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Oct 5, 2022

YWCA Women Learning Non-Traditional Skills

It’s probably several decades late, but Belize now has a formal driving course where women can learn how to become professional drivers. Now, sixteen young women from the Young Women’s Christian Association are taking driving lessons at the Belize Defense Force Camp at Price Barracks in Ladyville through sponsorship from UNICEF. The non-traditional course is one of several that the Y.W.C.A is looking to as part of a game-changer for women and their role in society. News Five’s Marion Ali was at Price Barracks for the first-of-its-kind ceremony and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The Belize Defence Force’s headquarters at Price Barracks in Ladyville is the venue where sixteen young women who are part of the Y.W.C.A’s program are learning how to drive automatic and standard-transmission trucks. Y.W.C.A’s Secretary-General, Diane Haylock explained that while the “Y” has maintained its commitment to providing traditional courses, it began to see the need to also offer training in non-traditional fields. This driving lesson is one of two.


Diane Haylock, Secretary-General, Y.W.C.A.

Diane Haylock

“The matter of these two courses came up – one being a driving course for women and a barbering course for women because one of the things that we also do at the “Y” is to provide training in different skills for women that will allow them to have an improved or better opportunities.”


Commandant of the B.D.F., Brigadier-General Azariel Loria explained that the B.D.F. was also looking to build partnerships and when the discussion on this topic emerged, he was willing to have the military do its part.


Brigadier General Azariel Loria

Brigadier General Azariel Loria, Commandant, B.D.F.

“Our training and doctrine office, headed by Major Robateau – since he took office I provided directions to him to the way forward in terms of collaboration and trying to build partnerships with the Government of Belize, the institutions, the Ministries and the non-governmental organizations as well and we could extend it all the way to the private sector. We will have the small vehicle driving course, we have the bus courses and the truck courses – the troop-lifting vehicles.”



UNICEF’s sponsorship of the course pays for the maintenance of the vehicles. It is an investment that the organization’s Country Representative, Alison Parker says they’re all too willing to make to help towards gender-transformation in Belize.


Alison Parker, Country Representative, UNICEF

Alison Parker

“The women constitute fifty percent of Belize’s population. That is half of the population of Belize. They are holding the informal sector. When you talk about micro-small and medium-size enterprises, we find the women there. Belizean women are able; Belizean women are strong. If we give them equal opportunity, they will bring the fifty percent that the nation needs for national development.”


The Ministry of Transport also had a hand in this arrangement in waiving the fees for driver’s license for the sixteen young women. Minister of Transport, Rodwell Ferguson:


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport

“They asked me if I will support the idea when they are complete, if we would waiver the cost for the license for the women. Right away I said no problem about a new idea and a new initiative to bring so many females together to become professional drivers. We think that that is the only way we can mitigate the amount of accidents in this country by – you get a proper training – you go to a school and you qualify to drive.”


Shedae Losanoz is one of the sixteen young women who will spend the next three weeks mastering their hands-eyes-feet coordination in the driver’s seat. She has bigger goals than driving just the regular-sized trucks.


Shedae Losanoz, Y.W.C.A. Driving Student

Shedae Losanoz

“I don’t think women should be restricted to just small cars. Why can’t we drive a big bus, a big fire truck, a big transport truck or something?”


Marion Ali

“What about women also being accused of being the worst drivers?”


Shedae Losanoz

“I don’t believe that. I think everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. A man can be a terrible driver; a woman can be a terrible driver.”

Marion Ali reporting 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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