Gender Affairs Unit
NGO's Collaborate on IDB Project to Develop Male Adolescents as "Agents of Change"

Head table leading the discussions. From left: Ms. Neeca Brathwaite, Senior Operations Associate, IDB Country Office, T&T; Mr. Kevin Liverpool, Administrator, CARIMAN; Ms. Laurence Telson, Senior Operations Specialist, Gender and Diversity Division, Social Sector of the IDB and Mr. Micheal Stewart, Founder and President of BMEN.

“We have a proposal that seeks to promote healthy masculinity and increase empathy among our men and boys.” This according to Ms. Laurence Telson, Senior Operations Specialist, Gender and Diversity Division, Social Sector of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Ms. Telson was the main guest at a meeting convened by the BMEN organisation at the newly established Blue Room, Fort King George, Tobago. The meeting was held on 30th January, 2020 and comprised representatives of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that work with men and boys. In addition to BMEN, these groups included Choice Foundation, Tobago Prisons Youth Clubs and Rights of Passage Boys to Men.

 
Tobago Men Welcome Blue Room

The ribbon has been cut! Officials cut the ribbon to launch the Blue Room.
The Blue Room – Men’s Health Services was launch today, Tuesday 19th November, 2019 by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, at the Tobago Rehabilitation and Empowerment Centre (TREC) Compound, Fort Street, Scarborough (Old Scarborough Hospital).

 
UN Women Executive Board Discuss Collaborations re Gender Based Violence

The UN Women Executive Board delegation meets with Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister of State in the OPM (Gender Affairs Unit) [seated: 3rd from left]; Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus, Presiding Officer of the THA [seated: 2nd from left] and Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development [standing 4th from left]. Mrs. Penelope Beckles, President of the Executive Board, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN is seated at left.

On Monday 20th May, 2019, the UN Women Executive Board met with Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender Affairs Unit); Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus, Presiding Officer of the THA and Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development to discuss areas of collaborations re gender based-violence (GBV). The meeting occurred at the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender Affairs Unit).

 

Areas of collaborations include a foundation programme spearheaded by the OPM (Gender Affairs Unit) to work with young people in schools and other education institutions to prevent gender-based violence. Additionally, the Board was apprised of several other initiatives to prevent gender based-violence, which the Board gave their full support through sharing of resources. Some of the initiatives include: men and boys initiatives, self defence initiative for women, research, barber shop initiative, creation of a male space, and execution of a youth series. At the meeting it was also identified that monitoring and evaluation must be increased to properly assess the challenges experienced with GBV initiatives.

 

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. They work with Governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. UN Women works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls.

 
Overwhelming Response from Men at Prostate Cancer Seminars

A cross section of the audience at the Betsey’s Hope / Louis D’or Multipurpose Facility.

Over 300 men from Tobago East and West responded to the call for men to attend the Prostate Cancer Seminars which were held by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (Health Services Support Programme), UWI St. Augustine Researchers, T&T Chapter of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences and the National Union of Government and Federated Workers. The seminars were held on Monday 27th May at the Scarborough Library and Tuesday 28th May at the Betsey’s Hope / Louis D’or Multipurpose Facility.

In her brief remarks at the first seminar, Dr. Carrington expressed “Prostate Cancer should be a priority for all persons in Trinidad and Tobago.” She explained that once men are affected by Prostate Cancer, the entire family is affected. Dr. Carrington reiterated that the seminars are being held as a means of ensuring early detection and prevention, through education to our stakeholders. She admonished the men “after these seminars, ensure to present at our institutions for early screening”.

Professor Trevor Alleyne, Chairman of the T&T Chapter of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences and Professor, Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, St. Augustine expressed thanks to the Secretary for collaborating on the initiative and he also encouraged the men in attendance to get screened early to decrease the high incidence to prostate Cancer in the Caribbean region.

ars, men engaged in a robust question and answer segment with the presenters.

 
DHWFD celebrates International Women's Day

Administrator and staff at the Division pose for a photo in observance of International Women's Day

The Division has joined the #BalanceforBetter campaign by showcasing the staff in support of this initiative.

A balanced world is a better world. Continue to forge a more gender-balanced world by celebrating women's achievements; raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.

Happy International Women's Day to all Women and Girls!!!

 
Message in Celebration of International Women’s Day 2019

Happy International Women's Day!!

Dr. Agatha Carrington

Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development

As we join with the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we must acknowledge and celebrate the progress of women in Trinidad and Tobago over the years. Our country’s history now boasts of a female President and Prime Minister; more women and girls are pursuing and succeeding in fields of work that have been traditionally male dominated and many women are now breadwinners, while still nurturing their families. In 2019, women now have real choices and they are exploiting those opportunities.

Despite these successes, the daily story of millions of women and girls worldwide is not one of success, attainment and accomplishments. Instead, it is a frightening story of alarming discrimination, economic disparity and appalling violence. The unfortunate fact is that worldwide, some women are still not being paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in some professions and violence against women and girls is alarming. We must strike the balance to make things better for ALL our women and girls worldwide!

The 2019 campaign for International Women’s Day, “#BalanceforBetter”, is a call for everyone to play a part in building a gender-balanced world, which is essential for economies and communities to thrive; gender-balanced government, employees, media coverage etc. This message is more important than ever today and International Women's Day is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about gender balance wherever you are. Every man, woman and child, can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender balance more rapidly; help women and girls accomplish their aspirations, call for gender-balanced leadership and develop more inclusive cultures that root out things like workplace bias.

Equally important, the Division of Health and Wellness and Family Development reiterates its commitment to achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls everywhere, including human trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Today on International Women's Day, I pledge that the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development will continue to work with its partners to seek gender-balance, fairness and equality for women throughout our communities while seeking to end the violence that undermines this work.  

Make every-day International Women’s Day and do your part in ensuring the future of our women and girls is safe and secure. Let us continue to pool all our efforts to develop a gender balanced society for the betterment of our women, girls and society.

 
DHWFD Honours Michael Stewart on International Men’s Day

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, (left, front row), Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development and. Mrs. Dianne Baker-Henry, (right, front row) Administrator pose for a photo with some of the men of the Division after they were honoured.

“As we recognize our men on International men’s Day, it is important to highlight the excellent work being done by some of our men, who succeed in empowering other men in our society.” This according to Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development at an event held today, 19th November, at the Division’s Head Office, to honour the men of the Division and Michael Stewart for his contributions toward empowering other men in Tobago and to celebrate International Men’s Day with other men of the Division.

 
Dietitians Excite Clients on Information about Diet and Exercise

The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development in collaboration with the Tobago Regional Health Authority continued with the year-long agenda to “PressforProgress” by conducting a series of educational workshops at various Health Centres throughout Tobago on the topic “Women and Healthy Living – Diet and Exercise” Sessions commenced on Tuesday, 1st May, 2018 at the Charlotteville and Scarborough Health Centres and continued throughout the week at Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Mason Hall and Scarborough Health Centres.

The dietitian Mrs. Sydelle Gibson-Mahabir shared information on how diet plays a vital role in preserving the nutritional status of women at the various stages of their lives. Additionally, she shared how diet can improve the quality of life of persons with polycystic ovary syndrome, osteoporosis and menopause. Clients also engaged in a brief exercise session and were encouraged to engage in regular exercise sessions at home. Though the focus was on women, men also comprised the audience and they were encouraged to share the information with their female family members and friends.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of generations of women. IWD is celebrated annually on March 8th and the theme for this year’s celebration is “Press for Progress.” This day furthers the call to action for increasing gender parity, challenging stereotypes and bias, forging positive visibility of women, influencing others’ beliefs and actions and celebrating women’s achievements. Though celebrated on March 8th, IWD activities continue throughout the year as many groups worldwide adopt the IWD campaign theme for further campaign work, gender-focused initiatives, activities and events.

The “Women and Healthy Living – Diet and Exercise” initiative is one of several activities being held by the Division, in collaboration with the TRHA, in commemoration of International Women’s Day. This activity is being held to celebrate women and empower them to take care of their health in order to #pressforprogress, particularly since women experience various health challenges that are primarily linked to their diet and exercise.



 
Women's Reproductive Health Lecture

Participants at the lecture follows instructions to stretch from Dr. Kamaria Keens Dumas Jack

As the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development continues with its efforts to raise awareness of women’s issues and fulfil the mandate of this year’s theme for International Women’s Day 2018 to “#PressforProgress,” the Division, in collaboration with the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) hosted a lecture on Women’s Reproductive Health on Monday 9th April, 2018 at the Scarborough General Hospital.

In her brief welcome Ms. Ingrid Melville, Deputy Chairman and CEO (Ag.), TRHA conveyed her desire for participants to have a better understanding of, and learn how to manage the issues that affect women.

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, in her opening remarks explained “notwithstanding the gains we have made in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights… all of which contributed to the significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals…critical gaps continue to exist.” She went on to explain that maternal mortality, unsafe abortions and physical and sexual violence continue to affect our women, which has led to sexual and reproductive health rights being a pillar in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Carrington encouraged the female attendees to “be as healthy as you can be.” She added that we should pay attention to our sexual health, “which is the enhancement of life and personal relations, and not merely counselling and care related to reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.” The Secretary also encouraged safe motherhood and shared the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) commitment to support reproductive health rights. She said “The THA began a collaboration with the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), which would be formally launched in May 2018.” [to support proper family planning].

The two and a half hour lecture was broken into three segments which began with Dr. Kamaria Keens-Dumas-Jack, Physiotherapist II at the TRHA. The focus during this session was on the ‘Importance of Movement for Health,’ particularly for women in the workplace. Interactive and filled with information, Dr. Keens-Dumas Jack gave helpful tips to maintain good posture when standing and while at one’s desk, the effects of carrying a heavy handbag such as the ‘Thoracic Outlets Syndrome,’ and the causes of Musculoskeletal Disorders that are common at the office, but preventable.

Dr. Leslie Bishop, Specialist Medical Officer, in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the TRHA, focused her presentation on Women’s Reproductive Health. “In 2018, we cannot have females being absent from work or school every month due to menstrual cramps,” Dr. Bishop stated as she openly declared that she was advocate for ‘the pill.’ Her presentation included the benefits and effects of its use, contraceptive options and the effects of each, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and understanding the female’s body during menstruation.

Nurse Rose Ambrose, attached to the Mobile Screening Unit of the TRHA, stressed the importance for the female to truly know her body. She urged attendees, “once you have become sexually active, this changes everything and you must make it a habit to get your regular checks [Pap smear].” Nurse Ambrose advised that self-checks can be done at home and this can be the first step in identifying if something is wrong with one’s body.

Participants were free to ask questions throughout the lecture and the presenters made every effort to answer during their respective sessions. Although outnumbered by the primarily all-female audience, the few males who were present still took the opportunity to ask pertinent questions. Representatives from NGOs, youth groups, government institutions and staff of the Division and the TRHA were present.

 
DHWFD observes IWD 2018

Attendees take a group photograph with the Secretary and Administrator of the Division.


“These activities being launched today are in no way new, but we will use our routine activities as a platform to focus on our women”. This was the revelation made by Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development during her remarks at a Breakfast Meeting to Launch the Division’s Calendar of Events in celebration of International Women’s Day. The launch was held at the Division’s Head Office, today, 8th March, 2018.

Dr. Carrington said “International Women’s Day does not just end today [8th March] but it continues…women’s issues are so complex that we need several opportunities to deal with them, so for the entire year, we are coming with these several activities.” The Secretary further explained “through our services at the Primary Care Services of the TRHA and our Family Development Department of the Division, we will continue our work and heighten the conversations around our women’s issues.”

Dr. Carrington said “on this day, many persons choose to focus on women who are domestically abused, which is important, but when we look at our calendar of activities, we recognize that emphasis must be placed on several other areas to educate and empower our women to Press for Progress.” Dr. Carrington shared the series of activities planned for the year and elaborated on why it was necessary to focus on each area. Some areas of focus include: Women’s Reproductive Health, Focus Group Discussions on the Changing role of Women in the Tobago Society, Women Overcoming Substance Abuse, Women and Nutrition, Seniors International Conference on Elder Abuse and Women coping with Differently-abled Children. 


Mr. Nigel Phillip, Gender Officer at the Division in his welcome shared the purpose, importance and significance of celebrating International Women’s Day. He said, “ The theme for International Women’s Day is “Press for Progress”, which is a universal call to increase gender parity, challenge stereotypes and bias, forge positive visibility of women, influence others’ beliefs and actions and celebrate women’s achievements.” He also encouraged stakeholders to continue to partner with the Division in the execution of all its initiatives. He explained “the Division cannot advance the universal calls to action alone but we need you our stakeholders on-board to assist with our initiatives that aim to enhance the lives of others that we serve.”

 The attendees had the opportunity to candidly share their opinions and ask questions. Sergeant Wendy Ann Morton, Head of the Child Protection Unit of the TTPS (Tobago Division) supported the initiatives of the Division and expressed “our women need to be empowered to share the information about the persons who perpetrate the rights of our women and children”. Ms. Marlene George of Carib Dixie Land Pan Group asked if the Division can consider providing Respite services for mothers who may be become stressed with their motherly duties. Dr. Carrington explained “though the Division cannot provide Respite services due to the huge cost factor, those mothers can benefit from parenting skills training.” Rev. Annette James, representative of the Moravian Church Conference added, “all our women are leaders and we need to work together…we can share our experiences in managing stress and all that is working for us with those mothers who need help.”

Over twenty five organizations were represented at the meeting with female representatives. Some of these organizations included: People against Domestic Abuse, Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, Signal Hill Police Youth Club, Women in Action, Citizen Security Programme among other organzations.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of generations of women. IWD is celebrated annually on March 8th and the theme for this year’s celebration is “Press for Progress.” This day furthers the call to action for increasing gender parity, challenging stereotypes and bias, forging positive visibility of women, influencing others’ beliefs and actions and celebrating women’s achievements.

The Secretary and staff of the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development wishes all women in Tobago, Trinidad and the world a Happy International Women’s Day and encourages all women to #PressforProgress.

 
International Women's Day 2018

Here is a schedule of upcoming events hosted by the Division, and the TRHA, all with the aim for our women to #PressforProgress! Save the dates! Keep tuned to the Division's Facebook page and website for details of these activities as they approach!

#PressforProgress

 
WeTEC hosts 16 Days of Activism

Visitors at the Launch of the 16 days of Activism

The Women’s Empowerment and Technological Centre (WeTec), in collaboration with the Gender Affairs Unit, under the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, observed International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (a UN observance) by launching “16 Days of Activism” from Friday 24th November, 2017.

The aim of the 16 day-long observance was to bring awareness to the Tobago public about the related issues of gender based violence and provide information on women’s health issues in relation to the impact abuse can have on the body and mind. In addition, the events aimed to engage the Tobago public to know, understand and recognise the effects of domestic violence and share information that can impact behaviour change in the general attitude of individuals who are abused and abuse.

The series of events launched with a Public Awareness and Information Fair at the Gulf City Mall, Lowlands, followed by a Domestic Violence Discussion: “Awareness Saves Lives,” a workshop on Human Trafficking, conversations on Gender Based Violence held at the Roxborough Secondary School and at the Scarborough Library, and it concluded with a Women’s Health Fair at the Lowlands Mall.

 
The DHSS WISE Awards

Attendees at the DHSS WISE Awards
WISE. Women and Service and in Excellence. This was the acronym given to the Division of Health and Social Services' award to women who have made contributions and continues to make strides in different areas towards the development of Tobago.

 
Anti-Bullying Prize Ceremony

Secretary of Health and Social Services takes a photo with the winners of the Anti-Bullying Art Competiton
The Gender Affairs Unit, under the Division of Health and Social Services, hosted an Anti-Bullying Art Competition for the students of the primary school throughout the island of Tobago. Numerous entries from schools such as the Charlotteville Methodist Primary School to the Parlatuvier Government Primary School to the Buccoo Government Primary School. Children from ages six to ten years old portrayed theor creative and artistic abilities to depict the theme 'STOP the Bullying!'

Present at the Prize Giving Ceremony was Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke, as she encouraged teachers, parents and representatives from other organisations to work with students to ensure that they are comfortable in their spaces, be it at home, at school or when engaged in other leisurely activities.

Ten students were highlighted for their exceptional pieces and awarded with Certificates of Participation. Winners of the Anti-Bullying Art Competition were:

1st place: Kellisha Callender, Ebenezer Methodist Primary School

2nd place: Emile Joseph, Tablepiece Government Primaery School

3rd place: Raylon Taylor, Signal Hill Government Primary School

The first, second and third place winners received a Wii Nintendo Game Consol, a Samsung 7" Tablet and a Nintendo DS 2, respectively. 

 
DHSS celebrates women

Employees of the Division at the International Women's Day event.
The Division of Health and Social Services began its celebration of International Women's Day on Friday 6th February, 2015 at the Division's Head Office at Glen Road, Scarborough. This initial event was held to honour the great number of women employed within the Division who work tirelessly to ensure the work of the organisation is done.

The UN theme for this year's international observance is "Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It." Other women's interest groups have added their motto to International Women's Day as "Women: Making it Happen."

Present at the function to give a feature address and to support the women in the Division was the Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke. Secretary Groome-Duke gave her reassurances that her Division was doing all that they can to improve the livelihood of women at work, at the home, at the community and throughout Tobago with the impementation and continuation of the Division's social programmes.

The Secretary further added that the Division would be honouring women until Mother's Day with various activities within the various Divisions. 

The Division of Health and Social Services wishes all women a Happy International Women's Day!!

 
DHSS WISE Awards

WISE-Awards-header
The Division of Health and Social Services will commemorate International Women's Day 2015 with the introduction of the (Women In Service and Excellence) WISE Awards. This will be the first of an annual recognition ceremony to honour women in Tobago who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities towards the development of the Tobago community. Thirty-four (34) outstanding women will be recognised to coincide with the continuing celebrations of the Tobago House of Assembly's thirty-four years of existence.

Download the form today and nominate a woman who you think is WISE! 

 
STOP the violence against Women!

Say NO to Women's Violence
The Secretary of Health and Social Services publicly addressed the people of Tobago, today, in observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The UN's campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women invites all to "Orange Your Neighbourhood" with orange as the official colour for its observance. Below is the excerpt of the Secretary speech:

As we observe International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, the Tobago House of Assembly reaffirms its commitment to preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. Every year, we are reminded how women are beaten in their homes, harassed on the streets, bullied on the internet.   Violence against women is not “only” a “woman’s issue”: it is a priority for all men and all women who are committed to contributing to the development of our society. It is violence against us all.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Orange your Neighbourhood”.  We are taking this campaign to the streets, shops and businesses, and we are encouraging you to organize “Orange Events” in your own neighbourhoods between 25th November and 10th December 2014.

Violence against women is a universal phenomenon. Recent global figures by the World Health Organization indicate that 35% of women world -wide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.  It is a major public health problem and violation of women’s human rights.  A 2013 report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) indicated that between 41% and 82% of women who were abused by their partner experienced a physical injury, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones, miscarriages, and burns. It further reported that between 28% and 64% did not seek help or speak to anyone about their experience of violence. Many victims stay silent, either in fear of the consequences of speaking up or because they believe themselves responsible for the violence.

While Trinidad and Tobago has an admirable track record and an enviable reputation internationally, with regard to promoting the rights of women and girls, provisional figures from the Crime and Problem Analysis Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service indicate that for the period 1st January 2004 to 28th February 2014, fifteen thousand, three hundred and twelve (15, 312) reports of domestic violence were received. Offences ranged from psychological abuse to murder. The greatest numbers of reports were for “assault by beating” and “threat” which was 7,404 and 4,871 respectively.  A geographical analysis revealed that the majority of cases occurred in Trinidad with 20 cases occurring in Tobago. In the case of murder as a result of domestic violence, 239 persons were victims.   These figures should concern all of us. Whether it occurs in our own neighborhood or on distant shores, violence against women and girls damages us all – men and women alike.

In 1995, close to 20 years ago, 189 governments came together in Beijing. They adopted a Platform for Action that spelled out key strategies to end violence against women that address the root causes of gender inequality.

Addressing violence against women and girls is not just a moral imperative. It is an economic necessity. In addition to the psychological and emotional fees we pay, we also pay the medical bills and legal costs. We lose wages and productivity. Businesses lose employees. Families lose primary wage-earners. In short, we simply cannot afford to let gender-based violence continue. Here in Tobago we are appealing to our men and boys including our male leaders, let us show the world that our men can lead the way in joining our women to end this scourge in society. 

The Division of Health and Social Services implements effective prevention strategies to empower women, increase their knowledge in technology, entrepreneurship and self- sufficiency as they strive to achieve gender equality. This incorporates better services for women surviving violence, such as hotlines, shelters, legal advice, access to justice, counselling, police protection, and health services. The Division pursues more accurate reporting rates, better data collection, and strengthened analyses of risk and prevalence factors. In this regard, we provide greater support for organizations, which are often on the frontline of the response.   We intend to embrace more men and boys, women and girls, who are standing up against violence, denouncing it, and stopping it in District Gender Focal Point Groups

We are about to launch the programme, “Bago Men For Women”, (BMW) a  campaign to engage men boys, women and girls as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.

In 2013, The Tobago House of Assembly partnered with the Global Center for Behavioural Health (GCBH) USA, in hosting the 1st Caribbean Conference on Domestic Violence and Gender Equality: Breaking the Silence. The Conference brought together technical experts and stakeholders from several countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, and facilitated critical conversations about strengthening prevention strategies and responses to gender-based violence.

 

Ending violence against women and girls has a central place in our Comprehensive Economic Development framework.  For the very first time this fiscal year, funds have been allocated for Gender in the Recurrent Budget and resources are targeted at the provision of quality services and effective prevention strategies. Now is the time for action As Secretary of Health and Social Services with responsibility for Gender Affairs, as an Assemblyman and as a woman, I call on all persons of influence locally, nationally and internationally, to take action to end all forms of violence against women and girls.    It is the shared responsibility of each and every one of us.  We will continue to socialize our boys and men to treat girls and women as equals, with dignity and respect. The Gender Affairs Unit will join the international and national community in sixteen days of activism to raise awareness of the fight to end violence against women and girls and will continue a year-long campaign that will focus on the roles of and concerns related to men and women. We need to take action now.   We all need to work together to empower girls to speak up for themselves, and educate boys to speak up for their sisters. We must ultimately overcome the deep-rooted gender inequalities and discriminatory practices. Let us protect our women and Girls and liberate them from fear and from silence. Together we must make 2015 the year that marks the beginning of the end of gender inequality and Gender violence for a brighter future in Tobago.

 

 
WE-TEC's workshop on Domestic Violence

Tobago THETA Company during one of their scenes at the Domestic Violence workshop
The Women's Economic and Technological and Empowerment Centre (WE-TEC), a programme under the Gender Affairs Unit of the Division of Health and Social Services, embarked on a Domestic Violence workshop at various secndary schools throughout Tobago. The aim of this project was to make students aware of the effects of Domestic Violence within the many environments in Tobago.

The facilitators of this workshop was the Tobago THETA Company, who delivered the message through drama by re-enacting real life scenarios and allowing students to give feedback on the scenes displayed. The method of using drama as a learning tool is proving to be one of the most successful ways to teach and to get one's message across.

Manager of WE-TEC, Ms Sherla McKenzie, was pleased by the interaction of the students with the THETA group. It is believed that knowledge would change the perceptions of both boys and girls about Domestic Violence and WE-TEC would continue on its drive to educate the Tobago public and empower the women of Tobago.

 
Father's Day Thanksgiving Service

Secretary Claudia Groome-Duke gives a token to an officer at the serviceThe Gender Affairs Unit, under the Department of Social Services, of the Division of Health and Social Services hosted a Father's Day Thanksgiving Service on Thursday 12th June, 2014 to honour the fathers

 
International Women's Day 2014

A cross section of the participants in the walk

The Gender Affairs Unit, under the Department of Social Services, of the Division of Health and Social Services celebrated International Women's Day 2014 with a walk on Thursday 6th March, 2014 with a walk from APT James Park (Uptown Scarborough) to Ghany Building, Wilson Road.

International Women's Day is commemorated on March 8th annually to celebrate women's achievements and re-commit to treating with the problems still faced by women and girls worldwide. This year's observation was themed "Inspiring Change" and is aimed at encouraging advocacy for women's advancement. The theme also calls for challenging the status quo for women's equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

The Division of Health and Social Services teamed up with the Tobago Regional Health Authority to highlight the importance of women to the growth of Tobago's society and also to provide psychological stress testing, HIV testing, blood sugar cholestorol and blood pressure testing, in addition to displays on Cancer Screening, Breastfeeding, Nutrition and other health awareness tips.

 
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 2013

Secretary with groupThe Women's Economic and Technological Empowerment Centre, under the Division of Health and Social Services, recognised the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is observed internationally on 25th November, 2013. The aim of this international day was to raise awareness of the fact that women and girls around the world are subjected to many forms of violence.