Women’s empowerment is a quickly-growing movement around the world, especially in developing countries. St. Lucia, an Eastern Caribbean island, is one of many developing nations taking huge steps toward equality among all its residents.
Women in Equality Empowerment Program
In 2014, women’s empowerment in St. Lucia received a large financial boost when the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO presented a $26,000 check to fund the Women in Equality Empowerment Program (WEEP). The program, run by the National Skills Development Center (NSDC), aimed to make professional training and job placement more accessible to women in St. Lucia. The program ran from 2015 to 2016 and successfully trained and placed 27 students into new jobs.
National Skills Development Center
The NSDC has continued to make strides in women’s empowerment in St. Lucia. Currently, the NSDC runs the Construction for Women Project, the goal of which is to train women for work in the construction field and to desensitize the St. Lucian society to the idea of women working in non-traditional fields.
Sacred Sports Foundation
Empowering young women is the focus of the Sacred Sports Foundation (SSF), a foundation that focuses on helping girls and women lead healthy lifestyles and socialize with each other. In 2012, the SSF asked that the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA) assist them in training SSF employees for a new program focused on teaching girls aged 13 to 17 about health and life skills. The program promoted social inclusion, health education, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and mentoring in leadership.
Raise Your Voice St. Lucia
Possibly the most important organization pushing for women’s empowerment in St. Lucia is Raise Your Voice St. Lucia (RYVSLU). The organization’s goal is to teach women and children about their legal rights and provide support to those suffering through domestic violence, rape and other human rights violations.
In November and December 2017, RYVSLU ran the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence program in which panels, community meetings, and public marches were arranged to educate and empower women. The program was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and pushed for an end to violence against women.
These efforts are changing the current dialogue of women’s empowerment in St. Lucia, and hopefully serve as positive omens for the island nation’s future.
– Anna Sheps