Women leaders involved in community work throughout region four, recently participated in a special capacity building workshop to enhance their leadership skills and to prepare them for participation in the upcoming Local Government Election later this year. Some participants are already serving members of both Regional and Neighborhood Democratic Councils. The training was organized by the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute, an institution under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection. It is the first in a series of similar workshops to be held is several regions across the country. Present at the opening were: Regional Chairman, Ms. Genevieve Allen, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Protection, Mr. Adrian Ramrattan, Administrator of the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI), Ms. Tricia Watson and members of the Board of Directors of GWLI.
The Workshop is a part of the Ministry’s commitment not only to the development of women, but to the achievement of gender parity and the inclusion of women in decisions that affect their communities, families and lives. Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adrian Ramrattan in his remarks said Gender parity is among the top priorities for the Ministry of Social Protection and it is with this in mind that the Ministry continues to empower women. He noted the importance of the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute in the achievement of Gender Parity and the responsibility of women to take up leadership roles.
He said while progressively women have been successful in overcoming the barriers to participate in the development and decision-making process at both the national and international levels of society; traditional values continue to play a fundamental role in their employment in rural and urban areas. Noting that in most cases, it is still the women who continue to bear the bulk of domestic and child nurturing responsibilities, which overall limit their participation in waged work and other civil responsibilities.
Administrator of the Institute, Ms. Tricia Watson, said it is vital that such workshops be held to break down barriers and continue to improve the individual aspects and institutional competencies of women in their communities. Regional Chairman of Region 4, Ms. Genevieve Allen, told the participants it is imperative that they work together to support each other. She also added that often times when complaints about community infrastructure are made to the Regional office, those complaints come from women. She urged therefore, that women get more involved in the management of their communities at the level of Local Government to have greater control of activities affecting them and their communities.She implored all participants to take the challenge of contesting in their constituencies in the upcoming Local Government Election.
Mr. Vincent Alexander, a GECOM Commissioner, explained to the participants that Local Government is about putting an authority in place in a local area to deal with public affairs and the matters of development for that space. He said it involves both physical development and creating an environment that fosters economic development as well. Ms. Valarie Martin, a participant and resident of Farm, on the East Bank of Demerara – operates a small business in her community and is involved in several community development projects. She said she is looking forward to participating as a candidate in the Local Government Election and has learnt a great deal which would help assist her in the development of her community.
The participants were enthusiastic about the training and all brought varying concerns and interests to the discussion. The Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute is aimed at creating and implementing gender focused education and training programs for women and men in the government, non-government, public, and private sectors in order to promote gender awareness and equity and enable the full participation of women in leadership and decision-making processes throughout society, thereby contributing to the equitable and sustainable development of Guyana.