“Spotlight Initiative” to spread awareness on gender-based violence in Berbice

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and European Union (EU)-funded “Spotlight Initiative”, which seeks to empower women and girls, has put the spotlight on the Rose Hall Town Police Outpost on the Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The programme, which is being rolled out in the region by two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), aims at bringing awareness to gender-based violence.
The Rose Hall Police Outpost received a first aid kit, stoves, mattress, cleaning detergents, stationery, fans, a sink, a solar-powered light and six chairs so that the office can be able to serve the community better. Donations were made through the St Francis Community Developers (SFCD), one of the two NGOs rolling out the programme in the region.
At a simple handing-over ceremony held at the organisation’s Port Mourant Corentyne office, President of SFCD Alex Foster said it was a collaborative effort of networking with Food For The Poor Guyana.
He explained that the items were sourced and then donated after the organisation recognised some of its collaborating partners lacked the resources to execute the mandate of the project, which targets the reduction and, ultimately, eliminates any form of violence against women and girls.
“In our experience, in trying to bring the stakeholders together, we found that some of them don’t have the ability or capacity to offer the psycho-social support, they just stick to what they are doing. For example, the police would charge and lock up who they need to and they are done, but people need other forms of intervention, so we are helping them to provide those interventions at the Police station until the person gets to other sources or come to us where we have the unique ability to call probation, call health, call education, call everybody and hook them up so they do not have to go to 13 places repeating the same problem.”
Since psychological and sexual reproductive health issues can also develop as a result of violence perpetrated against women and girls, “Spotlight Initiative” will be targeting six different areas – law and policies, institutional strengthening, information, provision of services, data collection, and strengthening collaboration among all stakeholders.
“What we are doing gradually is, when we go in the field and identify the victims, we are linking them to access services from our different collaborating partners. For example, we may link them to the Food For The Poor houses; so it’s an ongoing process and as the process go on, we are developing and responding to same,” Foster said.
He told Guyana Times that oftentimes, persons go to the Police outpost injured and the officers do not have the necessary tools to take care of the victim’s immediate needs and are hence, just focused on taking a statement.
The programme, which was launched late last year, will see the EU contributing €4.5 million, while the UN will provide technical support. (G4)