||Michelle Belle of Dominica, a participant in the CIWIL Young Women's Transformational Leadership Institute reflecting on the week's training held in Barbados.
Participants in the recently concluded young women’s leadership training programme lauded the training for the tools gained and the supporting network to advance young women’s leadership in the region.
The “Young Women’s Transformational Leadership Programme”, proposed by DAWN Caribbean, and implemented by the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWiL) with funding and technical support from UN Women has three main objectives:
overcoming structural barriers;
encouraging and supporting women to take up leadership roles or participate in decision-making on an equal footing with men;
supporting women to carry out leadership roles which challenge gender inequalities, to engage in feminist activism and promote women’s rights.
Kennethia Douglas of Trinidad and Tobago noted: The programme was very transformational. It has given me new strengths, new vigor that I needed to go forward and forge forth in all the areas I wanted to be involved in. It allowed me to interact with a group of women that are all leaders in their own rights, to work together and support each other in advancing women’s leadership in the Caribbean. As we go forward in our individual countries, the network has been established and the support will continue from henceforth.”
Beginning with an online training module, the programme moved into a residential component with one week of intense and interactive training held in Barbados from 10-15 June 2012. Areas covered included- Transformational Leadership with CARICOM Gender Justice Advocate Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, the Caribbean Political Economy with Dr. Cynthia Barrow-Giles; Caribbean Feminisms and Feminist Organising with Dr. Kamala Kempadoo and Dr. Gabrielle Hosein and Communications and Advocacy with Dr. Tonya Haynes.
Workshop Coordinators, Tamara Huggins and Asha Challenger of CIWiL Antigua explained that the programme is a regional initiative specifically for young women, and on this occasion had 19 participants from six Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
“It was an opportunity to share strategies and training and to give support to building a network of young women who are working on various social and developmental issues affecting young women and men, boys and girls", Ms. Huggins said.
"It's been a fantastic programme, we've really been able to launch into exploring training online through discussion forums etc. which will be an important communications vehicle for the network as an online community. The programme has been greatly supported by UN Women and this is a partnership CIWIL is happy to have as we look to strengthen the support to women in politics, leadership and decision making throughout the entire Caribbean, Ms. Huggins added.
Gabrielle Henderson UN Women Programme Specialist noted: The active participation and engagement shown over the past three weeks both in the online and residential training validates the work that UN Women is doing with CIWiL to support women's transformational leadership.
"Providing enabling spaces for young women which facilitates reflection, self-examination, the questioning of lived and gendered realities, is critical for not only the development and empowerment of young women but to the development and growth of Caribbean societies as a whole".