial challenges that negatively impacted the unit's ability to meet its targeted goals.
"Notwithstanding the challenges, to date, however, the pilot has produced a data management system to document and monitor client benefits in addition to the integration of a pre-paid automated card system which allowed for greater efficiency and an enhanced quality of service."
The contract period was from August 2012 to August 2017; however, The Tribune was told that the project has been suspended for at least two months.
It was managed as a joint effort between the IDB and the ministry, with the latter serving as the executing agency.
The press statement read: "At this juncture, the government of The Bahamas will have to consider the final reports of the IDB and the existing project team with a view to assessing the programme's overall performance and to make its determination as to whether or not it is feasible to extend the Pilot or adopt and integrate any portion/s of the programme for the benefit of Social Services existing and potential clients."
It added: "In due course, the ministry will promptly inform the public of the government's final decision in relation to the RISE Programme which will be made in the best interest of the Bahamian people."