Colleen Lewin, business owner from Clarendon in her rural community shop. (UNDP File Photo)
The Government of Canada through its “Enabling, Gender – Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER)” Project has committed USD$1,149,000 towards efforts to tackle Gender Based Violence (GBV) and COVID-19 in nine participating Caribbean countries including Jamaica.
USD$100,000 has been allocated to Jamaica and will be used to support immediate needs such as access to food and hygiene supplies and provide income and livelihood support including psychosocial support for some of the most vulnerable including women and girls, the elderly, persons living with disabilities and individuals who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19.
UNDP, who will be administering the funding on behalf of Canada, will be partnering with the Government of Jamaica through the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Climate Change Division, UN Women and Civil Society Groups to carry out this work.
More broadly, EnGenDER is a key initiative that seeks to address the issue of climate change impacts particularly on vulnerable groups such as women, children, youth, persons living with disabilities, and indigenous and tribal populations. In light of COVID-19, a portion of the project funding has been tailored to meet the needs of the host-countries’ response to the pandemic.
“Canada continues to be a supportive and responsive partner in Jamaica’s quest towards economic and climate resilience. Our work through the EnGenDER project is yet another example of that commitment – in this case by delivering timely and targeted support to allow Jamaica to strengthen disaster recovery mechanisms,” stated Laurie Peters, High Commissioner for Canada to Jamaica. She further noted: “As a strong advocate when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of women and girls, Canada recognizes the considerable impact of this Covid-19 Pandemic and is pleased to work with UNDP and other partners as Jamaica seeks to advance its Vision 2030 national development agenda in these uncertain times. ”
“While home is a place of refuge for many it can be a terrifying place for some. Violence against Women levels in Jamaica were already high at 27.8 percent of ever-partnered women reporting at least one act of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. After consultation with the National Gender Machinery, UN Women proposed reprogramming to sustainably meet the needs identified by those who provide direct services to survivors. We are thankful that our partners were responsive and flexible to ensure that the programme adapted to meet the immediate needs identified by our partners”, said Tonni Brodber, Head of Office a.i. UN Women MCO Caribbean.
Additionally, COVID-19 has had a very specific impact on women and men’s livelihoods. According to a recent UN Women analysis of the labour force, in Jamaica, 58,387 women compared to 36,316 men work in accommodation and food services, a proxy measure of employment in the tourism sector.
“At the heart of UNDP’s response to the impacts of COVID 19 in Jamaica is a strong focus on meeting the physical and psycho-social needs of the most vulnerable populations with an emphasis on women who will be disproportionately affected. The EnGenDER project will support practical solutions to address these needs as well as provide psychosocial support for those persons who may be impacted during the crisis.” Denise Antonio, Resident Representative, UNDP Jamaica.