Canada’s women leadership program to benefit the Caribbean

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Group photo of representatives of women’s rights organizations from across the Caribbean at the initial convening of the Women’s Voice and Leadership-Caribbean project in Antigua.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Canadian High Commission in Jamaica has joined colleagues from across the region to host the launch of the Women’s Voice and Leadership-Caribbean project. With today’s announcement, 27 women’s rights organizations from eight CARICOM countries will benefit from CAD $4.8 million that Canada has committed to advance the rights of women and girls and promote gender equality.

Along with Belize, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Suriname, women’s rights organizations from Jamaica responded in great numbers to the call for proposals.

The four grantees selected in Jamaica are:

Eve for Life provides support to adolescent girls and young women who are survivors of physical and sexual abuse, and to women and children living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.

Jamaica Sex Worker Coalition advocates for the recognition of fundamental human and worker’s rights of sex workers in Jamaica, whilst empowering sex workers through the creation and sustaining an enabling environment.

Women’s Empowerment for Change (WE-Change) seeks to increase the participation of lesbians, bisexual, and transgender women in social justice advocacy in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) provides outreach programmes, which focus on health and wellness, sustainable livelihoods, community capacity-building, and advocacy.

While speaking at the virtual launch today, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, spoke of Canada’s commitment to advancing gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the promotion and protection of their human rights.

The women’s rights organisations and LBTIQ groups whose work the Women’s Voice and Leadership Caribbean Project is supporting, know exactly the realities on the ground for women and girls and how to achieve change. Through this important funding, Canada reaffirms our commitment to strengthening women’s organizations as highly accountable, fundamental players in realizing women’s empowerment and achieving equality for all.”   

In congratulating the grantees, the implementing partners of the project said:

“Women’s Voice and Leadership Caribbean provides a unique opportunity to support the Caribbean feminist movement through grant making, networking and alliance-building, and capacity-building. WVL-Caribbean is thrilled to be supporting such a diverse mix of organizations from around the region. From young feminists and LBTIQ activists working with technology and leading digital activism in countries such as Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Jamaica to established organizations in Guyana and Suriname promoting women’s economic security in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, to Indigenous women’s organizations in Belize focused on climate justice and resilient economiesthese partners represent the heart of Caribbean feminism and is a true reflection of the state of the region,”  Amina Doherty, Director, Women’s Voice and Leadership Caribbean, Equality Fund.

“Astraea is excited to partner with the Equality Fund and Canada as it presents a unique opportunity for us to deepen support of LBTIQ organizations in the region, while engaging in a thoughtful approach guided by our shared Feminist Funding Principles and practices,”  Kerry-Jo Ford Lyn, director, Global Human Rights Initiative, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Women’s voice and leadership program

In June 2017, Canada launched the global Women’s Voice and Leadership Program as part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Canada committed to allocating $150 million over five years to respond to needs of local women’s organizations in developing countries that are working to advance the rights of women and girls and promote gender equality. The WVL Program’s global portfolio has expanded to almost 40 countries since 2017, making Canada the leading donor in supporting women’s rights organizations in developing countries.

For more information on the Women’s Voice and Leadership project in the Caribbean, please visit the following links:

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