Rural women to be empowered by new project
February 24, 2015
Rural women to be empowered by new project

Women in rural communities are expected to be empowered by a project which is to come on stream soon.

The project, which was conceptualized by Invest SVG (ISVG) and has been dubbed “Rural Women’s Development and Empowerment Project,” is being funded through {{more}}a 37,000 Euro reimbursement grant from the Caribbean Export Development Agency’s (CEDA) Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS).

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said that the project will see the establishment of agro-processing entities and training clusters in Windward (Stubbs to Fancy) and Leeward (Campden Park to Richmond). Additionally, about 50 women will be assisted in the setting up of businesses, while other women will benefit from training.

“We are looking at what each area would like to focus on. For example, the women bottle black fish oil in Barrouallie and they want to do vacuum packaging of black fish crisps, while in other areas they are interested in making bread from cassava and other things,” said Caesar who added that a needs assessment survey was conducted and projects will be done to facilitate the needs for each area while each area has a different focus.

The project will be coordinated by Hazell-Ann Nero, project officer at Invest SVG, while the six groups of women are located in different agricultural regions with different strengths.

The Minister spoke of the making of products like pepper sauce, jams and jellies, and there is also the hope of making flour from local commodities like dasheen, breadfruit, corn and arrowroot.

“We expect these six groups to begin their work by the end of February and we are putting together the framework for assistance and guidance from the Centre of Enterprise Development and we have assigned technical persons from the Ministry of Agriculture and gathered support from the Cooperatives Division, because, importantly, when a grant comes, we have to make sure that the requisite corporate structures are in place to ensure the viability and sustainability of the business,” noted Caesar.

“At this point in time it is gender specific and targeted at rural women and we thank the donors, as we continue to work with friendly organizations to assist with growth and development and we are thankful that it is the agricultural sector that has been targeted for this grant,” stressed Caesar.

Executive director at Invest SVG Bernadette Ambrose-Black said that said that the overall objective of the project is to strengthen processes that promote economic development of women and create an environment for social change.

She noted that the project was conceptualized to assist marginalized and vulnerable women who are dependent on the informal economy in the country with a focus of improving the livelihood of women in the rural communities and as such, enabling them to better support their families. The targetted areas were chosen by Invest SVG, while the project is initially being funded by ISVG with reimbursements from EU/CEDA. The Ministry of Agriculture is contributing funds towards the project from the Farmers Support Programme.