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Jan 28, 2022

Promoting and Reviving Cultural Heritage through Digital Literacy

More Belizean artisans and entrepreneurs will be able to reach more customers thanks to the Enhancing the Economic Empowerment of Women in Latin America and the Caribbean project.  Heritage Education Network Belize was among the recipients who were issued grants and participated in a completion ceremony today. They worked with artisans from across the country in digital literacy to promote their business and connect with the world. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

As Belizeans, you often look for that unique gift when visiting another country that speaks to its cultural heritage. It is the same for visitors to the jewel. And the best of the best is almost always found in remote culturally-rich villages across the country, and rarely in stores. A recent project to provide digital literacy to artisans across the country, however, means these unique products can now be found on social media platforms – namely Instagram and Facebook.


Sylvia Batty

Sylvia Batty, Co-Director, Heritage Education Network Belize

“We thought how do we get people onto socials, onto the information that’s out there because if there is one thing we know, we are living in a digital age and we are seeing ministries, all our government updates, press offices all on social media. So we gave out last year, free Facebook sign up, free website design.

we have wonderful partnership with the Taiwan Technical Mission in Belize, with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We looked at where a lot of our women’s group and cooperatives are especially in the cultural and creative industry. We are anthropologists and archaeologists – we work with communities, we work with cultural groups and we realised that a lot of them were still, not on Facebook. So we said, getting people onto the digital world is how they are able to access information, but more importantly how they have agency.”


That agency and access helps with the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage of various culture groups across the country. Like the women from San Antonio Village in the Cayo District who for decades have been making pottery, reviving an ancient art in danger of being lost. These artisans are now able to share their creations online and connect with potential customers.


Timotea Mesh

Timotea Mesh, Representative, San Antonio Women’s Cooperative

“In the beginning, we were just finding out what we can make as women to help ourselves. Finally, we learnt that culture preserving is very important because we are losing a lot of it. It can help us in empowering women as well by bringing back what was lost. For example, the pottery – it is something that is very well known in the Mayan history unfortunately loss so we are trying to revive this kind of art. We were all housewives involved in the project and we were not prepared with using phones and twenty years back it wasn’t very popular using phones or computers so this was one of our challenges. We were not very skilful in using computers and finally with this training, it was like a training exactly for us because they were teaching us, but at the same time we were doing what we were being taught to make.”


In the Belize District, Shakeria Welcome works along with her grandmother in Crooked Tree to create amazing hand-made woven baskets. For Welcome Hand-made Baskets, establishing an online presence is a first step, that might even lead to a shop in the future.


Shakeria Welcome

Shakeria Welcome, Welcome Hand-made Baskets

“It has been long enough that we’ve been making them.”


Duane Moody

“Who do you sell to?”


Shakeria Welcome
“We have hotel owners; just tourist places like this. This helps us to promote our business on different platforms and also we want to open a business like a gift shop or something to impact other people. It is good to share our talents in Belize and it is very culture, about Creole culture. These are very long-lasting.”


While the project specifically targeted women, there were both young men also involved in the program. The Osh Mul Kah Agro Processors Youth Group slogan is about telling “a story through embroidery.”


Frank Tzib

Frank Tzib, Osh Mul Kah Agro Processors Youth Group

“Now that we are in a technology era, during the pandemic as well, the best way to promote products that the group has is through technology. If we can reach people like by person to person, now we will have a bigger audience if we do it digitally. There are more people out there. We can reach more people in Belize, even out of Belize.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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