Learn more about specific causes in Barbados that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentBarbados is a Caribbean island in the Northern Atlantic Ocean with a tropical climate and a rainy season that extends from June through October. Hurricanes can be a natural threat, though they are infrequent. Environmental issues facing the nation are polluted coastlines — from ship wastewater disposal — as well as soil erosion and illegal solid waste disposal.1 As Barbados is classified as a water scarce nation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNDP recently launched a joint initiative to prevent Barbados from experiencing the adverse effects of water scarcity. The project is reforming the nation’s wastewater treatment process to ensure safe reentry into the nation’s aquifers for use in irrigation, as well as improve water storage infrastructure to prevent contamination and the spread Read More of disease.2 Barbados is party to international agreements on biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, hazardous wastes, law of the sea, marine dumping, ozone layer protection, ship pollution and wetlands.3 Show Less
FamilyDomestic abuse was identified as a concern in Barbados by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A 2010 survey indicates that nearly 10 percent of the population has experienced physical abuse at the hand of a household member.1 The UN urged Barbados to adopt more aggressive legislation to combat the high levels of domestic abuse and violence against women in the country.3 Barbados has fairly low infant and maternal mortality rates.4
Human RightsBarbados is both a destination and origin country for human trafficking, including child prostitution.1 Immigrants from Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Guyana are the most vulnerable populations for trafficking in Barbados.2 The government has not yet ratified or complied with all recommended international anti-trafficking legislation and guidelines.3 In 2018, Interpol conducted a crackdown in several Caribbean nations, rescuing approximately 350 victims and arresting 22 potential perpetrators.4 Other human rights concerns include unwarranted behavior in the police force, and discrimination against members of the LGBT community.5
EducationThe primary school enrollment rate in Barbados is 90.8 percent,1 and the amount of time students typically remain in school is 15 years.2 There are four levels in the education system: pre-primary, primary, secondary and post-secondary. Education is free and compulsory for children ages 5–16.2 Education accounts for 5.1 percent of the GDP, putting Barbados in the 70th percentile internationally for education expenditures.3
PovertyThere is no official data about the percentage of the population below the poverty line.1 3.5 percent of children under the age of five are underweight, and 10.5 percent of the population is unemployed.2 The youth unemployment rate is 29.6 percent, putting Barbados at a rank of 31st in the world for highest youth unemployment.3
ReligionThe nation of Barbados is overwhelmingly Christian, with over 66 percent of the population belonging to the Protestant church.1 Anglicanism is the leading Christian denomination, accounting for 23.9 percent of the Christian population; other smaller Christian groups include Pentecostalists, Seventh Day Adventists and Methodists.2 There are small numbers of Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Rastafarians also on the island.3
Clean WaterVirtually the entire nation of Barbados has access to clean water, with just 0.3 percent lacking access to improved water supply, and 3.8 percent without proper sanitation facilities.1 However, Barbados has been classified as a water scarce country. The rising sea levels result in saline intrusion, reducing the fresh water supply.2 The WHO and the UNDP recently launched a joint initiative to prevent Barbados from experiencing the adverse effects of water scarcity. The project is reforming the nation’s wastewater treatment process to ensure safe reentry into the nation’s aquifers for use in irrigation, as well as improve water storage infrastructure to prevent contamination and the spread of disease.3
EconomyBarbados is considered the wealthiest, as well as one of the most developed, islands in the eastern Caribbean region with one of the highest per capita incomes.1 Barbados’ economy has traditionally relied upon sugar-related products.2 However, the economy has been expanding and industries like tourism and now account for a large portion of the economy, as well as international banking and business.3 High oil prices and a high debt to GDP ratio create issues for the nation.4 The unemployment rate is 10.5 percent, and the majority of the population is employed in the service industry. Data on the percentage of the population below the poverty line is unavailable.5
GovernmentBarbados is a parliamentary democracy as a commonwealth of the United Kingdom and is politically stable.1 The nation is led by a prime minister, and the British monarch is represented by an appointed governor. Corruption and nepotism within the government framework are rare since there are strict criminal penalties against corruption.2 Transparency International reports that Barbados has a score of 68 for government transparency and public perceptions of corruption — a fairly healthy score — putting Barbados 25th in the world for its transparency.3
HealthThe leading causes of death in Barbados are cardiovascular disease and diabetes,1 and the life expectancy is just over 75 years at birth.2/sup> Health expenditures account for 7.5 percent of the GDP.3 1.6 percent of adults are HIV/AIDS positive, putting Barbados at 36th in the world for HIV/AIDS prevalence.4 The nation is prone to dengue fever, and other mosquito-borne illnesses.5 As a result, the WHO and UNDP are spearheading initiatives to improve water storage infrastructure to reduce potential breeding grounds for these mosquito-borne viruses.6
ChildrenIn 2013, the Barbadian government developed a National Action Plan for Addressing Child Sexual Abuse in order to confront the issue presented by data from a UNICEF study. The plan presents a formal response to child abuse, establishing the need for public advocacy, judicial action and legislation that provides penalties for offenders.1 In regards to health, just 3.5 percent of children under the age of 5 are underweight, and the infant mortality rate is relatively low.2 Children are typically in school for a span of 15 years.3
AnimalsBarbados is home to the Barbados green monkey, the Barbados black belly sheep, mongoose, whistling frog and the leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles, as well as lizards, bats and sea turtles.1 The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act was passed in 2000 and mandates the type of care and treatment to be given to animals, providing penalty for failing to meet the standards.2
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