A Spotlight Initiative project implemented by UNDP in partnership with RISE Life Management Srvices
Remarks - Closing Ceremony for 'Reducing Intimate Partner Violence through Micro Enterprise Development Community Programme'
November 6, 2023
Thursday 2 November, 1:00 p.m. | Institute of Jamaica auditorium
- Member of Parliament, Kingston Central, Mr. Donovan Williams
Mayor of Morant Bay & Chairman of St. Thomas Municipal Corporation, Councillor Hubert "Ryan" Williams (White Horses Division),
Executive Director, RISE Life Management Services, Nadine Chambers-Goss
CEO, United Way of Jamaica, Taneshia Stoney Dryden, Graduates
Representatives of the media
Other distinguished guests
I am delighted to represent the joint United Nations/European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative, in this closing ceremony for the “Reducing Intimate Partner Violence through Micro Enterprise Development Community Programme” – the latest Spotlight-supported intervention tailored to bolster financial independence of woman at risk.
While we close the implementation of this latest phase, we are thrilled to celebrate new beginnings for 125 brave women who have walked a journey to financial independence, self-awareness, and healing. Today’s cohort brings the number of survivors empowered as micro enterprise owners supported by the Spotlight Initiative, to 205.
Ladies, the Spotlight Initiative deems it an honour and a responsibility to support you on this journey. We see great things in you and remain confident that you can help break the cycle of violence and spread seeds of hope among other vulnerable women who are yet to find their voice and their strength.
With an investment of 8.5 million Jamaican dollars in this current phase, the Spotlight Initiative has partnered with RISE Life Management Services to economically empower a total of 99 women in four ZOSO-declared communities in Kingston and Westmoreland, and another 28 in kSt Thomas. The targeted communities are Parade Gardens, August Town and Seaton Crescent in Kingston; Russia in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland), and Yallahs in St. Thomas.
All 125 women, mostly survivors of intimate partner violence, benefited from business development support to either establish a micro enterprise or expand an already existing business. I am particularly pleased that among the group of women are five who are Deaf.
All graduates have received business development training and business-boost in-kind resources valuing JMD 50, 000 each, which totals JMD 6.35 million for all participants. These seasoned and budding entrepreneurs will also have access to technical support over the next three months along with short-term mentorship to ensure the realisation of their business goals as outlined in their business plans.
The integrated methodology of this programme is to be applauded. 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 business-boost resources provide a bold, practical, and effective framework for intervention.
This initiative also achieves a key target of the Violence Against Women and Girls Prevention Strategy of St. Thomas’ Local Sustainable Development Plan, which is to provide economic empowerment opportunities to vulnerable community women. The VAWG Prevention Strategy was supported by UNDP under Phase one of the Spotlight Initiative.
One in every four Jamaican women aged 15 - 64 years experiences intimate partner, physical and/or sexual violence over their lifetime, especially those from low income or rural communities. While the Spotlight Initiative will end 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.
I’d like to thank RISE Life Management Services for their excellent work in designing and implementing the “Reducing Intimate Partner Violence through Micro Enterprise Development Community Programme”. The joint team also conveys gratitude to the agencies and individuals who contributed to the success of the programme including the Social Development Commission, Community Development Councils, various community leaders and Project STAR.
Empowering women to live their fullest potential through economic resilience is critical to effective domestic violence intervention. With generous support from the European Union, the Spotlight Initiative is delighted to have been your partner on this mission. Thank you.
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.Ava Whyte, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative/Officer-In-Charge
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