Social Policies in Grenada

image of Social Policies in Grenada

The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Grenada is a small state that has made impressive initial achievements in economic and human development since independence, especially in education and health. However, continuing unemployment and poverty, the recent erosion of trade preferences, and the changing international donor aid environment have exposed structural weaknesses in its economic model. Patsy Lewis assesses developments in social policy approaches and delivery in the postcolonial period, including the economic strategies pursued and their effects on social policy, particularly in respect of children. She looks at the challenges faced by governments and presents a brief case study of Hurricane Ivan, as an instance for exploring community and national responses, resilience and innovation.



Social Welfare Initiatives

Social welfare initiatives cover a range of measures designed to offer social protection. They include social assistance on a short- or long-term basis to address the needs of specific groups and social insurance, the two most common forms offered in Grenada. Thomas (2001) locates the origins of social welfare across the Commonwealth Caribbean in the colonial response to the social upheavals that characterised the region in the 1930s, which gave birth to the trade union movement and laid the basis for constitutional change. In the specific context of Grenada, social policy was limited to poor relief, the provision of basic primary education, efforts directed at improving health conditions and nutrition, the provision of housing in response to natural disasters (specifically hurricane Janet in 1955) and housing programmes targeted at the civil service (Government of Grenada, 1957). There were continuities in the approach to social welfare, evident in the persistence of some programmes, although there were clear points of interruption, as well as intensification of welfare provisions. Early initiatives at addressing nutrition, such as the UN-supported school feeding35 and milk distribution programmes, remain a feature of post-colonial social welfare expanded and intensified under the PRG. That the programmes remain important aspects of government welfare provision to support the attendance of students at school, especially at pre-primary and primary level, suggests the intractable character of poverty in Grenada.


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