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Oct 14, 2011

International Day for Rural Women

Cynthia Williams

Belize and countries around the world are observing International Day for Rural Women. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a day set aside to recognize the work of women from the different villages, whose contributions to the country’s development are often overlooked.  One overlooked fact is that rural communities play a vital role in food security. According to the Human Development Coordinator at the Women’s Department Cynthia Williams, there are several countrywide weekend activities to celebrate rural women while providing them with skills and information to better themselves.

Cynthia Williams, Human Development Coordinator, Women’s Department

“International Day for Rural Women came out of an observance that the United Nations felt was needed to bring—to highlight the contributions rural women make, not only to rural development but also to the national development of countries as well as the role that they play in food security and poverty eradication. And so 2008 was the first time that this day was observed internationally and last year, Belize joined the world in also observing this day to really highlight the work that rural women continue to do everyday within our country. So we felt that it is important for us to also observe it because we work with rural women, we see the issues that they face, the struggles that they also have to bring their families to a better place. We are having activities throughout the districts. We have three activities being highlighted today; one in Punta Gorda in Otoxa and another village which is a group development and leadership training as well as a leadership and economic development session in the Stann Creek Valley with women from different communities. In terms of Corozal, we’ll be having a capacity and costing business training with women in Caledonia village. Tomorrow, we will be having a leadership and team building session in Carmelita and in San Jose Succotz, we’ll be having an interdisciplinary and health session in that village for the women, where they will be able to access pap smears, information on health issues such as cancer, blood pressure as well as other information on their rights and other services that they will be able to access at any other time. And in the Gardenia Village we’ll be having a proposal writing session with the Women’s Group there. so we really are trying to address based on what are the needs of a particular community and the women living there.”

Williams says that through the department’s Rural Women Development Officer, their work in the villages continues throughout the year.

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