RET Belize, over the last year, has been working closely with partners to raise awareness, amplify the leadership roles and potentials of young people and build capacity at the community level to respond to persons impacted by gender based violence, trafficking in persons and corruption in a more timely and transparent manner. The Project started in November of 2017 when it began strengthening civil society and government partnerships for the response to gender based violence, human trafficking and issues of corruption at community level. The first forum was held last April which focused on mechanism and processes that respond to gender based violence and trafficking of persons. RET met today with various partners to continue the discussions. Malenie Barnes is the Country Director for RET.
Melanie Barnes Country Director RET: “What we are doing is challenging our stakeholder partners and Government to do more in working together in the collaboration process so that these services that are available are available and accessible at the community level. We are talking about our communities because even though in some of the urban communities accessibility is a challenge. It might look the same, it might not be transportation, cost or things like that but there are accessibility issues. If persons are not able to cross boundaries and lines when you are looking at parts of Belize City that makes services inaccessible for them as well so we are looking at all communities across Belize. This a call to action for all people, not just Government or civil society but regular persons to help and become a part of the response so that when you are apart of the response you increase the opportunities for persons who are victims or at potential risk to have someone to talk to so if we encourage everyone to be someone to talk to then it improves the response for gender based violence and trafficking in persons at the community level.”
Barnes says they will continue their dialogue with multiple civil society and government partners in months ahead to effect the changes necessary to improve on services and service accessibility across the country.