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Feb 18, 1998

OAS donates to Women?s Commission

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Yesterday it was the government of Japan handing over checks for worthy projects. Today it was the turn of the O.A.S. and the beneficiaries were some deserving women.

There was hardly enough space to move around on the first floor of the Department of Women’s Affairs, as it was stocked with twenty thousand dollars worth of equipment from the Organization of American States. The equipment, made up of computers, sewing machines and air conditioning units, will be used towards the department’s job skills training programs for the districts.

Kenrich Texel, OAS Representative in Belize

“This particular program is important for the O.A.S. because one of the main areas of operation of the O.A.S. is supporting gender, especially supporting women in the member states, the works the women are doing, supporting their efforts in every area, every aspect of their lives.”

According to Anita Zetina, the Director of Women’s Affair, in 1996 a National report on the state of women was conducted. The study revealed there were two main areas preventing the development of Belizean women. One problem was poverty and the other unemployment. Since that study the department in conjunction with the National Committee for Families and Children established a job skills training program for some sixty unemployed women. Zetina says because their pilot program in the city has been successful, they are now expanding it to the Corozal and Stann Creek Districts.

Anita Zetina, Director, DWA

“Stann Creek District as you know is one of the areas there is a lot of problems with young women. Unemployment, abuse, domestic violence and we feel that if women become economically independent, a lot of the problems of health, education, domestic violence would be addressed.

In the Corozal District because again there is a number of young women and we are not saying that they are the only two districts, but as we go along trying to set up in every district this is our aim.”

It is expected that the training programs in the Corozal and Stann Creek Districts will commence in mid April.

The funds were made available from a special O.A.S. Women’s Fund. Some of the purchases were made locally while other pieces of equipment were sent directly from the United States.

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