‘I CAN’ poster pledge campaign seeks to eliminate gender-based violence

Support for the fight against gender-based violence is heightening as the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, on Friday launched its Community Advocates Network (I CAN) poster pledge campaign.

The initiative seeks mounted poster pledges on walls and other visible areas to increase awareness and recruit others to join the cause. It is a partnership among the ministry, Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), along with the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud, M.P., (centre), Government of Canada, Senior International Assistance Officer, Mrs. Gina Arjoon (left), Government of Canada, Head of Cooperation, Mrs Jessica Teasdale (second to the left), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Officer in Charge (OIC) Mrs. Margaret Jones Williams, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency Jane Miller OBE

Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, M.P., in brief remarks, spoke about the many initiatives undertaken by government to address gender-based violence. These include the establishment of the 914 hotline, gender-based violence ‘iMatter’ and free legal services to victims.

She said the 24-hour hotline now allows persons to make reports in privacy without fear of scrutiny. Further, steps are being made to create murals and a jingle with anti-violence messages as a second phase of the helpline.

“There are many battles that you can fight alone and so, taking the pledge this morning reemphasises the call that I issued last year for the entire country to be galvanised in this momentum that we have generated by standing together, and raising our voices against violence,” she told the gathering.

Last year, the ministry revealed that 55 per cent of Guyanese were exposed to violence which, Dr. Persaud said, is due to non-existent support systems, poor kinship and financial dependency.

Under the leadership of the PPP/C Administration, she believes this stance will change tremendously to improve the lives of persons suffering from all forms of violence.  The minister stressed that this fight, however, cannot be done alone, and hopes relevant stakeholders join forces with government to eradicate this growing issue.

She added that those desirous of joining are expected to take the pledge, sign a pledge card, and become an ambassador of change to promote the elimination of domestic violence.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E, Jane Miller said the support given is necessary to help those unable to do so for themselves. She said that “when disasters happen, when climate change happens, it’s often the most vulnerable, that get further penalised… So, I’m really proud of this initiative where we are recognising the importance of ending gender-based violence.”

Similar sentiments were shared by representatives of EnGenDER, as well as the Canadian government.

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