Spotlight Initiative to impact hundreds of women and girls locally

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, November 25 2020

Hundreds of women and girls across the country are expected to benefit from programmes offered through the Spotlight Initiative, an anti-violence campaign.  

This was disclosed by Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud on Tuesday evening during NCN’s Close Up on Gender-Based Violence programme.  

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

The forum focused on the Ministry’s 16 Days of Activism and the Spotlight Initiative. It also featured panelists’ UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka and Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Mr. Fernando Ponz Canto.

Minister Persaud said that while this mission can only be achieved through a holistic and multi-sectoral approach, it will be one which aims to strengthen community systems.

“Violence is an entrenched culture and so following the pillars of the initiative which will address legislation, policy, social safety nets, infrastructure and strengthening delivery services offered to eliminate violence against women and girls can only be achieved through a collaboration with civil base organisations,” she said.

With this in mind, the Minister said that the Ministry had conducted its first consultations with the relevant stakeholders, where many ideas were raised.

“Perspectives and views will guide the way forward as we work not only on our action plan but long-term policies to ensure that we tackle violence not only at home but offices and by extension, the entire country,” Minister Persaud added.   

It was highlighted that the Ministry will not only launch counselling programmes but will also help victims become financially independent to escape violent situations they may encounter.

This includes the services which will soon be offered by the ministry’s 914 hotline.

Though this wide-arching approach will be challenging, Dr. Persaud said the ministry is up for the challenge along with others committed to reducing violence against women and girls.

Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Mr. Fernando Ponz Canto

Ambassador Canto agreed with the Minister’s sentiments. He added that it was for that reason that Guyana was selected to join the Spotlight Initiative.

“Everything that we are doing should result in a better situation for vulnerable people, women in this case. Violence is unacceptable and unconscionable and so one step towards total eradication of violence of women and girls is what we are hoping for through this partnership,” he said.

Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator Tanaka said that while the Minister touched all the bases of the Initiative, there is also a need to invest in prevention social norms and the value system in society.

She added that the Initiative will need to reframe people’s mindset to create mutual respect.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to help eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It contributed €4.5M (approximately GY$1B) towards Guyana’s efforts to tackle gender-based and family violence for three years.