EnGenDER supports MHSSS’ gender-based violence campaign in Guyana

Eradicating violence against women and girls, and all forms of domestic violence takes centre stage in Guyana as the country forges a new relationship in the form of a pledge campaign designed to raise awareness and recruit advocates nationally.

The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, in partnership with the Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) Project of the United Nations Development Programme, and with support from the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom, embarked on the Community Advocates Network (I CAN) poster pledge campaign, which includes poster pledges that are designed to be mounted on walls and other visible locations, to increase awareness of gender-based violence in the country.

Advocates are expected to take the pledge, sign a pledge card, and become an ambassador of change by advocating for the eradication of domestic violence. Among those who have already taken the pledge are members of the diplomatic corps, the Guyana Bar Association, survivors of gender-based violence, and advocates across the country.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, the Honourable Dr. Vindhya Persaud launched the Community Advocates Network at Guyana’s Parliament Buildings in 2021, where those gathered recited the pledge and vowed to act on it in their daily lives.   Now the focus is on achieving national awareness and participation.

“We are taking this further, and we are thankful that EnGenDER has chosen to participate and partner with us on this process. So, if you have not yet gotten your pledge, get it from us so you can put it up prominently wherever you are, even if you want to put it up in your home and people visiting you can understand our strong stance against violence,” she said.  “Make sure that you are able to be part of this process and if you have not yet registered for the Community Advocates Network, register. Because we can use your skill, your voice, your commitment so together we can say WE CAN and eradicate domestic violence.”

The EnGenDER Project, which is being implemented by the UNDP, is funded by the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom, and seeks to address the issue of climate change impacts particularly on vulnerable groups such as women, children, youth, persons living with disabilities, and indigenous and tribal populations.  Project partners include UN Women, the World Food Programme and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

Having recognised new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, EnGenDER reallocated part of the project funding in2020 to support efforts to help stop violence, while simultaneously supporting the people who have been victims of this violence.

“The EnGenDER Project committed over USD $1 Million across nine countries toward these efforts, and Canada and the UK remain committed to supporting implementation efforts aimed at addressing the compelling needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population,” said EnGenDER Project Manager, Massimiliano Tozzi.

“In  Guyana  alone,  the  Project  has  also supported  the  procurement of  personal protective equipment (PPE) which will benefit over 100 officers within the Guyana Police Force who are trained to handle GBV issues; and the distribution of 470 food hampers through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, which benefitted vulnerable women and other vulnerable groups, many of whom are survivors of gender-based violence,” Tozzi stated.

Other interventions in Guyana include the supply of communication equipment including three GPS units, three satellite phones and three laptop computers to the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development to improve real time communications and enhance data management and analysis in remote communities, to help improve disaster management, including COVID-19 response; and the broadcasting of television and radio Public Service Announcements promoting the MHSSS’ 914 hotline.

The EnGenDER Project will further support the Ministry’s 914 hotline through the creation of murals and a jingle with anti-violence messaging.

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