After an intense and interesting exercise of negotiation between the UN Agencies and the Dominican Government, the Dominican Republic received, for the first time, funds from the UN Joint SDG Fund, of a non-reimbursable nature, to support the design and implementation of the pilot of Care Communities as part of the National Care Policy carried out by the present Government administration.
In this regard, the Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Miguel Ceara Hatton, and the resident coordinator of the United Nations System in the country, Mauricio Ramírez Villegas, signed a cooperation agreement, which will provide for a period of two years the mobilization of USD 913,081.00 for execution, composed of the contribution of the Fund of USD 725,400.00, plus co-financing contributions from UNDP, ILO, UNFPA and UN Women of USD 187,681.
The Care Communities pilot, to which the SDG Fund will contribute, brings together efforts of 10 government institutions integrated by the Ministries of Economy, Planning and Development and Women; the “Supérate” Programme, the Single System of Beneficiaries (SIUBEN), the National Institute for Technical-Vocational Training (INFOTEP), the National Institute for Comprehensive Early Childhood Care (INAIPI), the National Council for the Elderly (CONAPE), the National Council on Disability (CONADIS), the National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) and the Ministry of Labour.
With this initiative, the country is working towards the advance in the construction of an inclusive National Care System, which will contribute to the poverty reduction strategy and the acceleration in the fulfillment of the commitments assumed by the Dominican State, within the framework of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
For this exercise, we wanted to share 5 things we have learned so far:
- Collecting data for a better national care policy
The joint program contributed to supporting the social system of beneficiaries (SIUBEN) in the collection of socioeconomic information on eligible households for the pilot of the National Care Policy. Through technical support from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), SIUBEN surveyed to identify the demand for care and future candidates for social benefits in vulnerable communities, as part of the joint program. The goal was to reach 9,000 homes and it excelled by completing 103%, equivalent to 9,246 completed home interviews.
- Communications and Georeferencing: Mapping our Care Policy
As part of the effort to reinforce the public policy a communication strategy is underway to make the initiative known to the general public and key stakeholders, contributing to gaining public commitment and the recognition and appreciation of equitable distribution of care work. Furthermore, it will promote changes in the culture and social configuration around care, promoting good practices and social co-responsibility, both nationally and locally in the two prioritized areas.
Also, to strengthen the communication strategy, visually showing the situation regarding care, and to complement the need for measuring and evaluating impact, a georeferenced mapping of the care supply in the prioritized areas of the pilot is being carried out with UNDP’s technical support. A service agreement with the UNDP Regional Gender Area was developed for the application of the mapping tool and a national consultant was selected for the recollection of information. A survey tool was developed and discussed with the national counterpart, as well as a methodological note to describe and establish the guidelines that define the scope of work. To date, a first proposal of a georeferenced mapping of the care supply of the province of Azua has been prepared. The mapping has a scope of 54, 779 households, of which there are 93,727 men and 89,182 women according to SIUBEN data. This proposal is pending validation of MEPYD and other national counterparts to ensure that the necessary requirements have been met for the successful implementation of the pilot in Azua, and that the mapping of Santo Domingo Este has been initiated.
- A technical-professional offer based on human rights principles
The process of reviewing and strengthening the technical-professional offer of INFOTEP training programs, supported by the ILO through the Communities of Care Project, has been based on human rights principles and sought to listen to care service impacted populations (Persons with Disabilities-PwD, among others).
“Focus group in Azua with a group of people with disabilities, as part of the preparation of the training program for assistants for people with disabilities”.
These actions foster to position the interests and needs in order to portrait the sense of autonomy and independence in the new training proposals. Placing people at the center of a national care policy is essential and consistent with the motto of "Nothing about us, without us" which is reinforced by international human rights standards.
- The Road to Local Pilots of Care: The Case of Azua
The joint program contributed to the implementation of the Local Care Policy Pilot in one of the two territories prioritized by the Government, Azua. In this sense, the Government has been supported in the Consolidation of the Intersectoral Care Table with governmental actors and in the development of the Local Care Table of Azua. To support the government in this regard, technical advice has been provided by UN Women, including contributions to the Inter-institutional Collaboration Framework Agreement for the development of the Intersectoral Care Table and a methodological guide has been prepared for the elaboration and structure of the local care plans.
- “What we have learned so far…”
The support of the joint program for the development of the Local Care Policy Pilot in Azua through the search for comprehensive solutions to the care needs of vulnerable households, the promotion of women's economic autonomy and the right to care for children, and people in situations of dependency (including older adults and people with disabilities) will accelerate the achievement of many goals related to the 2030 Agenda in a strategic and innovative way. The development of a Local Care Policy in the Dominican Republic is being a transformative initiative, consistent with the inclusive, multisectoral and cross-cutting nature of the SDGs that will contribute to the implementation of an innovative model of governance and intersectoral management to offer families an articulated package of services to facilitate care and labor insertion through it, with special priority on the poor and vulnerable population.
- Next steps include the implementation of the communication strategy for the National Care Policy in the prioritized communities and finalizing the mapping and geo-referencing of the private and public supply of care services in the prioritized territories. Additionally, it will design the impact evaluation methodology for the National Care Plan.
- This year, the technical-professional offer of training programs for early childhood care and care of dependent adults, the elderly, and/or the disabled will be updated and designed based on the best applicable international practices. In addition, the first cycle of the improved care training offer will be conducted in two pilot communities, with monitoring of performance and outcomes for future improvement recommendations, considering: a) training of trainers and b) first class of certified persons.
- This year, based on the pilot experience, the joint program will support the strengthening and expansion of the National Care Policy for the gradual consolidation of a national care system. To this end, we are going to develop an exercise to design and cost the expansion plan of the National Care Policy, integrating the lessons learned from the pilot experience. This costing exercise, which UN Women has already been carrying out in Mexico, Panama, and Peru, establishes a projection of scenarios for progressive access to care services and estimates the economic impacts in terms of direct job creation and increased fiscal collection. In addition, we will support the implementation of a raising awareness process in favor of Care Society that supports the development of the national care policy.
- Also, as follow-up actions, the joint program will support the quality evaluation of program as well as the data collection and systematization of to strengthen the National Care System in the country.
- Inter-institutional collaboration framework agreement for the development of the Dominican Republic's intersectoral roundtable on care of June 2022 (prepared with the input and review of UN Women).
- Methodological guide for the design and implementation of Local Care Plans and governance and management scheme developed by UN Women.
- Press release on the launching of the first Local Care Plan in the country, corresponding to the municipality of Azua, a territory prioritized within the framework of the Communities of Care pilot strategy.
- Launching Ceremony - Azua Local Care Plan 2023.
Created by Dominican Republic UN Interagency Team – SDG Fund Communities of Care
- Beatriz García, Technical Specialist on Economic Empowerment at UN Women Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean
- Laura Suazo, Population and Development Officer, UNFPA
- Maria Barrera, Gender Associate, UNDP; Raissa Crespo, UNDP Gender Officer
- Katherine Martínez, National Project Coordinator, ILO Country Office for Central America, Haiti,
- Panama and Dominican Republic
- Mildred Samboy, Partnerships and Development Finance Officer, UNRCO