A total of 50 indigenous women from 30 villages in Suriname received skills training towards improving their livelihoods as part of recovery from the pandemic.
The training is an activity of the project Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 among the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Suriname, organized for Indigenous women as a joint effort between the Ministry of Regional Development and Sport (RO&S), the Vereniging Inheemse Dorpshoofden in Suriname (Association of Indigenous Village Leaders, VIDS) and UNDP.
Similar training sessions were also held for women of the tribal communities in collaboration with the Samenwerkingsverband van Tribale volken in Suriname (Collaboration of Tribal Peoples in Suriname consisting of the Kwinti, Aluku, Matawai, Paamaka, Okanisi and Saamaka, (KAMPOS).
The project was developed following analysis of data from the UN’s Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) of COVID-19 in 2020, as well as UNDP’s Rapid Digital Socio-economic Impact Assessment on Indigenous Households in Suriname (RD SEIA). These assessments have helped UNDP to have a better understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on ITPs.
This project, which began in 2021, is funded with resources from UNDP Headquarters as part of UNDPs Global Service Offer for COVID recovery and is UNDP’s key initiative in supporting the ITPs in COVID-19 recovery efforts in Suriname.
The project was designed to achieve 3 outputs, namely 1) Provision of water installations (through RWHs/water tank system) with portable hand washing stations and supplies (such as soap and dispensers); 2) Awareness building, education and mitigation of COVID-19 among ITPs; and 3) Income generating opportunities for ITP women to promote economic recovery as well as support for food security through improved sustainable agricultural practices.
In addition, to the targeted villages where UNDP supplied sewing machines, other sewing equipment, and textiles, there were villages, where women already had their skills and sewing machines, and therefore only received textiles from the project.
A closing event was organized for the skills training for Indigenous women on Friday, May 6th at Matta (Korhopa). The event was attended by the Permanent Secretary for Sustainable Development of Indigenous Peoples of Ministry of Regional Development and Sport (RO&S), Ms. Loreen Jubitana, Deputy PS Sustainable Development of Indigenous Peoples, Mrs. Anna Lachman-Johannis, Director of the Bureau of VIDS, Ms. Cylene France, Village Chief of Matta, Captain Wendeline Sabajo, and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Margaret Jones Williams.
During her address, Ms. Margaret Jones Williams, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, noted that contribution is made to the development and or improvement of the skills of Indigenous women, tools and materials to women from 30 villages provided and opportunities created for improving livelihoods while addressing the pressing need for face masks as a COVID-19 mitigation measure. The partnership and inputs of VIDS, KAMPOS and the Ministry of Regional Development and Sport have allowed UNDP to hear directly from the beneficiaries and involve them in the activities of the project even during the height of the pandemic. She seized the opportunity to thank the trainer and all the trainees for participation, and the partners VIDS, and Ministry of Regional Development and Sport for the inputs over several months, and the village Matta for providing the venue. She concluded to express the hope that all the women who have completed the training will make the best use of their acquired skills and generate better income for themselves and their families. Ms Jones Williams also encouraged the women to continue to improve their knowledge and skills.
Ms. Cylene France, Director of VIDS Bureau, encouraged the participants to continue to make efforts and building their economic resilience while also reflected on the challenges and difficulties that the communities and the women had endured during the pandemic. Although the measures are relaxed, she encouraged the women to be vigilant and take precautionary measures to safeguard their safety and health. Ms. France also acknowledged the strong partnership between VIDS, Ministry of RO&S and UNDP.
Mrs. Anna Lachman-Johannis, Deputy PS Sustainable Development of Indigenous Peoples closed the event by thanking all participants for their presence and kind words and the women for their efforts and participation.