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Jan 25, 2023

A Social & Behaviour Change Communication Campaign is Launched

Data from the Belize Crime Observatory shows the number of reported cases of gender-based violence increased by twenty-five percent between 2021 and 2022. It remains a key pillar in the National Gender Policy that seeks to end violence against women and girls.  Today, the National Women’s Commission launched a communication campaign strategy that it plans to roll out to sensitize various sectors of society on behavioural and social changes needed to achieve this outcome. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Ministry of Human Development through the National Women’s Commission has been actively working to end violence against women and girls and to do just that, it needs to change the way people are socialized and their behaviour towards differences. Today, the Social and Behaviour Communication Campaign, to create that change, was launched.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development

“This is a never-ending struggle, the fight against gender-based violence. As a matter of fact in my remarks we talked about the six major areas of the national gender policy: health, education, employment and the creation of health for women. And then the fourth one to show the importance of this is the fight against gender-based violence. The fifth one is women in power and decision-making – we need more women – and then institutional strengthening. One of the most important factors when we talk about this is that our belief, deep inside, that behaviours can change and that there can be changes in attitude. Not because I used to do something ten years ago in one way, I cannot change and do it better today. And fighting against gender-based violence, violence against women and girls, is something that we have to internalise.”


President of the National Women’s Commission, Thea Garcia-Ramirez says that there must be changes in attitudes that have been normalized in the Belizean society.


Thea Garcia-Ramirez

Thea Garcia-Ramirez, President, National Women’s Commission

“When we have for example gender reveal parties, we have blue for boys and pink for girls and just that signals to you that some people actually feel like colours have a gender and they don’t. Toys don’t have a gender. Different people have different interests and all interests are valid. Household chores don’t have a gender – life skills – household chores should be equally divided. That sort of thing we have come to normalise – only girls wash dishes and only boys take care of the yard. That feeds into a very patriarchal type of mindset. It perpetuates stereotypes and biases that we take to work. And then we have another set of problems at work that perpetuate rape culture, that perpetuate sexual harassment at work, sexual harassment on the street.”


One of the slogans at today’s launch is “it ends with me.” But Human Development Minister, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia says that change should also begin with each and every person.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

“It actually starts with me. The change in our behaviours so that we can believe that we can do better. Unfortunately, I was sharing some statistics that the reports of gender-based violence have gone up significantly between 2021 and 2022. Now you will ask yourself is it happening more or is it that people are reporting more? Well we wouldn’t want to know that there is more, but I think the reporting will help us to focus, laser-like focus, on what is happening in our communities so that we can begin that change.”


The communication strategy will engage all stakeholders and help them to re-evaluate as individuals, as families and as a society through a gender lens.


Thea Garcia-Ramirez

“It’s pressing the reboot button and starting from scratch. Going into government departments, but also going into schools, going into rural communities where we have some of our most vulnerable members of society. Rural women, indigenous women, young girls, adolescents, but also boys. If you want to reduce the perpetration of gender-based violence, the way you do that is really by trying to stop it before it starts.”


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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