Living conditions study officially kicks off

No need to wonder who those people in the bright blue NALC team member shirts with the inquisitive looks on their faces are – they’re National Assessment of Living Conditions enumerators, coming soon to a neighbourhood near you.

The 42 specially trained volunteers will be conducting a survey of roughly 1,900 Cayman Islands households that has been designed by KAIRI Consultants, a group of statisticians and demographers who have helped train volunteers to conduct similar studies across the Caribbean in places like St. Lucia, Belize and Turks & Caicos.

Enumerators, meeting facilitators, team members and community representatives joined Chief Health and Human Services Officer Diane Montoya, Health Minister Anthony Eden and others at the official launch of the National Assessment of Living Conditions Survey and Participatory Poverty Assessment on Friday, 26 January.

‘We are urging members of the public to invite these enumerators into their homes,’ said Minister Eden, ‘and to take this responsibility seriously.’

A principal goal of the study is to help government policymakers and organizations get a better picture of living conditions and what matters in people’s daily lives.

The day capped off an intensive training session for the enumerators who will be roaming the districts over the next three months in search of the information that will guide policy and financing decisions for years to come here in the Cayman Islands.

While the enumerators will be conducting door-to-door fieldwork, a dozen other specially trained facilitators will be holding community sessions with children, the elderly, the unemployed, children, men, women and the physically challenged to find out in more detail the specific challenges these interest groups face.

After seeing the progress the volunteers have made over the past weeks, Dr. Ralph Henry, the study’s lead researcher, thinks Cayman is ‘super’ ready to take on the task and can’t wait to see the findings.

‘I think what will make this study particularly interesting is that native Caymanians form a much smaller percentage of the population than you would find in other places in the Caribbean,’ he said.

The researchers have already noted that proportionally, there are also fewer young people per capita than in other Caribbean nations, which may also lead to some interesting findings.

Minister Eden promised attendees that unlike others that may have come before it, the NALC survey is by no means going to wind up on a shelf.

‘We are looking forward to a successful survey to help us shape our social development policy and we will be tabling the findings of the report in the Legislative Assembly,’ he said.

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