Minister Persaud takes ‘Spotlight Initiative’ to Bartica

-community groups urged to take advantage of programme

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud on Friday took the ‘Spotlight Initiative’ to Bartica, which will tackle violence against women and girls. 

The initiative is being rolled out in communities across the country by the United Nations (UN) in partnership with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud and UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka at the event

Some $1 billion (€4.5M) is being invested in Guyana’s efforts to tackle gender-based violence over three years through the programme. Emphasis will also be placed on the prevention of family violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, intimate partner violence and school-based violence.

Delivering remarks at the event’s launch at the St John the Baptist Primary School, Dr. Persaud said emphasis will be placed on training and involvement of community groups.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud

“I want to see groups reaching out to Spotlight…That is what we want to see, partnership in Spotlight because no entity can combat violence; it has to be a concerted, collective effort which means everyone has to play their role,” Minister Persaudtold the residents

The Minister outlined some of the initiatives her Ministry has been undertaking to address violence, including the 914 emergency hotline, which was launched last year to provide a safe space for persons to make reports.

The Ministry will also be launching its Survivors Advocate programme across the country. Through the programme, domestic violence survivors will receive assistance at the community level.

“Whether it is taking that person to the police station, whether it’s getting them to Legal Aid to get help, whether it’s counselling they need, whatever it is…we are going one step further, we are going to have all the services in one place, so when somebody wants help everybody is right there,” Minister Persaud said. 

Residents participating in the event

She added that the Ministry recently launched its Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) programme, which will provide skills training to survivors of domestic violence.  

Residents also shared their views on the issue, highlighted challenges faced in the region and made recommendations.

Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Mikiko Tanaka commended residents for their efforts to end all forms of violence. 

A resident raising a concern

She said the aim is to put a ‘spotlight’ on violence against women, girls and boys, and encourage persons to talk about and prevent it. Ms. Tanaka said the solution to such issues come from communities, noting that support will be provided in that regard. 

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the UN to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.