Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 22, 2020 (SKNIS): The Department of Gender Affairs has had some successes in 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister responsible, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, during a Sitting of Parliament to debate the Appropriation Bill (2021), 2020, on December 21.
He noted that the partnership between the Department of Gender Affairs and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce has provided $20,000 worth of food vouchers for clients of Gender Affairs in both St. Kitts and Nevis. They have also donated masks to persons who work closely with the department and victims of gender-based violence.
The department is also involved in a rehabilitation programme for female inmates. However, due to the pandemic, there was a slowdown of interaction, said Minister Hamilton. Nevertheless, they were given the opportunity to improve their skills in areas such as crocheting, hair braiding, sewing and manufacturing of bags so that if they are unable to find a job, they can work for themselves.
“This is to give them the kind of skills so that they can apply it when they are again freed from prison,” he said.
There was also a one-week workshop for teen mothers and at risk girls, which was sponsored by UNICEF.
“It was a tremendous success despite all of the COVID challenges,” said Minister Hamilton.
The Second Chancer Funding from UNESCO is expected to support the National Gender Quality Action Plan, said Minister Hamilton.
The department was unable to launch the Boys Mentorship Programme due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, said the minister.
Minister Hamilton highlighted some upcoming plans the department has for 2021. He said that as part of the Rehabilitation Programme, there will be a focus on pastry making, backyard gardening, and sewing for the inmates at the prison.
“The department will also partner with the Craft House so that those prisoners could benefit from the expertise of those at the Craft House,” he said.
The prospects of training 30 women and girls in leadership, governance and democracy are also being looked at in 2021.
In addition, the department is partnering with the relevant agencies to have vulnerable women enrolled in skills training programmes.