EU investing $1B to tackle gender-based violence
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President Irfaan Ali
President Irfaan Ali

THE European Union (EU) will be contributing €4.5M or $1B towards Guyana’s efforts to combat gender-based violence. Over a three-year period, the money will be invested in strategic and catalytic interventions to address the root causes and holistically address gender-based violence and family violence.

President Irfaan Ali, on Saturday, in his feature address at the virtual launch of the Spotlight Initiative Programme to end violence against women and girls, said the programme “offers a platform for creating greater awareness, mobilizing financial resources and technical assistance and for the sharing of experiences related to gender-based violence.”
The programme, he said, indicates that all states have a duty to ensure a safe environment for women and girls from all forms of violence. The Government, President Ali said, is committed to gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women.

However, he noted that there are challenges detecting and responding to violence against women and girls because it often takes place within homes and by people they trust.
The European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative Programme responds to the urgent need to address violence against women and girls with a specific focus on gender-based violence and family violence.

Additionally, the President noted that a survivors’ advocate programme for women and girls who experienced domestic violence will soon be rolled out.
“Before the end of 2020, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will roll out a survivors advocate programme to offer emotional support and crisis counselling to victims of domestic and sexual violence. The programme will be piloted in regions that account for some of the highest reported cases of violence against women,” the President said.

According to President Ali, Guyana’s approach to gender-based violence is deeply embedded in ensuring compliance with the country’s domestic laws and fulfilling international obligations.
He pointed out that the gender-based violence taskforce has been resuscitated and that the implementation of a National Plan of Action against gender-based violence remains a priority for the Government.

Guyana is one of six Caribbean countries to be a part of the programme. The others are Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Belize. The programme is also aimed at helping countries achieve goals three, five and 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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