Grants issued to women craft traders at all UDC Craft markets to reduce the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable persons
Kingston, Jamaica – February 16, 2021: A total of 417 women craft traders at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Craft markets across Jamaica have received grants from the COVID-19 response initiative under the Enabling, Gender Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience (EnGenDER) Project. EnGenDER is an initiative funded by the Government of Canada and the UK Government whose goal is to support improved climate resilience for key vulnerable populations in the Caribbean. The grant distribution is a part of UN Women’s repurposed COVID-19 resources through the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) / UDC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which, among other objectives, seeks to support women in craft as part of an emergency relief program initiated in response to the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19. The MOU was signed in October 2020.
The symbolic cheque hand over happened on Thursday 4 February 2021 at the UDC-owned Dunn’s River Falls Craft Market.
In speaking to the importance of such a donation, Ms. Loy Malcolm, UDC’s Deputy General Manager Planning, Development and Project Management said “As Jamaica’s small businesses are facing economic challenges due to the pandemic, the Corporation is cognizant that the craft market vendors in particular have had their livelihoods impacted. While all vendors have been affected, women craft traders at UDC markets, are among our most vulnerable as they account for the majority of all our traders. The UDC thanks the EnGenDER initiative for supporting these women in this very tangible way.”
The grants were presented to each of the women craft vendors operating under lease arrangements across the six (6) craft markets managed by the UDC. These markets are Kingston Craft Market, Kingston, Dunn’s River Falls Craft Market, St. Ann, Ocho Rios Craft Market, St. Ann, Pineapple Craft Market, St. Ann, Success Craft Market, St. James and Rutland Point Craft Market, Westmoreland. President of the Kingston Craft Market Association, Mrs. Stubbs-Jamieson expressed her appreciation on behalf of the tradeswomen. When I was made aware of the grant and interest the UN Women and the Government of Canada took in the welfare of the women in craft, I was ecstatic, especially because of the financial challenges we’ve been having. There are two Jamaican proverbs that came to mind. I said ‘every mikkle mek a mukkle”, and ” one, one cocoa full basket”…I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone on behalf of the ladies of Kingston Craft Market who was involved in making this initiative possible. I look forward to continued partnership.”
In attendance at the hand over was Ms. Marsha Smith, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Sector and Member of Parliament for North East St Ann. Three UDC craft markets fall within Minister Smith’s constituency. In addressing the craft traders, Minister noted that she “applauds the UN Women for recognizing that the need to mitigate the socio-economic fallout being experienced by craft vendors due to COVID is something that is of the highest priority” She also applauded the UDC for helping to coordinate the implementation of the grant.
Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative, a.i. UN Women Multi- Country Office for the Caribbean added, “While these grants will aid in economic recovery and resilience for women, men and their families, they are but one aspect of a larger comprehensive efforts to ensure that ‘no one is left Behind’ and that we fulfil the mandate by the UN Secretary General, and UN Women’s Executive
Director to, “Build Back Equal.” We know economic empowerment is interrelated with reducing inequality, increasing security and safety.”
The UN Women/UDC MOU is in place for two (2) years and will see the development of training courses and information sharing to enhance how gender considerations are incorporated in how public spaces are designed. These sessions will be conducted via public webinars.
The EnGenDER project is supporting nine (9) participating Caribbean countries improve their climate change adaptation and disaster risk resilience by utilizing an inclusive and gender sensitive approach. Moreover, in 2020, approximately USD 1.5 million was repurposed to COVID-19 response and gender-based violence (GBV) initiatives for Caribbean 9 countries. These initiatives ensure that the project’s overall objective of supporting the Caribbean to become a more resilient region where there is a reduced impact of natural disasters on the public sector and vulnerable persons.