DHWFD observes IWD 2018

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


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