Women’s Department Signs M.O.U. with BELTRAIDE

Violence against women, human trafficking and femicide in Central America remain regional issues of concern for SICA member countries.  In Belize, as part of a related initiative, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation signed a Memorandum of Understanding this afternoon with the Ministry of Economic Development in support of the BA1 Project.  The undertaking includes a plan to provide small grants to improve the lives of women who are at risk of and are victims of gender based violence to help them improve their economic status.  The M.O.U. was signed on behalf of the Women’s Department, the Small Business Development Center and the Belize Training and Employment Center and will see some two hundred and fifty women participate in a series of training courses.  C.E.O. Judith Alpuche explains the importance of the program.

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

“This partnership that I am very pleased that we are having, with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and specifically the SBDC… really tries to address exactly that.  The goal is to ensure that women are economically empowered, so we will be seeking out women who are not only survivors of gender based violence but are also at risk of becoming victims of gender-based violence and help to shore them up, help to ensure that they can stand on their own two feet, at least economically.  Apart from the other faucets that will also provide support in terms of the psychosocial education and just the public education et cetera that will happen, this is a critically important piece.”

Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade

“A lot of times social development is looked at as charity while economic development is looked at as profiteering and in reality they should really be brought together.  And I think today is a signal, in my mind, of where we’re actually bringing those two things that everybody sees as being completely separate together into one program. So every one of these women that we will be supporting will now become a client, will have a client record on our system and we will be able to tell you what their sales are, how many people they employ.  We will be able to tell you what their plans are and we will have a copy of whatever it is they put together in respect of their business plans and their goals and we will be there with a business advisor helping them every step of the way to make sure they achieve their goals.”