Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 18, 2022 (SKNIS): Senator the Honourable Isalean Phillip, Junior Minister of Gender Affairs in the Federal Government, officially launched Nevis’ Boys Mentorship Programme on Tuesday, 18th October 2022, at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park.
The programme is being piloted at the Nevis International Secondary School by the Nevis Island Administration’s Department of Gender Affairs. It is grounded on five pillars including mentor-mentee relationships; skills training; job attachment; community service, and scholarship opportunities.
“I am really encouraged and it’s really rewarding to see programmes like these being executed because as we strive to advance ideals of gender equality and eliminate things like violence against women, we really do need to have our men and boys on board,” said Minister Phillip. “The pillars are very important in terms of the social skills… and also providing opportunities for advancement in education. And so, mentees, boys, young men, please take advantage of the opportunities and everything that comes here because we don’t often see opportunities like this come for our boys, but I think this is the start of that shift and that change.”
Junior Minister Phillip commented on the overall objective of the programme “Building Boys Excellence” adding that mentorship is extremely important.
“The value of young people being able to connect and to see something different, something that represents character traits that they may not get in their households or communities – that is what mentorship brings. I want to stress that it is even more important for our men,” she said. “We need to break these gender stereotypes, these notions of toxic masculinity and we don’t talk about them enough, but they are really what contributes to all of these issues and challenges that we have in society when it comes to the violence that we see against women and even against men, so it is really important that we strengthen our mentorship programmes,” Minister Phillip added.
Senator Phillip stressed the importance of both ministries working together, adding that she is very pleased about the partnership established between St. Kitts and Nevis in terms of gender affairs.
“That is a positive relationship that you can count on. I will encourage the advising council to never be afraid to learn from the best practices, learn from the mistakes because we want to strive to, of course, do better,” said the minister. “Where there are opportunities to do that, and to learn from mistakes that St. Kitts’ programme may have had, or the challenges or even the successes, please use the opportunity to do that and know that we are very willing to be able to support in every way,” said the minister.”
The opportunity for Minister Phillip to launch Nevis’ Boys Mentorship Programme follows on from the commitment of the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew to strengthen and improve the relationship between both islands.