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Nov 29, 2017

U.S. Embassy and Local Partners Target Gender-Based Violence, Trafficking in Persons

The US Embassy, through the Central American Regional Security Initiative, is funding a project in several communities to tackle the pervasive issues of gender based violence and human trafficking. The project will run for two years and is being launched to coincide with the sixteen days of activism to end gender violence. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Strengthening the government-civil society partnership for timely, transparent response to gender-based violence and trafficking in persons, it’s the theme for a two-year project to tackle these prevalent issues in Belize. The project focuses on six communities, namely: Hattieville, Seine Bight, Hopkins, Independence, Roaring Creek and Teakettle, which were selected based on their vulnerability level and the incidences of gender-based violence prevalent in the communities.

 

Malenie Barnes

Malenie Barnes, National Program Coordinator, RET International (Belize)

“We received a call for proposals from the US Embassy through the CARSI funding and that was focused on reducing incidences of gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, as well as impunity and corruption. And it was a call to civil society to work together to strengthen government’s reach in vulnerable communities.”

 

It will further strengthen the referral system to identify victims, report case and build awareness about the complaint mechanisms so that authorities can respond. The project is being funded through the CARSI program to the tune of five hundred thousand Belize dollars. Chargé d’Affaires Adrienne Galanek says that the launch is timely during the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.

 

Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Belize

“CARSI is the Central American Regional Security Initiative and under the initiative since 2008, the United States government has provided over forty-two million dollars in assistance to Belize, primarily in the realm of citizen security, but we also work in economic prosperity and also democracy in governance. And these are focused on the democracy in governance pillar of our working partnership with the government and people of Belize. The grants are aimed at integrating civil society to work with the government of Belize to solve common challenges. These problems transcend everyone. They transcend communities; they transcend governments and so it takes a community based approach to solve these issues.”

 

As part of the implementation, the project will lend support to the Women’s Commission and to the Association Justices of the Peace. National Program Coordinator, Malenie Barnes explains that the partnership with these organizations allows for better access to protection and legal services.

 

Malenie Barnes

“For the National Women’s Commission, they are the secretariat with responsibility to responding to issues of gender based violence in Belize and so we thought that it was a very strategic partnership to help to advance the work of gender based violence in the communities that we are targeting, mainly because they are also appointed by the government so it also a way of strengthening the responsibility and the reach of government at the rural community level. For the Justice of the Peace, they have the responsibility to provide legal services at the community level and we wanted to strengthen their capacity by providing them with opportunities to build capacity and knowledge sharing around gender based violence and trafficking of persons so that they can respond at the community level to issues and to incidences of these situations.”

 

The project ends in March of 2019. Duane Moody for News Five.

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