Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Over 20 representatives from Government, employers and trade unions in Belize graduate from ILO Gender Entrepreneurship Together Programme


Twenty-one tripartite officials from across Belize are now better equipped to provide sustainable business development support to women-owned enterprises after successfully completing the International Labour Organization (ILO) Gender Entrepreneurship Together (GET Ahead) Training of Trainers Programme.

Their achievement was culminated in a graduation ceremony on 7th July 2023 at the United Nations House in Belmopan, where they received a certificate of participation from Mr. Dennis Zulu, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office of the Caribbean.

“By addressing gender inequality and maximizing the potential of women business owners, we can create sustainable enterprises that in turn create decent jobs, a stronger private sector as well as more prosperous and resilient communities,” said Mr. Zulu as he awarded the GET Ahead graduates with their certificates.

Graduates of the Gender Entrepreneurship Together (GET Ahead) Training Programme celebrate with officials from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Caribbean Office.

Other ILO Caribbean officials at the event included Deputy Director, Mr. Lars Johansen, Senior Programme Officer, Ms. Ingerlyn Caines-Francis, and National Project Officer for Belize, Ms. Pamela Bradley. Also in attendance were Ms. Lenni George and Mr. Nat Clegg of the Development Alchemist, the consultancy agency that conducted the training, as well as Dr. Geraldo Flowers, Programme Manager from the Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) Project, which collaborated with the ILO team to deliver the training.

Drawing on resources and technical guidance from the ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) team in Geneva, Switzerland, the GET Ahead accreditation aims to create a cadre of trainers able to roll out the training of entrepreneurs with a particular emphasis on women-owned businesses across Belize. Open to women and men, this gender-sensitive entrepreneurship training programme addresses and provides solutions to some of the barriers that women face in starting and running a business, including lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, low confidence, and gendered norms and roles that increase the burden of household and care responsibilities.

“The material was really impactful for creating a catalyst for moving Belize forward,” said Phillip Tate, General Secretary of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), who graduated from the Programme.

Of the 21 trainees in Belize, 66 per cent were female and 33 per cent were male. All participants in the five-day programme represented ILO tripartite constituents, namely the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment, The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and The Social Security Board (SSB).

“Participants were nominated by their organizations. They were highly motivated and some of them already had experience as trainers, teachers, business consultants and business development advisors. They were familiar with business and entrepreneurship, however had less experience addressing gender equality and little or no experience of coaching. Overall, we have received very positive feedback on their experience in the GET Ahead Programme,” said Pamela Bradley, ILO National Officer for Belize.

“I am transformed and empowered after a week of intensive train the trainer training! Equipped with new skills, strategies, and a fresh perspective, I am ready to unleash my potential as a facilitator of knowledge and a catalyst for growth. Let the training journey begin,” said Tasha Almendarez.

“As a young training facilitator, this training has proven to be extremely valuable. The tips and information learnt will help me improve my skills greatly. Beyond that, with our ever- growing population of women entrepreneurs, I believe I became prepared to help them become the great entrepreneurs they are destined to be,” said Zain Hernandez.

“Harnessing the skill of effectively delivering messages of importance to people in need is something that can change lives, businesses, and has a great input in the development of a country’s economy. What is taught in this training will certainly be implemented all throughout the country of Belize, and I am certain we will see all the fruits of this investment,” said Nikolai Brent Pulido.

“In this global world, we need to look within ourselves more than ever to find answers to our own challenges. Coaching offers psychosocial tools to help persons to draw from within their own culture and communities as currency. Coaching helps people to help themselves,” said Erica S. Aguilar.

The GET Ahead training is conceived as a partnership with the Resilient Rural Belize Project, which is supported through the Joint Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Fund Programme: Building a resilient Belize through universal, adaptive, and sustainable social protection.

The two-year Joint SDG Fund Programme is led by the Government of Belize in partnership with UNICEF, WFP and the ILO. Designed to align with Belize’s national plan, the Programme, supports the country’s recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as women, microentrepreneurs and the rural population. The results are centred on two interconnected outcomes, both of which are articulated in the Government’s Medium-Term Development Strategy Priority Areas: Poverty Reduction and Economic Growth. Amongst others, the Joint SDG Fund Programme aims to support male and female entrepreneurs whose incomes and livelihoods were further devastated by COVID-19 by providing them with access to a strengthened environment for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that will enable their growth and reduce their vulnerability to shocks.

More information about the GET Ahead Programme is available on the ILO website.

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