On November 21, 2022, The Caribbean Observatory Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)met with Dr. Vindyha Persaud, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Guyana to discuss partnership in social monitoring and tracking progress of policy and programming for vulnerable populations and ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In attendance were the Ministry’s Gender-Based Violence Specialist Dr Cona Husbands and UN Spotlight Officer Ms. Arianna Beharry. The CEO of Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth was joined by Project manager Ms. Jenelle Blackman and Advocacy and communications coordinator Ms. Adeola Young of the Caribbean Observatory on SRHR.
Minister Persaud shared that “The Ministry has been moving to close gaps on strategies to end GBV in an holistic way in the areas of reporting, legal recourse, separation and empowerment of survivors”. A 914 hotline which was launched in 2020 for persons experiencing domestic abuse. This has expanded to assist migrant populations by including bilingual operators. The Safe Voucher Project has been implemented with local businesses for emergency financial support for survivors by a $15,000 voucher to assist in the transition of separation. Subventions extended to NGOs that assist GBV victims to provide support for shelter or legal representation. 2000 Police Officers were trained as first responders to GBV and more Officers are expected to be trained as the program rolls out.
Guyana has made strides in working to close the gaps in gender equality, with laws to advance reproductive rights, addressing domestic violence, sexual offences and trafficking in persons. The group discussed the steps taken for the introduction of a sexual harassment policy to ensure protection in the workplace. In the 2022 Global Gender Gap Insight Report, published annually by the World Economic Forum, Guyana, ranked 35th, moving up 18 slots from its 53rd ranking in 2021. Guyana also ranked 6th in the Latin America and Caribbean Region.
Partnering to digitise data collected on GBV in a centralised database to track progress as well as to encourage evidence-based policies and programming and technical support to monitor and evaluate the impact of programs was a key point of discussion.
As a part of the sixteen (16) days of activism against Gender-Based Violence which begins on the 25th November and ends on 10th December 2022, both organisations have embarked on engaging men and boys to end GBV. The Ministry is focusing on rehabilitation and prevention initiatives, while the observatory is launching the publication of research, “Winning Narratives: Engaging men and boys as partners in ending GBV done in St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Further the Caribbean observatory on SRHR is launching its Virtual Knowledge Platform (VKP) on Monday 5th December 2022 at 11:30am (AST) via Zoom. The VKP comprises an interactive website that uses a database, country profiles, dashboards, blogs, multimedia and factsheets that will serve as avenues to convey information on human rights agreements, policies related to SRHR/Gender-Based Violence issues, advocacy and tracking progress in the region. The Platform also employs the use of infographics and family planning clinic statistics and has the potential for users to generate their own graphs based on issues, indicators and countries. It will facilitate the strengthening of regional solidarity and promotion of mutual support and as Caribbean people to share data, stories, track our progress and come together in advocacy to create a better region for all.
To register for the launch of the Virtual knowledge platform use the link below