Sep 29, 2022 News
– Will benefit service providers, policymakers and others who deal with GBV responses
Kaieteur News – The University of Guyana (UG) last week launched the “Resilience against and Disruption of Gender-Based Violence” (GBV) Introductory course for service providers, policymakers, and others who lead GBV and response approaches, including system strengthening.
The 13-week programme is an elective course offered fully online and developed by UG in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the European Union (EU) funded Spotlight Initiative.
According to a release by UN, the course aims to raise awareness of GBV with a focus on causes, consequences, intervention methods and social change. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between GBV and gender power relations, gender roles and norms, as well as how socioeconomic, cultural and religious factors impact the causes and consequences of GBV. Students will also be exposed to global and regional issues related to GBV while gaining a unique local overview of national interventions and learning about the importance of social change strategies toward ending GBV.
The virtual launch saw attendance by EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes; UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Yeşim Oruç; UNICEF Area Representative to Guyana & Suriname, Mr. Nicolas Charles Pron; Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud; Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed Martin and other University and Ministry officials, as well as potential students of the course.
Minister Persaud, during her feature address, noted that it is important that efforts are being made to tackle domestic violence, intimate partner violence and gender-based violence, all of which many consider to be overwhelming issues occurring in the world. “The need is one that is so great that everyone, whether male or female, should be able to be involved in the battle against violence,” the Minister stated. She added that with the launch of the course comes many positives, including the fact that it is free, which makes it accessible to everyone; it is crafted to study many aspects of GBV, and it is compulsory for many students within the University of Guyana structure. The Minister commended the work completed under the Spotlight Initiative, adding that the results completed in just under two years of its implementation make Guyana a leader in the region with regard to its approach to tackling GBV.
EU Ambassador, Rene van Nes, in his remarks, highlighted that, “it is important that everyone understands that gender-based violence is not acceptable and should not be tolerated ever… gender-based violence takes away from girls and women the possibility to be their best, it takes away the most basic need that everyone deserves, and that is to feel safe and to feel respected.’’
The strength of partnerships was the focus of the UN Resident Coordinator’s remarks. Ms. Oruç highlighted that Guyana’s work under the Spotlight Initiative was recognised recently at a Global Symposium in Cancun, Mexico for the results emanating from its partnerships and the dynamism of the partnerships of a broad cross-section of civil society partnerships.
UNICEF’s Representative Mr. Pron welcomed the launch of the course, stating that, “the importance of investment in all efforts to address gender-based violence cannot be overstated, as the long-term consequences affect community and families, whether through increased morbidity and mortality rates, disability and mental health challenges. The economic cost of violence to both family and the nation must also be prevented.”
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mohamed echoed the remarks of her fellow panelists, adding that the course launch is a first step in dealing with the epidemic of domestic violence in Guyana. In addition, Prof. Mohamed reiterated that the University of Guyana is committed to providing academic programmes and engaging in research that address the pervasive issue of Gender-Based Violence in Guyana, and that more collaborative work is on the horizon with UG and other key partners towards transforming gender relations in Guyana. The “Resilience against and Disruption of Gender-Based Violence” course will support the broader plan to strengthen the gender equality unit of the University, including the articulation of a policy on GBV for the University and support for related courses in Social Work, which are also being supported by UNICEF.
The Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous support from the European Union. Its aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Its investments across more than 25 countries are addressing legislative and policy gaps, strengthening institutions, promoting gender-equitable attitudes, and providing quality services for survivors. Interventions are also strengthening systems for collecting data on violence against women and girls and women’s movements. Learn more at www.spotlightinitiative.org.
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