At present I am a Communications Officer for the State Response to End Violence against Women: Legislative and Policy Reform Implementation Project - Funded by the United Nations Trust Fund. This project is conducted by the Division of Gender & Family Affairs within the Ministry of Social Development & Housing, Government of Grenada.
This post has allowed me to combine my Social and Community Development skills and background with my life passion of Media Communications (Radio Broadcasting) and focus on an issue i believe i have a lot to contribute to - Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
I have always been driven (and still am) to be an advocate for women's issues, especially on the return to my mother land Grenada. I see the social issues of this country as the marrow of this country and so great effort must be given in maintaining a healthy society.
Unfortunately, Grenada like most of the Caribbean region, is plagued with many social ills, most of which are steeped in GBV and eating away at the core of this small country - its families - namely the most vulnerable of all the women and children.
The rates of child and sexual abuse; rape; harassment; assault; exploitation and domestic violence(DV) are outrageously high for the geographical size of this country - hence the implementation of the State Response Project. It is a 3 year project which began in 2010 and will end in November 2013. It has achieved some great steps in the reforming of our legislation, policies and laws pertaining to GBV, including the Domestic Violence Act (established 2001, amended in 2010); a Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Protocol; the Criminal Code Amendments which increased sentencing for sexual offences and also the training of service providers - police, healthcare, social workers, judicial sector, etc.
We are presently in the phase of delivering education and awareness on GBV to the general public through media, Information, Education and Communications (IEC) materials, public awareness forums, campaigns, exhibitions, theatre and use of IT (social media and websites). My role is to design, create and conduct these initiatives and disseminate news on the project's progress overall.
I believe in this project but I am of the opinion that it is "too little, too late" and too short, we have only just begun to address the issue and so much more to do. That is why i am striving to devise a plan where i may continue the efforts through other means.
I have learned so much about the governmental machinery and its role in fighting social ills and to be honest i have realised it is at a disadvantage due to its ties to bureaucracy which slows and hinders the work greatly.
My faith lies in the ole saying of "Education is Power", my solution to changing people's 'beliefs, myths and attitudes' towards GBV, gender equality, women's empowerment and people development is to equip them with the knowledge most lack and the inspiration most need to make a change.
Our formal education system is deprived of the subjects that best develop the person in good morals and values, hence their behaviour is driven by ignorance.
I am not saying education will stop or prevent GBV, but i do feel it will have an impact on people's tolerance to it. Many of our women and children are living with horrendous situations, some because they believe "it is a way of life", "it is acceptable", "it is unchangeable" and that "they are powerless". Informing them that none of this is true and explaining why, is so necessary. I have seen and witnessed this through radio programs and activities that have reached people and they have responded with statements such as "i never knew what you was telling me" and "it has made me look at my life and my situation" and more importantly "it has made me want to get help/make it stop". From abused children to victims of DV these responses are evident. All this tells me that there is merit in voicing the issues wide and far.
My goal is to establish a radio show (and in long term a station) that only offers that education and empowerment to the people of this country and the Caribbean. We have programs on sports, politics, music, news, celebrity gossip, everything we say is important and interesting yet we fear to deliver on the intimate matters of people and their lives which in turn forms our society - our marrow. To me it is simple, it is clear. Other countries and broadcasting companies do it, I grew up on the richness of the BBC programming in the UK, still a fan of the World Service.
Economics deprives many women of the true empowerment they can receive from holistic education and information, especially teachings of self-esteem, betterment, confidence, self-awareness, advice on the world around them and their place in it. Topics that will enable them to improve their outlook on life and their future, as parents of our children, as contributors to their community. Much of the GBV situations is perpetuated due to the lack of confidence and knowledge to deal with the situation faced by them and their children, so they fail to protect, to prevent, to speak out and to act. Once informed and encouraged they are compelled to play their roles adequately.
Many persons - men and women, boy and girl - have pleaded for me to continue the work i do, they want the education, they are aware they are lacking in the knowledge and deprived of such information. This drives me to find a way to make this plan for the radio project to happen.
I am very sure and determined of my vision, i would love to share this journey with like-minded persons. We all can do with some traveling companions and that's what i understand this site to be for.
Look forward to hearing from you.