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USING SUSTAINABLE RESOURCES TO CREATE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT WHILE PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY & CONSERVATION

Protect community through cultivation of organic foods, environmental literacy and economic empowerment.

Photo of Catherine Sealys
9 2

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The vision of this project is to develop capacity building capabilities of women and young girls of Anse La Raye and Canaries through training in agro processing using fruits, vegetable, fresh fish, various herbs and spices to and micro business skills and to gain enhanced awareness and improved life skills, improving family situation and income through which women and girls in the Anse La Ray & Canaries communities can be empowered with economic and financial capacity to enable them to uplift themselves and community from poverty.

http://ryvslu.org/

Explain your idea

• Provide inputs for kitchen gardens to begin the production of organic herbs and spices for agro processing;
• explore various scents, taste and combination of herbs and spices for seasoning, seafood preparation, candied fruits, pickled vegetables, etc using natural and organic inputs;
• measure the inputs required to provide school uniforms for the infant, primary school and secondary schools within those communities, these same inputs will be used for soft furnishing and some artisanal creations such as accent pieces (chairs, tables, lamps, footstools, etc.);
• measure inputs required to create a network of artisans to create unique craft pieces including branding and marketing for the tourism sector branded “Gifts of Saint Lucia”;
• collect baseline data on how waste is disposed and managed, livelihood activities, household capacity to provide basic needs, general community needs, etc

• to train women and girls aged 16 to 35 in agro processing, sewing, creation of artisanal pieces through this economic and livelihoods center.

• The community will be able to save their income and improve their household level; this project will hopefully be a good source of income and thus will give their families a better life.

• The vision is to empower women economically while learning an important life skill. This would help lift their families out of poverty and give them hope for the future.

• It is a fact that if you don’t work you don’t earn and have nothing to survive on. We hope self -sufficient women and girls will be the first stop to lifting what has long been identified as the poorest communities out of poverty.

Who Benefits?

Several factors make it difficult for women in Anse La Raye and Canaries to achieve their full potential: limited schooling, limited economic development, limited commitment by relevant stakeholders to do the necessary interventions, etc. These factors contribute to the deterioration of health, housing, and economic conditions of the households and for women having to support their households, a reliable source of income is crucial. Also, there is a lack of formal work opportunities for women living in these communities which would allow women and girls to obtain stable income generating jobs. This project will facilitate the women, girls and heads of households to engage in activities that would improve the quality of life and financial status for their families while learning to use natural resources in a sustainable way while earning livelihoods.

How is your idea unique?

Although fishing communities, Anse La Raye and Canaries has been identified in multiples reports as being the poorest communities in Saint Lucia, also, these communities are further affected by floods every time we experience a natural disaster. No specific effort has been forth coming as to how to raise these communities from abject poverty and protect them from natural disasters escalated by climate change. Our aim is to start a grass roots projects with women and girls 16-35 to move these communities forward into economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, climate and environment literate citizens.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about you

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc was founded in February 2013 our main purpose to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable women and children who are victims of violence.
We currently assist over 400 individuals including families who are victims of violence by providing victims aid, advocacy, counseling and psychological support services, legal aid and basic food clothing and rental assistance.
Secured a perpetual donation of medicines and medical supplies from AmeriCares, working in partnership with St. Jude’s Hospital and the Procurement Unit of the Ministry of Health for use at all public health facilities, the Ministry of Health has benefited to the tune of over eight million US dollars’ worth of medicines and medical supplies from September 2015.
Presented a declaration for action to former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony on International Women's Day March 2016, recommending changes to specific pieces of legislation to realize gender equality, to minimize violence against women and children and to ensure swift access to justice;
Successfully organized a March on 25th November, 2015 supported by business both the public and private sector to say no to violence against women and children.
Donation of kitchen equipment to Upton Gardens Girls Center to assist catering students attending the institution;
Met with Commissioner of Police to discuss critical issues regarding violence against women and children particularly the prevalence of rape incidents and to offer assistance with the setting up of the new sexual assault victims unit;
Met with Minister of Social Justice and National Security to discuss issues within the social services and justice system which affects women and children, including the closure of the forensic laboratory and lack of access to swift justice for victims of violence;
Secured a grant from 100 Women Who Cares St. Lucia which was used to produce and air PSA's to create public education and awareness on violence against women and children; these PSA’s was aired throughout the OECS and parts of North America.
Raise Your Voice is presently undertaking an ambitious project to raise funds to establish a Rape Crisis Center for Saint Lucia and have actively commenced fund raising in this stead.
Received a grant of £13,450 from the United Kingdom High Commission to fund a project entitled “Improving Service Delivery and Strengthening Institutional Response of Social Services Agencies in Saint Lucia” This project commenced in January 2017 and will end in May 2018. The activities under this project include:

Collaborated United & Strong & Human Right Watch to undertake a video documentation “Lack of Access to Justice Project in the OECS”
Received approval from Thomas Reuters Foundation (Trust Law) for technical assistance i.e. Legal Law Drafters draft legislation taking into consideration all existing legislation to protect victims of revenge pornography and bring to justice.
We have the expertise inhouse

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Melinda Kramer
Team

Thank you for sharing this important work! I was just wondering how the women participating in the project are selected, and if there are more details on the training itself -- i.e. is there a Training of Trainers aspect of the project that will build the women's capacity to then go on to train other women in their community on self-sufficient enterprises? Could you speak a bit more about the intersection of your work with the promotion of eco-literacy and conservation? And are the women you work with facing any other social barriers that could potentially still prohibit their success if not addressed through the program (i.e. If their husbands/fathers are heads of household, are the women able to keep their earnings, or will those earnings go to their husbands, as they might in other areas?). If so, does your program plan to support advocacy leadership or community education in a way that would engage the larger community in these empowerment efforts? Thank you so much for sharing this challenge, and best of luck!

Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

We have identified a former agricultural research station compound to establish this project facilities, it requires upgrading and retrofitted to include a training center and technical workshops, there is extensive land space for a herbal garden to produce essential oils and other condiments, fruits and vegetables for agro processing, arts and craft, sewing, manufacturing of specific and unique pieces of furniture,etc.
There are about 3, 879 women in the community of Anse La Raye/Canaries over 70% are unemployed and have no visible means of income, out vision is to create a program where we identify the community leaders and train them - Personal Empowerment, Climate Literacy, Public Awareness & Education on the SDG’s, Public Speaking, Letter Writing, Telephone Etiquette, Sales & Marketing, Small Business Management etc, these initial batch of women will serve as the facilitators to train, empower and mentor other women in the community. We will also work with the women to identifying the specific skills or task they are passionate about, for example, growing herbs and spices, creating craft pieces, sewing, agro processing, water shed management and protection, to name a few.
After the initial personal empowerment training the women and girls will be given technical training in their chosen field using mostly locally grown inputs.
Samples of the product line will be produced and delivered to future customers for testing and feedback.
Since these communities has been affected over the years by every natural disaster it is important to ensure climate literacy and environmental management becomes a way of life and while we will use natural resources we would ensure that inputs such as seed, seedlings, plants, etc are distributed to residents to ensure sustainable use and supply to the project by selling locally grown organic inputs for processing. Climate change has greatly affected these communities and the SDG's are a key factor in any project.
The only barrier to the success of the project is finance, in our culture while domestic violence is an issue women are not prohibited from participation and employment by their partners, women in most cases are heads of households. Our advocacy to empower women against violence and gender equality is ongoing as we conduct community outreach once each month, at those community meetings we deal with violence against women and girls, common law relationships - your rights and responsibilities, preparing employment application, how to dress for interviews and also provide clothing, personal care items and transportation fees for women to ensure they get available opportunities to be independent and sustainable.
While our mandate are women and girls we do recognize men's role, therefore, we conduct empowerment classes and sessions for men once a month in different communities to educate them on the harmful and dangerous effects of violence against women and girls, this program has converted quite a few men to become advocates.
RAISE YOUR VOICE SAINT LUCIA INC will engage technical and other personnel to work with women to develop a viable and sustainable business enterprise using the participatory type cooperative model where the intended beneficiaries will be the owners, managers and workers.
We look forward to winning this award for the women and girls of the communities of Anse La Ray & Canaries.

Photo of Melinda Kramer
Team

Catherine, thank you so much for this incredibly thoughtful and comprehensive feedback! This project seems well-planned indeed! I love that you are training women in the appropriate skills they will need to generate income in an area they are passionate about. That is a great way to truly meet community members where they are at. Best of luck!

Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

Thank you very much we look forward to being contenders and we are also grateful for the opportunity to submit this project which has been our vision since 2012.

Photo of Women Win
Team

Hi Catherine,
Can you please contact me at s.murray@womenwin.org. We'd love to talk more about this project.
Thank you
Sarah Murray - U.S. Director, Women Win

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Raise Your Voice!

Thank you for sharing your project. Is this your website- www.ryvslu.org/?
Would you include a link to your website in your project submission form?
I am copying in Ashley Tillman for her feedback.

Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

yes this is our website www.ryvslu.org and would be happy to post a link to our site

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Thanks Kate!

Raise Your Voice, thanks for contributing to the Challenge and sharing the important work you are doing in St. Lucia!

It sounds like you are doing a lot of work, I'd be interested to learn a little more about the group you plan to pilot and test your project with and what are the ways you see this grant being able to help your program?

To continue to evolve your post make here's a document with some tips for creating your post: https://challenges.openideo.com/blog/anatomy-of-a-challenge-ideaf + for inspiration, check out the winning Ideas from a past Amplify Challenge: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-empowerment-challenge/winning-ideas

I am really excited to learn more about your program!

Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

We want to create a revolution in those two communities by empowering women and girls to become self sufficient and independent. Our program will initiate personal empowerment, technical training in the production of local snacks, national wear, school uniforms, soft furnishings for the hotel industry and agro processing using sustainable local resources such as fish, local fruits and vegetables packaged and sold to visitors and hotels, while working with our overseas embassies to source external markets to export. It is important that these villages begin to be productive and self sufficient to avoid the prevalence of violence of women and girls where women and forced to remain in abusive relationships because they are not able to earn a living independently. The grant will be used to setup the center, retrofit, procure equipment and initial supplies, train and empower women to earn sustainable livelihoods.