EU-UN Spotlight Initiative: Belizean Civil Society Organisations improve administrative skills to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG)


Belize CSO Skills Enhancement Training

Members of the civil society in Belize engage in discussions at the workshop. UN Women Photo/Akilah Dorris

BELIZE: On September 18-20, 2023, more than 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) in Belize participated in a two-day workshop to improve their service delivery in gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response to continue supporting more survivors, educating communities and challenging harmful societal norms that perpetuate GBV.

The workshop was part of a series of training hosted under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative  Caribbean Regional Programme and implemented by the UN Women Multi-Country (MCO) Office – Caribbean and the National Women's Commission to equip CSOs with the skills to secure funding opportunities for sustained programmes, manage projects effectively, improve financial planning and ensure accurate reporting for accountability.

Minister of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, The Honourable Dolores Balderamos Garcia, underscored the importance of partnerships and capacity building for local CSOs in ending violence against women and girls.

Hon Balderamos Garcia said: “The government can never fight this fight alone and that is why it is important that all of you civil society organisations are here today. With the support of UN Women and the EU, with the Pastor and civil society present, this is so important to have this partnership.”

According to the UN Women Global Data Portal, Women Count, 7.8% of women in Belize aged 15-49 years reported that they had been subject to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months. Civil society organisations, particularly women-led CSOsare on the front line of the fight to end GBV given their direct contact with the victims and survivors. However, they experience challenges that limit their effectiveness in providing psychosocial services.

Belize CSO Skills Enhancement Training

Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office (MCO) – Caribbean Ms. Tonni Brodber joined the workshop virtually. UN Women Photo

Delivering opening remarks, Representative, UN Women MCO – Caribbean Ms. Tonni Brodber said: “Too often, civil society organisations rise and fall based on the personality of a leader and we don’t necessarily see systemic strengthening.  Regardless of who is at the fore of an organisation, the organisation must be able to thrive, prosper and continue its good work. This is what this type of training will assist with.”

Belize CSO Skills Enhancement Training

Team Leader of the European Union Office in Belize, Mr. Xavier Canton-Lamousse. UN Women Photo/Akilah Dorris

Team Leader of the European Union Office in Belize, Mr. Xavier Canton-Lamousse reminded civil society of their crucial role as the bedrock for advocating for a safer, more equal Belize.

“It [civil society] has an essential role as advocate and promoter of the rights of people, including marginalized groups. Civil society also plays an important monitoring role as watchdog, holding Government to account on its commitments and responsibilities towards the people. For these reasons, it is important that civil society build capabilities to engage in governance mechanisms and contribute to policy-making processes,” said Mr. Canton-Lamousse.
The Regional Spotlight Initiative in the Caribbean is partnering with women’s rights groups, women-led civil society organizations (CSOs), and other relevant community-based CSOs to improve their capacity to influence national and local women’s rights and gender equality agendas and better serve the needs of most marginalized communities.