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Sixteen Survivors Of Gender-Based Violence To Receive CARICOM Grant Awards

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Wednesday, 6 December 2023)  –  Sixteen (16) women who are survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) will receive grant awards with the support of the CARICOM Secretariat, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and the Spotlight Initiative. 

The project, titled “Upskilling GBV Survivors with Economic Empowerment and Personal Development Skills as A Means of Ensuring That These Women Live Lives Free of Violence”, is funded by UNDP under the Regional Spotlight Initiative Caribbean Programme. The Regional Programme is part of the Global Spotlight Initiative, which is the European Union’s groundbreaking investment of Euros 500M to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. 

The Economic Empowerment Project is being implemented by the CARICOM Secretariat Gender and Development Programme in partnership with the National Gender Affairs Directorates of Dominica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. 

According to Ms Ann-Marie Williams, Deputy Programme Manager, Gender and Development, CARICOM Secretariat, “the Secretariat embarked on the project to give survivors of GBV a second chance and a greater opportunity to improve their livelihood.”

She explained that the project includes a virtual capacity-building workshop for 35 women survivors. Of this number, 16 who are ready to become entrepreneurs will be awarded grants via a business incubator phase, which will support them with practical tools to become entrepreneurs, including developing a business plan, financial literacy and digital skills to improve their marketing when they open their new businesses.
The virtual training supports the socio-economic integration or reintegration of a cross-section of women survivors in three (3) Member States: Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.  “The training process is an empowerment strategy to help women strengthen their economic independence to make sustainable business decisions on their own and to set them on a path towards living lives free of violence,” stated Ms Williams.

The grant awards presentation forms part of the CARICOM Secretariat’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Campaign, observed from 25 November to 10 December 2023 under the theme: “Unite! Invest to End Violence Against Women and Girls!”

– ENDS –

Editor’s Notes:
A 2020 study by the International Labour Organization (ILO)[1] on the COVID-19 pandemic underscores that social protection measures enable families to escape poverty, especially women who are often trapped in a cycle of seasonal or short-term employment and low-paying work. 

Social protection floors can be powerful tools for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women, in keeping with the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals. It should also be recognised that investments in and the provision of equitable, quality and affordable early childhood education and childcare services are crucial in enabling women to enter and remain in the labour market. The ILO contends that the pandemic threatens to push 47 million women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean below the poverty line.

It is against this backdrop that the CARICOM Secretariat Gender and Development Programme proposed a project to support victims and survivors of GBV to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project intends to support the economic re-integration of women who have experienced GBV through training, capacity building and the award of start-up grants.  The initiative also intends to support the participating women in strengthening their businesses, marketing and life plans and to develop a network where the women awarded seed funds can share good practices, exchange experiences, and support each other along the journey.

Helpful links

What is the Spotlight Initiative?

What is the United Nations Development Programme? 

[1] ILO Report: Women and the COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

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