CAFRA signs MOU with Taiwan to empower women

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – The Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) aimed at promoting the empowerment of women.

The statement from the Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs said the “Women’s Economic Empowerment through Garment Construction and Soap Making Project” aims to assist the economic recovery and empowerment of youth and women in Latin America and the Caribbean in the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic era.

It said participants for the project were selected based on their keen desire to participate and willingness to be part of the cooperative, which will be registered, to encourage them to work together for group projects/contracts after the training. Invitations were sent to key groups to identify women who fit that description and the notices for persons to apply were also sent out.

The statement said that the women selected from St Lucia were either unemployed, women farmers who were willing to supplement their income, and women already into small operations which complement the project, for example, knitting, crochet, costume and jewelry.

The goal of the MOU is to support the establishment of a regional collaboration business model into the community. The Taiwan Technical Mission and CAFRA will cooperate to develop training plans for 35 women from St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The women will benefit from training workshops that include support financial management and business establishment, improved and standardized quality of product, search for digital financial solution/ literacy, and establish a common branding for better marketing.

Taiwan’s Ambassador to St Lucia, Peter Chia-yen Chen, said such areas of cooperation are concrete and vivid, adding that implementation of the project has proven that significant changes are always brought about by small and individual changes.

“The government of Taiwan believes that empowering youth and women through continued capacity building and investment in training and skills is essential to nation-building. We will keep working with the Government of Saint Lucia and other partnership to support youth and women entrepreneurs.”

Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Minister, Emma Hippolyte, said the government recognizes and acknowledges the importance of empowerment of women and youth towards the advancement of their growth and independence.

“Going forward, it is intended that this project will enable the establishment and standardization of a regionally unique and identifiable brand of high quality garment and soap products recognizable in the world market,” Hippolyte said, adding “once the brand becomes recognizable in the market, it is easier to achieve economic sustainability.”

The Coordinator/National Representative of CAFRA, Nadine Constantine, said this initiative could not have come at a better time and that hundreds of women applied for the training that only afforded limited spots, a reflection that women are very interested in participating and benefiting from meaningful projects.

“This important project will not only train the women in dress-making and soap-making, but it will facilitate the establishment of a cooperative enterprise, which will enable the participants to work together on joint contracts and projects, for their collective economic benefit,” said Constantine.

“I can tell you that every single participant who was selected to undertake this training has been waiting with great excitement for the start of the training”.

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