127 domestic violence survivors from ZOSO communities bolster financial independence

November 27, 2023
Domestic violence survivors at small business training graduation

Domestic Violence survivors participate in their graduation from a small business and life skills training programme funded by Spotlight Initiative

UNDP MCO in Jamaica / Rise Life

One hundred and twenty-seven domestic violence survivors largely drawn from ZOSO-declared communities have become the latest graduates of the Spotlight Initiative-financed empowerment programmes that are launching women at risk as increasingly independent businesswomen.

The latest set of graduates recently received their certificates at the Institute of Jamaica auditorium during a closing ceremony for the “Reducing Intimate Partner Violence through Micro Enterprise Development Community Programme”.

The group, representing 99 women from ZOSO-declared communities of Parade Gardens, August Town and Seaton Crescent in Kingston, and Russia in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland, plus another 28 from Yallahs, St Thomas, also included five members of the Deaf community. This brings the total empowered as micro enterprise owners to 205 and represents a combined investment of 36.1 million Jamaican dollars by the Spotlight Initiative since 2022.

Implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi Country Office in Jamaica through RISE Life Management Services, the Intimate Partner Violence Programme is financed under the European Union (EU)/United Nations Spotlight Initiative. The programme included a combination of training workshops on Intimate Partner Violence and other forms of gender-based violence; rapid response and psychological first aid and referral services; business development sensitization sessions and disbursement of 50 000 JMD micro grants to each participant, valuing a combined total of six Million Jamaica Dollars.

UNDP Officer-In-Charge/Assistant Resident Representative Ava Whyte applauded the integrated methodology of the empowerment programme which she said provided a bold, practical, and effective framework for intervention. “Empowering women to live their fullest potential through economic resilience is critical to effective domestic violence intervention,” she stated.

She underscored the importance of continuing similar programmes once Spotlight Initiative ends in December 2023. “The need for continued support for women and girls facing multiple forms of violence, remains most relevant. We therefore call on our partners within the public and private sectors to invest in multi-faceted social and economic empowerment programmes which target the most vulnerable. This can only strengthen local economies, reduce inequalities and end the cycle of violence, ensuring no one is left behind,” Ms Whyte emphasized.

RISE Life Management Services' Executive Director, Nadine Chambers-Goss explained that ongoing business development support will be provided for participants to fine tune their business ideas combined with short term monitoring of the businesses.

The graduation event’s Guest Speaker, United Way of Jamaica CEO Taneshia Stoney Dryden gave a stirring motivational talk to the graduands based on her own life experiences and encouraged them to continue their journey of self-improvement to escape a life of violence while securing a more prosperous future for themselves and their children.

The “Reducing Intimate Partner Violence through Micro Enterprise Development Community Programme” practically implements components of the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Prevention Strategies of the St Thomas Local Sustainable Development Plan (LSDP) and of the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) Strategy.