As COVID-19 Negatively Impacts the Caribbean Tourism Sector, EnGenDER Provides Economic and Food Support to Workers in the Project Countries


EnGenDER Antigua and Barbuda
Photo: DOGA Antigua and Barbuda.

With a national lockdown of Antigua and Barbuda in response to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, some workers in the tourism sector found themselves without work and income. The country’s borders were closed, which meant no arriving flights or cruise ships with tourists. Tourism is Antigua and Barbuda’s main industry and main revenue generator.

Under the Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) Project, funds were reprogrammed to provide an economic and food response for 250 affected workers. The Governments of Canada and the UK through its Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office are funding the joint EnGenDER Project. As part of the COVID-19 response, UN Women through this initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of the Gender Bureaus in meeting the needs of vulnerable women, men and children during this time.

One beneficiary of the EnGenDER’s COVID-19 Response , a taxi driver at the cruise terminal said the impact of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown of the country was a dramatic life changer: “We were in the heart of our season, income was still coming in and we were preparing for the off season when the income would be less. But from March 13th when I left work until today, I have not had an opportunity for income intake and that has been challenging.”

He added that in his eight years in the industry he had never experienced anything like this: “Even in the off-season when cruise ships calls are significantly reduced, there is still an opportunity to make an income… The (food and personal care) package was really helpful; it really filled a hole and it was able to feed my family for a couple of weeks and we were very appreciative.”

Another beneficiary has worked in the food and beverage industry for 19 years and has four children: “From the 30th of March I would have been at home. The hotel had to send home all of the workers,” she explained. She said the assistance provided by the EnGenDER project was very helpful.

UNDP is leading implementation of the EnGenDER project with co-implementation by UN Women, World Food Programme and CDEMA. EnGenDER project countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of Suriname Photo: Directorate of Gender Affairs (DOGA), Antigua As COVID-19 Negatively Impacts the Caribbean Tourism Sector, EnGenDER Provides Economic and Food Support to Workers in the Project Countries.

Read more on the EnGenDER Newsletter: Unravelling Gender Inequalities across the Caribbean at