Ending gender-based violence requires a collective effort
December 10, Human Rights Day, marked the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence global campaign. Over those 16 days, the High Commission of Canada in Guyana joined Guyana and the rest of the world in raising awareness about violence against women.
In Guyana, 17 women have been killed this year by a partner and countless others have suffered domestic and sexual violence at the hands of their partners. The local NGO supporting victims of violence, Help and Shelter, has reported a 300% increase in calls to the institution and there are still many other cases of gender-based violence that go unreported. The situation around the world has worsened as more women are now increasingly exposed to their abusive partners due to lockdowns and quarantine measures enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the inability of social services to fully function.
At a recent anti-violence event, Janine Cocker, Head of Development Cooperation at the High Commission, highlighted that the fight against gender-based violence requires community support. Ms. Cocker said, “while we have made great strides in the advancement of rights for women and girls, there is still more work to be done”. She added that to end gender based violence, “we need to build strong partnerships, we believe that through the collective efforts of government, civil society, the international community and the private sector working together, we can broaden the impact of the campaign [to end gender-based violence]”.
As such, this year for the 16 Days Campaign, the High Commission partnered with several entities to spread the message to end gender-based violence.
The High Commission was honoured to successfully collaborate with the following partners to raise awareness about gender-based violence:
- the First Lady of Guyana, Her Excellency Arya Ali
- the Honourable Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Human Services and Social Security
- the United Nations
- the European Union
- the Mexican Embassy
- the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry
- the National Library
- and non-government organizations such as Childlink Guyana, Help and Shelter and the United Bridge Builder’s Mission
Events organized by the High Commission included a tree-wrapping ceremony in collaboration with Her Excellency Arya Ali, the First Lady of Guyana. Also in attendance were the Honourable Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, and representatives from the United Nations and the European Union. All of the participants shared their organization’s commitment to stand up against gender-based violence. This activity received multiple news coverage in the press, online and on television.
In addition, at the request of the High Commission and in partnership with the United Nations, Statehouse (the Presidential residence) was lit orange during a small ceremony at which the President, His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali attended. Photos of this event were also featured in the local media and a photo with the President and First Lady with the High Commission’s Janine Cocker, made front-page news in a national newspaper.
Other partners including the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and the United Nations also joined the High Commission and Statehouse to use orange lights on their buildings to support the campaign.
Other initiatives with partners included flying orange flags and other creative methods outside of buildings to show support to the campaign.
The High Commission also included 16 days of social media activism through activist art where the work of artists from Guyana and Suriname were featured on the mission’s social media pages. Art pieces such as sculptures, paintings and drawings that focused on themes surrounding gender-based violence were shared and well received by the audience on social media. A Canadian film that focused on sexual abuse was also premiered during the campaign.
Other activities included a Virtual Panel Discussion organized by Childlink Guyana, under the theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect! – Preventing Violence Against Children with an Emphasis on Caring for Boys”. Ms. Janine Cocker from the High Commission was a panelist. The High Commission also joined an anti-gender based violence motorcade and concert organized by the United Bridge Builder’s Mission (UBBM) where the High Commission received a baton, which symbolized the High Commission's “continuous support in bringing an end to gender-based violence”.
Through these activities, the High Commission contributed to amplifying the messages of #endgenderbasedviolence during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. The High Commission’s activities received strong support from partners who featured the campaign on their social media and other channels. There was also significant coverage by the local news media.
The High Commission welcomes these partnerships that help to drive the efforts to end gender-based violence and support the rights of women and girls in Guyana and around the world.
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