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MONTH 2019

H O N. AN T H O N Y M AR T I N E Z Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation

Since 1911, the world has been observing International Women’s Day. In Belize, this observance has provided an opportunity for a month long acknowledgement and celebration of women’s contributions to our national development. This observance is also an opportunity to collectively focus on issues that women continue to face in Belize. Issues that often stem from gender inequality and inequity. This year’s theme: BALANCE for BETTER; INNOVATE for CHANGE attempts to reinforce and amplify the importance of women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements on a country’s overall development. It challenges to us to think about the collective gains that can be realised if women and girls, who make up 50% of our population, are supported to meet their fullest potential. Albeit considered very ambitious, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is calling for transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, if we want to advance and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. In calling for balance, this year’s theme is a challenge for everyone to defy personal attitudes and values which continue to limit men and women due to our social, cultural and even religious biases. If we are to remove barriers, whether structural or social, to ensure both men and women are allowed to occupy spaces that have either been “assigned” for the opposite sex, we must do it through innovative strategies that are unique and creative, but which will shape our future societies more positively. The work of gender equality and equity must stop being a woman’s issues, just the same as gender-based violence which continues to cost women their lives must become a man’s issue as well. Indeed, it must become everybody’s issue. As such, we must all make the effort to dispense with the “business as usual” attitudes. We must begin to

look at congruencies in the work of various sectors within government, civil society and private sector while at the same time committing to taking the necessary steps for a more balanced approach. This approach will hopefully lead us to gender-responsive innovations that will ultimately achieve transformative gains for society. I end with a quote from Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist who once said “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” Let us join together to continue the march towards gender equality, as it is in all our interest to achieve this goal. Gender equality, at its core, is about inclusion and ensuring a level playing field. Advancing gender equality is not only about advancing the cause of women and girls. It is about cultivating balance between the sexes that will ultimately lead to the more just and equitable society that we all seek. Happy International Women’s Day to all Women in Belize.

M R S. K I M S I M P L I S - B AR R OW Special Envoy for Women and Children A century ago, women could not have their own name on their passports. Eighty years ago, we were not allowed to inherit any pieces of land from our parents. Sixty five years ago we could not vote in Belize. Fifty years ago certain institutions of higher learning around the world denied us an education because of our gender. In 2019, women have employment positions that their great grandmothers could only dream of. We are no longer expected to limit ourselves to “the home”. More importantly, milestones such as receiving a higher education is now a reality for many of our girls. Today, on International Women’s Day, I join the rest of the world in celebrating the many breakthroughs accomplished by women and girls! But even as we celebrate; even as we take stock of the many positive strides that have been made, we are ever mindful that we are still a long way from achieving gender equity and equality. Women, all around the world, including Belize, bear the burden of unpaid care and domestic work. Millions of girls are still being forced into marriages and early unions before the age of 18; Gaps in family planning are huge issues that limit women’s participation in the labor force and in society as a whole. The scourge of gender based violence continues to be a threat to the very lives of women and girls all around the world. We acknowledge the fact that there is still so much more work left to do. In Belize, we are celebrating Women’s Month under the theme “Balance for Better; Innovate for Change”. The ambitious goals we have set for ourselves and our community requires advanced thinking and creative approaches. It requires that we plan for the future.

Presently, women are vastly underrepresented in areas of science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Empowering our females and ensuring their increased access and participation in these fields is a vital step in achieving a gender- balanced world. Enabling them to bring their ideas and experiences to the forefront of designing and implementing the innovations that shape our future societies will bring great changes in our drive towards equality. It is time we take advantage of this technological era and use it to break down the remaining barriers that still prohibit us from the gender goals we set. As the Special Envoy for Women and Children, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my pledge to the Belizean community that I will continue to advocate on behalf of women and girls who cannot yet do it for themselves. To all the young girls who are watching this, never for a second doubt that you have the potential to accomplish any goal you set. The sky is the limit when you dream big and work hard! As we move forward, I urge you to join me in actions that will advance and empower women’s status from all angles, including through new and innovative means.

The Month of March is host to the observation of Women’s Month. It is a moth that encapsulates the on-going and tireless work for girls and women, it is a month to highlight and underline the work carried out to date, to measure the advances made and to further take stock of the challenges that confront us as a nation with regards to gender-based violence, equality, equity and economic empowerment. A collective reflection is of utmost importance. A collective ownership must be the result of the reflection. The engagement of all sectors of society is necessary; the scourge of violence and vulnerabilities that girls and women face must put the nation on guard; a collective intervention is the act of vigil that our nation demands. The ownership of everyday life choices towards respect and inclusiveness and ownership of individual responsibility is a catalyst for a more equitable society. An open invitation hence is forwarded for us as a nation to celebrate and reflect on our girls and women not only during this month of March, but throughout the year. I also congratulate all women awarded this year for their valuable contributions to our country’s development. Ms. Esther Ayuso, Chair of the National Women’s Commission and Coordinating Body for Women’s Month

International Women’s Day (March 8th) is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world putting women and women’s rights on the global agenda making it the force behind this day. It is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The tradition of celebrating International Women’s Day represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. The idea of a day for women, celebrated all over the world, began in America and Europe. The focus was the movement for women’s rights and achieving universal suffrage for women. Between 1913 and 1917 women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their sisters. The International Women’s Day protest that hanged the world occurred in Russia in 1917 (March 8th by Western Reckoning, February 23 on the Georgian calendar). Coming on the rise of long struggle and many strikes, International Women’s Day 1917 inspired thousands of Russian women to leave their homes and factories to protest the terrible shortages of food, the high prices, the world war, and the increased suffering they had bitterly endured. The protest inspired the last push of a revolution. A general strike spread through Petrograd, and within a week, Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. After 1917, and in honor of women’s role in the Russian Revolution, International Women’s Day secured its place on March 8th on socialist calendars. In the early days of its observance, International Women’s Day was celebrated as a socialist holiday honoring working women. With the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s came a renewed interest in International Women’s Day. Feminists found it a ready-made holiday for the celebration of women’s lives and work and began promoting March 8th as such. In Belize, the first International Women’s Day was observed in the late 1970s and was initiated by a strong group of women from various organizations. Since those early years, International

Women’s Day has assumed a new dimension for women in Belize. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nation’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point for coordinated efforts to demand women’s rights and participation in the political and economic process. Increasingly in Belize International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by ordinary Belizean women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights. Originally, International Women’s Day was commemorated in Belize by planning and executing a week of activities in March. In 2009, in an effort to provide more agencies with opportunities to highlight women’s issues and the achievements of women in observance of International Women’s Day, the Women’s Department transformed what was originally Women’s Week into Women’s Month in March.

schedule of events


C O U N T RY W I D E Justices of the Peace Documenting all Forms of Violence Reported to Them by Members of the Public Organizing Agencies: RET International, Justice of the Peace Association and Supreme Court Comm. Contact Persons: Abigail McKay 223-1168 and Danny Madrid 610-2295 Event Type: Open Mobilizing 5000 Responders to End Gender Based Violence Organizing Agencies: RET International and Ambassadors’ Network (YLAN) Contact Persons: Tanisha Sutherland 223-1168 Event Type: Open Pap Smear Package Promotion Location: All clinics across the county Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) Contact Persons: The nurse at your nearest BFLA Clinic Event Type: Open $35 Discount on HPV Tests Location: All clinics across the county Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) Contact Persons: The nurse at your nearest BFLA Clinic Event Type: Open BELIZE DISTRICT Preschool Activities for Child Stimulation Month Location: Leo Bradley Library Organizing Agency: Leo Bradley Library Children’s Committee Contact Persons: Pearl Acosta 600-7712 or 223-4248 Event Type: Open 15% Discount for Women Organizing Agency: Brothers Habet | Habet and Habet Contact Person: Carlo Habet, Brothers Habet 224-5427 Event Type: Open


S U N D AY, M A SU RN CH D AY, 3 MARCH 3 S TA N N C R ESETKA N DN I S TCRRI ECETK D I S T R I C T Luk Ya – Women Luk in Art Ya – Women in Art Location: Pen Cayetano Location: Studio Pen Cayetano Gallery Studio Time: 2pm Gallery – 5pmTime: 2pm – 5pm Organizing Agencies: Organizing Cayetano Agencies: Studio Cayetano Gallery and Studio Gallery and Productive Organization Productive for Women Organization in Action for Women (POWA) in Action (POWA) Contact Person: Ingrid Contact Cayetano Person:628-6807 Ingrid Cayetano 628-6807 Event Type: OpenEvent Type: Open M O N D AY, MMAO RN CH D AY, 4 MARCH 4 BELIZE DIST BR E LI C I ZTE D I S T R I C T Talk – Violence against Talk – Women Violence against Women Location: Port Loyola Location: Library Port Loyola Time: 2pm Library – 3pmTime: 2pm – 3pm Organizing Agency: Organizing Port Loyola Agency: Library Port Loyola Library Contact Person: Mishell Contact Williams Person:and Mishell Louise Williams Ruiz 207-4773 and Louise Ruiz 207-4773 Event Type: OpenEvent Type: Open Presentation – Good Presentation Touch and – Good Bad Touch Touch and Bad Touch Location: Lloyd Coffin Location: Preschool Lloyd Coffin Time: Preschool 9:30am – 1:30pm Time: 9:30am – 1:30pm Organizing Agency: Organizing Youth Enhancement Agency: Youth Services Enhancement Services Contact Person: Kairee Contact Brown Person: 203-0970 Kairee Brown 203-0970 Event Type: Closed Event Type: Closed W E D N E S D AY, W EMDANRECS H D AY, 6 MARCH 6 C O RO Z A L D C IO ST RO R IZCATL D I S T R I C T Vagina Conference Vagina Conference Location: CorozalLocation: Community Corozal College Community Time: College 8:30am – 3:30pm Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: Organizing Women’sAgency: Department Women’s Department Contact Person: Consuelo Contact Person: Cowo Consuelo 615-7230 Cowo 615-7230 Event Type: Invitation Event Only Type: Invitation Only O R A N G E WO A LRKA N DGI SET W R IACLTK D I S T R I C T Honoring our “Trail Honoring Blazing” our Women “Trail Blazing” in Orange Women Walk in Orange Walk Location: Sandy Hunter Location: Library Sandy Hunter Time: 6pm Library – 7pmTime: 6pm – 7pm Organizing Agencies: Organizing Sandy Hunter Agencies: Library Sandyand Hunter Banquitas Library House and Banquitas of CultureHouse of Culture Contact Person: Sandy Contact Hunter Person: Library Sandy302-2167 Hunter Library 302-2167 Event Type: OpenEvent Type: Open T H U R S D AY, TMHAURRCS H D AY, 7 MARCH 7 BELIZE DIST BR E LI C I ZTE D I S T R I C T Hate Crimes Forum Hate Crimes Forum Location: Best Western Location: PlusBest Belize Western Biltmore PlusPlaza Belize Biltmore Time: 9am Plaza – 10:30am Time: 9am – 10:30am Organizing Agency: Organizing Office of Agency: the Special Office Envoy of the for Special WomenEnvoy and Children for Women and Children and National AIDS and Commission National AIDS Commission Contact Person: Mackeva Contact Westby, Person: Mackeva Special Envoy Westby, 223-1941 Special or Envoy 223-1942 223-1941 or 223-1942 Event Type: OpenEvent Type: Open


O R A N G E WA L K D I S T R I C T Vagina Conference Location: Banquitas House of Culture Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: Women’s Department Contact Person: Makesha Suazo 615-9658 Event Type: Invitation Only F R I D AY, M A R C H 8 BELIZE DISTRICT Our Bodies, Our Selves: Looking at the Age of Consent Dilemma in Belize Location: Best Western Biltmore Plaza, River Hall Time: 8:30am – Noon Organizing Agency: Promoting Empowerment through Awareness for Lesbian and Bi-sexual Women (PETAL) Contact Person: Simone Hill 607-4865 Event Type: Open Outstanding Woman of African and Indigenous Descent: Open Celebration of Althea Sealey Location: Best Western Biltmore Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: EmergentCorp Contact Person: Dr. Abigail McKay 626-5178 Event Type: Open BFLA After Dark Seduction – Fellatio Workshop Location: To be announced at registration Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association Contact Person: Sharmane Garcia 203-1018 Event Type: Registration BFLA After Dark Seducation – Erotic Dance Class Location: To be announced at registration Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association Contact Person: Sharmane Garcia 203-1018 Event Type: Registration Presentation - Benefits Location: Leo Bradley Library Time: 3:30pm – 4pm Organizing Agency: Social Security Board Contact Person: Pearl Acosta 223-4248 or 600-7712 Event Type: Open Presentation for Older Persons Location: Leo Bradley Library Time: 4pm – 4:30pm Organizing Agency: VOICE Contact Person: Pearl Acosta 223-4248 or 600-7712 Event Type: Open


T U E S D AY, M A R C H 1 2 BELIZE DISTRICT Cancer Awareness Location: Port Loyola Library Time: 2pm – 3pm Organizing Agency: Belize Cancer Society Contact Person: Mishell Williams and Louise Ruiz 207-4773 Event Type: Open Vagina Conference Location: ITVET | Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: Women’s Department Contact Person: De-Ann Buckley 615-7761 Event Type: Invitation Only W E D N E S D AY, M A R C H 1 3 C AY O D I S T R I C T Vagina Conference Location: Town Hall Conference Room Organizing Agency: Women’s Department Contact Person: Elyne Serano 615-7217 Event Type: Invitation Only

Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm

T H U R S D AY, M A R C H 1 4 BELIZE DISTRICT “How To” – Workshop with Partners Location: ITVET Time: 8:30am – 4pm Organizing Agency: Mattie Roter Women’s Outreach Organization Contact Person: Virginia Echols 629-3651 Event Type: Closed S TA N N C R E E K D I S T R I C T Hamanasi/BFLA After Dark – Ladies’ Night Location: Hamanasi, Hopkins Village Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association Contact Person: Kenrick Gonzalez 502-2280 Event Type: Closed F R I D AY, M A R C H 1 5 BELIZE DISTRICT A Cup of Tea and Justice: Fundraiser for Aunty’s Place Location: ITVET Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm Organizing Agency: Mattie Roter Women’s Outreach Organization Contact Person: Virginia Echols 629-3651 Event Type: Open Tickets: $20


S TA N N C R E E K D I S T R I C T Vagina Conference Location: Pelican Beach Resort Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: Women’s Department Contact Person: Michelle Irving 615-5204 Event Type: Invitation Only BFLA After Dark – Ladies’ Night Location: BFLA Dangriga Clinic Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) Contact Person: Kenrick Gonzalez 502-2280 Event Type: Open S AT U R D AY, M A R C H 1 6 S TA N N C R E E K D I S T R I C T Hopkins Health Fair Location: Hopkins Organizing Agency: Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) Contact Person: Kenrick Gonzalez 502-2280 Event Type: Open Empowering Women and Youths affected by GBV - Leadership for Livelihoods Location: Hopkins Time: 8am – 2pm Organizing Agency: RET International Contact Person: Landee Longsworth 223-1168 or 626-5178 Event Type: Invitation Only S U N D AY – M A R C H 1 7 BELIZE DISTRICT Moments of Inspiration Radio Ministry Location: KREM Radio Time: 6am – 8am Organizing Agency: Mattie Roter Women’s Outreach Organization Contact Person: Virginia Echols 629-3651 Event Type: Open M O N D AY – M A R C H 1 8 BELIZE DISTRICT Human Rights Awareness Session for Women in: Coast Guard/BDF/Belize Police Dept./Nurses Location: YWCA Auditorium Time: 8am – 4pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevanni Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Invitation Only Training of Trainers in Human Rights Awareness Location: YWCA Auditorium Time: 8:30am – 4pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevanni Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open - Limited spaces available


T U E S D AY, M A R C H 1 9 BELIZE DISTRICT Girl Power – Dance Aerobics: An opportunity to celebrate women through dance and exercise Location: YWCA Basketball Court Time: 5:30pm – 7pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevannie Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open Tickets: $10 Cancer Talk - Know the facts…“I Am Here For You” Location: Lake Independence Public Library Time: 10am – 11am Organizing Agency: Lake Independence Public Library Contact Person: Eunice Sutherland 202-5323 Event Type: Open TO L E D O D I S T R I C T Vagina Conference Location: TIDE Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm Organizing Agency: Women’s Department Contact Person: Lorraine Johnson 615-5219 Event Type: Invitation Only W E D N E S D AY, M A R C H 2 0 BELIZE DISTRICT Water Safety for Mothers and Caregivers Location: YWCA Pool Time: 8:30am – 4pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevannie Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open Registration: $10 Presentation – Good Touch and Bad Touch Location: Sunshine Pre-school Time: 9am Organizing Agency: Youth Enhancement Services Contact Person: Kairee Brown 203-0970 Event Type: Closed Reflections on the History of Black Cross Nursing in Belize Onsite Application Day for Health and Human Services Certification Training as Black Cross Nurses Location: Liberty Hall, Barrack Road Time: 9am - 4pm Organizing Agency: EmergentCorp Contact person: Dr. Abigail McKay 626-5178 T H U R S D AY – M A R C H 2 1 BELIZE DISTRICT Empowering Women and Youths: affected by GBV-Leadership for Livelihoods Location: Hattieville Time: 8am – 2pm Organizing Agency: RET International Contact Person: Landee Longsworth 223-1168 or 626-5178 Event Type: Open


YWCA “Triathlon” for the Young at Heart Location: YWCA Basketball Court Time: 5:30pm – 9pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevannie Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open Cost: Free Belize Rewind – Women’s Night Out Location: Bliss Centre for Performing Arts Time: 6pm Organizing Agencies: The National Women’s Commission, Jankunu Production, Brothers Habet, Habet and Habet Contact Person: Cynthia Williams 227-4284 Event Type: Limited Space Tickets: $25 F R I D AY – M A R C H 2 2 BELIZE DISTRICT Mechanisms and Processes that Respond to Incidences of Gender Based Violence & Trafficking in Persons Location: Auditorium, UWI-OC Time: 8am – Noon Organizing Agencies: RET International and Association of Justices of the Peace Contact Person: Dr. Abigail McKay 223-1168 or 626-5178 Event Type: Open Services for Senior Citizens Presentation Location: Leo Bradley Library Time: 3:30pm – 4pm Organizing Agency: Clear Call Belize Contact Person: Pearl Acosta 223-4248 or 600-7712 Event Type: Open Services for Senior Citizens Presentation Location: Leo Bradley Library Time: 4pm – 4:30pm Organizing Agency: Hospice Belize Contact Person: Pearl Acosta 223-4248 or 600-7712 Event Type: Open S AT U R D AY – M A R C H 2 3 O R A N G E WA L K D I S T R I C T Timely Transparent Response (TTR) Call to Action to End All Forms of GenderBased Violence and Trafficking in Persons Location: Market Square, Orange Walk Town Time: 9am - 4pm Organizing Agency: RET International Contact Person: Leslie Foreman 223-1168 or 671-1168 Event Type: Invitation Only M O N D AY – M A R C H 2 5 BELIZE DISTRICT Orange Day in the Business Community: Raising Awareness of Gender Based Violence Location: Various Business House Time: 9am – 4pm Organizing Agency: RET International Contact Person: Leslie Foreman 223-1168 or 671-1168 Event Type: Invitation Only


Official Launch of the Youth Leadership Ambassador’s Network (YLAN) Location: Belize City Time: 9am – 4pm Organizing Agency: RET International Contact Person: Tanisha Sutherland, 223-1168 or 671-1168 Event Type: Invitation Only Training of Trainers in Human Rights Awareness Location: YWCA Auditorium Time: 8:30am – 4pm Organizing Agency: Young Women’s Christian Association Contact Person: Joevanni Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open Availability: Limited spaces Seminar on Enhanced Reporting, Monitoring and Surveillance of Gender-Based Violence Location: Inspiration Center, Belize City Time: 9am – 4:30pm Organizing Agency: Ministry of National Security- Belize Crime Observatory in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission Contact Person: Adele Ramos 630-0291 E: Event Type: Invitation Only C AY O D I S T R I C T “ROMA” Film Projection and Movie Discussion Location: Central Patio of the Mexican Embassy, Belmopan Time: 6pm Organizing Agency: Mexican Embassy and the National Women’s Commission Contact Person: Diego Sapien Munoz 223-1408 Event Type: Open T H U R S D AY – M A R C H 2 8 BELIZE DISTRICT 14th Annual Outstanding Women Awards Location: Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Time: 6:30pm – 9pm Organizing Agency: Women’s Department, Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children, and National Women’s Commission Contact Person: Taheerah Usher 227-3888 Event Type: Open C O RO Z A L D I S T R I C T Sexual Health and Ageing Workshop – Women 50+ Location: Corozal Town, Time: 8:30am – 2:30pm Organizing Agency: National Council on Ageing Contact Person: Cherene Valerio-Rivero 822-1546 Event Type: Invitation Only F R I D AY – M A R C H 2 9 BELIZE DISTRICT Movie Night with Mommies & Daddies (Bring your mom and dad to a family friendly movie night under the stars) Location: YWCA Pre School Lawn Time: 6pm – 8pm Organizing Agency: Young Women Christian Association Contact Person: Joevannie Collins 223-4971 Event Type: Open Cost: Free


S U N D AY – M A R C H 3 1 BELIZE DISTRICT Youth Enhancement Services (YES) 30th Anniversary Celebration Location: YES Training Center Time: 10am Organizing Agency: Young Enhancement Services Contact Person: Kairee Brown 203-0970 Event Type: Invitation Only C AY O D I S T R I C T Senior Steps Annual Variety Show Location: George Price Center, Belmopan Organizing Agency: Senior Steps Contact Person: Beverly Swasey 822-2270 Event Type: Open

Time: 5pm


Once again several women have been chosen for their outstanding contribution to their communities and for being role models to girls across the country. Women’s Department continues to spearhead this event by recognizing one woman in each district and have chosen six women in recognition that we all must be the change we want to see in Belize. These women clearly demonstrate that they were willing to be the change they wanted to see in Belize. Each of them deserves our admiration and respect because they have served Belize well. They have opted to share their gifts and skills so that their communities could benefit. They have opened their hearts to those around them and have gifted them with their own lights. Other agencies and organizations have been invited to honor and acknowledge women for the outstanding contributions they have made to the organization or to the community on a whole. It is because of these women and the many others like them that we celebrate this Month. It is important that we take note of all their contributions and use this momentum to reenergize our efforts in the path that leads to women’s empowerment and the respect of their human rights. This year’s theme, “BALANCE for BETTER; INNOVATE for CHANGE!” provides us the opportunity to recognize that although women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement, the progress towards gender equality and equity has slowed in many places. This theme calls for us to have a clear goal that will guide and galvanize year-long collective actions. It focuses on the use of innovative ways in which we can advance gender equity, equality and women’s empowerment. It gives us the opportunity to use approaches that disrupt traditions which is crucial to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The future is exciting! Let’s build a gender-balanced, innovative Belize. Everyone has a part to play. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. This year’s Outstanding Women Awards will focus on the work of nineteen awardees including a posthumous award and an award to a business establishment which is taking action in the advancement of women issues with its staff. These awardees will be honored at the 14th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony on March 28th, 2019 at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel at 6:00 p.m. Congratulations to all 2019 Awardees!

"Some people ask: "Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general — but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

D R. G O L DA M E J I A Founder and President, PEAT Organization Born to Mr. Reuben Mejia and Mrs. Sharon Meighan-Mejia, Dr. Golda Mejia is a vibrant, cheerful and selfless individual. The late, Gloria Clarke Meighan, her maternal grandmother, played a huge role in the upbringing of Dr. Mejia and her two brothers, Lovoy and Lovel. From a very tender age she was considered to be self-motivated and a natural leader by all those she came in contact with. Her leadership capabilities coupled with her passion for development has seen her wearing various hats nationally and internationally. Dr. Mejia is the founder and president of the organization, Progressive Education Assistance Team (PEAT). She has sponsored many students through the PEAT Organization as well as through the Group Hug Charity Organization of which she is a leading member. She also works closely with the Anglican Diocese of Belize, through which she mentors and works closely with children and youths. In 2016, she represented the Anglican Diocese of Belize in Jamaica as a Provincial Leader. Due to her hard work and dedication, she was selected as Mentor for the 2018 Youth Ambassadors Program in the USA. Dr. Mejia is an indomitable, caring, dedicated and compassionate woman. Her strength and determination propel her to reach out to the underprivileged individuals not only in Hattieville where she lives, but to all those she encounter. Dr. Mejia’s vision is to be a contributory factor to agitate a sense of respect for diversity within the community she serves. She is currently pursuing a specialty in Public Health so that she can further serve her community more efficiently.

Submitted by the Women’s Department: Belize District

AN D R E A R O D R I G U E Z Entrepreneur Andrea Rodriguez was born and raised in the small village of Bermudian Landingin the Belize District. She attended Pallotti High School and immediately after graduation enrolled in a Bible College in Texas. Returning to Belize she married and partnered with her husband in youth ministry. She devoted nine years to leading a dynamic youth program, involving hosting Christmas parties for underprivileged children around the country, leading different summer activities for neighborhood children, outreach to the elderly and various community service projects. Andrea felt called to transition into serving women and embraced the opportunity to become a founding board member at Hope for Life, a local pregnancy help center in Belmopan. Hope for Life believes that every pregnant woman deserves love and support. Andrea also teaches a Childbirth Education class for expecting moms that come to the center. In addition, she has been co-hosting a daytime show for almost 10 years, the show now called, Life Uncommon, is about empowering women to embrace and use all their Godgiven gifts and talent. Andrea loves speaking and interacting with women of all walks of life. She is also an entrepreneur and started up her own social media management business that allows her to spend more time with her family and serving her community. Andrea is deeply committed to making a positive impact on her community and those around her and embraces opportunities for her to do so. Andrea lives with her husband Dion, daughters Janae and Zaira, and son Kaelen in Belmopan.

Submitted by the Women’s Department: Cayo District

AM AR I LY H E L E N A T E C K Sewing Instructor | Women’s Department The words cheerful, independent, and helpful epitomizes Mrs. Amarily Helena Teck of Corozal District. She was born to parents Saturnina Gonzalez and Sabino Gonzalez on 19th April 1976 in the village of San Narciso. She married Luis Armando Teck from San Victor Village, where she is presently living with their only son Cadir Teck. Mrs. Teck asserts that her family has been her support in her endeavors. She graduated from Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico, in Corozal District in 1993 but was unable to further her studies because of economic constraints and an ailing mother. Not being able to continue her studies, did not hinder Mrs. Teck from progressing. From her recollections, she would take care of her mother in the mornings, and in the afternoon, she went to sharpen her sewing skills with one of her relatives. In the 2006, she enrolled in an advanced sewing course with the Corozal Women’s Department, where she mastered the sewing techniques she presently teaches. Correspondingly, Mrs. Teck has grown from a student and is currently an instructor of the Department. In 2014, she formed San Victor’s Rising Stars Sewing Group; a group that has been active and productive under her leadership. Mrs. Teck is an advocate for women’s rights and actively participates in awareness and economic empowerment programs organized by the Women’s Department. She is a housewife, a Women’s Department sewing instructor and she contributes to her community. She volunteered with Mission to Belize from 2001 to 2012 supporting with community projects. She joined the Red Cross in 2014, where is presently an active member helping her community. Mrs. Teck is also a volunteer at Health Post in San Victor Village, and a church volunteer as well. Her passion for humanity allows her the opportunity to give selflessly to others.

Submitted by the Women’s Department: Corozal District

C AR M I TA M AI Sewing Instructor | Women’s Department Mrs. Carmita Mai was born and raised in the beautiful community of San Pablo Village in the Orange Walk District. Born on May 28, 1965, Mrs.Mai is 53 years young. She married Transito Mai and has 9 children. Affectionately known as “Dona Carmita”, Ms. Mai is highly esteemed and well known not only in San Pablo but in all the surrounding villages. In 1982, Mrs.Carmita was recruited as a Community Health Worker. This was a dream come true for her as she has always had a passion for community service. For 37 years and counting, Mrs. Carmita has eagerly and diligently planned and executed health fairs, clean up campaigns, health sessions in schools and community, and has participated in numerous school health-related activities. Due to her highly spirited community oriented devotion, Mrs. Carmita was nominated PTA Chairlady of San Pablo Government School which she presently serves. Through her years as a Community Health Worker, Mrs. Carmita has been certified as a Breastfeeding Counselor, Red Cross Volunteer, COMPAR Trainer and has successfully completed certification courses in Cholera Prevention, Tuberculosis Prevention and recently Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention. Mrs. Carmita has also been instrumental in the formation of a women’s walking group and a Diabetes Awareness Group in her community. Her relentless dedication to serve is a testament of her incessant willingness to assist in wellness activities and medical missions in her community as well as in other communities in the Orange Walk District. In May 2014, Mrs. Carmita was recertified as Community Health Worker and received the Minister’s Award for being an outstanding and exemplary Community Health Worker. Presently, she has become a member of the Baptist Association of the North, and serves as a Spiritual Counselor for women in her area. When asked what fuels her passion and voluntarism as an exceptional Community Health Worker, Mrs. Carmita smilingly replied, “It’s my love to help the people in the community and with the Blessings from God Almighty, he makes it possible.” Submitted by the Women’s Department: Orange Walk District

I FÁ S Í N À E F U N Y E M I Co-founder | POWA Ifásínà Efunyemi has been in advocacy and volunteerism since age 14 while a student at St. Catherine Academy where she was part of a support group for young women and helped to pioneer the Annual Garifuna Mass at SCA. While at St. John’s College Junior College, she was a tutor in Math and English for the YWCA’s Helping Early Leavers Program (HELP). She became actively involved in the National Garifuna Council as well as organizing the Barranco Homecoming. She continued on this altruistic path after moving to Dangriga where she began volunteering with the Women’s Department and co-founded the Dangriga HIV/AIDS Society. She was instrumental in developing and implementing the Powa fu Women Project that was designed to respond to the feminization of HIV/AIDS which led to her later co-founding the Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA) to continue educating and empowering women and the wider community through HIV/ AIDS education and outreach as well as addressing gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and other issues. As a journalist, she made the nation of Belize become more aware of the positive things that were happening in the Culture Capital and in 2016, she co-authored the book “A Walk Through Dangriga”. She has cofounded another women’s organization, Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian and Bisexual Women (PETAL), a sister organization to POWA, that also focuses on empowerment and advocacy for women. As a result of her high level of activism, she was recently awarded the United Nation’s Religion Fellowship by OutRight Action International.

Submitted by the Women’s Department: Stann Creek District

F L O R E N C E G ALV E Z N E E L E D L O N Women Rights Advocate Retired educator and community worker, Mrs. Florence Galvez nee Ledlon was born in Punta Gorda Town on September 23rd, 1939. Unfortunately, at the tender age of five her mother passed away and her father when she was eleven years old and was brought up by three caring aunts. Mrs. Galvez attended St. Peter Claver R.C. Primary school in Punta Gorda Town. She started teaching from age 15. In 1966, she entered the Belize Teacher’s College and graduated in 1968 with a trained Teachers’ Diploma. She continued to pursue higher education, and in 1980 she obtained an Associate degree in Education from the College of Precetor in England. Ms. Flo as she is affectionately known got married and she is presently a widow. She is the proud mother of five lovely children. She has served in many capacities in her community and continues to do so. She is a Commissioner of the Supreme Court, she was an advocate / educator for women against violence WAVE movement in the 80’s and she continues to advocate for the cause. To date she continues with her private tutoring literacy classes to adults and children in Punta Gorda Town from where many have graduated and transitioned to the Claver College Extension, and then University of Belize. Many of these graduates are now productive members of society working in the Hospital /Banks and some are educators. Mrs. Galvez directs the St. Peter Claver choir for Mass, Weddings, Graduation, Funerals and travels to different communities around the country to do the same. For the past 11 years. Mrs. Galvez has been taking pilgrimage to Esquipulas in Guatemala. Once she is called upon, she is willing to give of herself. Mrs. Galvez has 63 years of dedicated service to the country of Belize. Her favorite proverb has always guided her life’s work and was always written on her black board; it reads “One is never too old to learn and never too old to change”. The Women’s Department having appreciation for the dedicated service and service to humanity did not hesitate to recognize and nominate her as the 2019 recipient of the outstanding women’s award. Submitted by the Women’s Department: Toledo District

M AR C I E M AR T I N E Z C AR B AL L O Second Vice President, YWCA Marcie Martinez Carballo born on August 10th, 1987, is the youngest of 5 children born to Yolanda Welch. Marcie’s leadership journey started at Wesley College where she was the Head Girl of the prefect body and a peer helper. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Belize and is known for her dedication to and passion for the field of Social Work. Marcie worked as a staff of YWCA Belize for six years, in the capacity of Program Coordinator and Facilitator, but later transitioned to the Ministry of Human Development in September 2014, where she currently works. During her tenure at YWCA, Marcie coordinated and led community outreach programs including the Barbers and Beautician HIV program that positively impacted various communities. She also led various initiatives educating women and girls on sexual reproductive health and rights, personal development and human rights. From representing YWCA internationally at leadership and youth forums, to being on staff and to now being 2nd Vice President on the YWCA Board of Directors, Marcie is a perfect example of youth and women empowerment at work. Marcie continues to be a leader of change and one of YWCA’s shining stars. Marcie’s life motto Motto is: “Let it begin with me”! And her favourite quote from Oprah Winfrey is: “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing God to lead you”. It gives us great pleasure to name Mrs Marcie Martinez Carballo, YWCA’s Woman of the Year 2019.

Submitted by the Young Women’s Christian Association

AP O S T L E D R. S U Z E T T E M A S S I AH Justice of the Peace | Senior Pastor and Founder, Merirh’s Ministries Int. Apostle Dr. Suzette Massiah (JP), affectionately known as “Aunt Sue,” is the Senior Pastor and Founder of Merirh’s Ministries International in Belize City She is a cosmetologist by trade and has been contributing immensely to the development and well-being of those in her community. In 1988 she taught Ethics at Youth Enhancement Services (YES), and in 1995, she drafted a two year syllabus for the YWCA which was implemented to provide vocational training for young women who sought advance training in Cosmetology. In 2005 Dr. Sue was led by the Lord to open a feeding outreach program for the homeless and elderly population in her community: this lofty endeavor was started in her humble kitchen. In her thirteen years of faithful service, Apostle Sue extended the outreach ministries to include: providing food and clothing to the homeless in the parks, local nursing homes, and annual Christmas parties for the elderly and children in the community. Merirh’s Ministries International also has a vibrant street evangelism program, counseling services and referrals to adequate treatment facilities for those suffering from various kinds of addictions. In addition to these services, she has also opened a computer lab, fully equipped with high-speed internet service to assist our young students with research and homework assignments. She also offer drama and dance classes to youths in her community, and a back to school program which provides school supplies, footwear, and uniforms to financially challenged families. Besides Kingdom work, she also championed several civic and social causes. She served as Chairperson of the Youth Enhancement Services (YES) .She also served as Vice Chair on the board of trustees for Sadie Vernon Vocational &Technical High School, and was appointed by the high courts to serve as a Justice of The Peace since 2002. In 2016, she graduated with her Doctorate Degree in Theology from Theological International Seminary College. Apostle Dr. Suzette is a true visionary. Her burning passion is to reach lost souls, setting the captives free, empowering the people in the community, and uniting the fragmented body of Christ in Belize. Submitted by the Merirh’s Ministries

R OX AN N E M AR I N Justice of the Peace Roxanne Antonette Marin, Born July 28th 1974. She is a Mother, Daughter, Sister, Grandmother and Life Partner. Roxanne is a Justice of the Peace. Secretary by Profession. Community Activist. She dedicates most of her time to advocate for persons with disabilities. Roxanne lives by her favorite quote, “It’s not what you take with you when you leave this world behind you but what you leave behind when you go”. - Randy Travis. Roxanne is a community activist and organizer since her pre-teen years worshiping at the Gospel Chapel Church, teaching Vacation Bible School. Roxanne was a member of SPEAR 1988-1992, Yoruba Practitioner 1995- 2019, BELRIV volunteer under the Late Adalbert Tucker. P.I.M. in Rising Star Chapter # 6, United Independent Order of Mechanics 2005-2019. Secretary for Aloe Vera Community Neighborhood Watch & Beautification Group 2010 – 2019. Roxanne is a founding member of Mattie Roter Women’s Outreach Organization 20062019. Presently Roxanne is the President of the organization for ALL disabilities, BAPDA, Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities. Roxanne is passionate about helping others live with their challenges. Roxanne is a person living with a “hidden” disability since 2012. Roxanne attended All Saints Primary School, Lucky Strike Government School and graduated from St. John’s Primary School. Roxanne furthered her studies at Wesley College where she graduated with 5 CXC’s. Roxanne hobbies include gardening, making cement crafts, dancing, family time and cooking. Roxanne promotes healthy lifestyle practices.

Submitted by the Mattie Roter Women’s Outreach

B E R N AD I N E T H AD I N E S AG A S A Woman Police Sergeant #509 W/Sgt. #509 Bernadine Thadine Sagasa, 43 years, attended Holy Family RC School. She attended Wesley College for two years then was transferred to the Stann Creek Ecumenical College where she graduated in 1993. On 16th October, 1994, she enlisted into the Belize Police Force undergoing six months recruit training. She passed out from the Training Academy on 1st April, 1995. She was posted at Patrol Branch for four months, then later at Supreme Court, Eastern Division for two months. She was transferred to Dragon Unit where she was posted for 12 years doing operational duties. Whilst at the Unit she was awarded Police officer of the year in 2001. On July 2007, she was transferred to the San Ignacio Police Station as a station duty supervisor. She was awarded promotion to the rank of Corporal in 2008 and transferred to the DV Unit at the Benque Viejo Police Station. She was awarded Police of the year due to her outstanding performance. In November 2011, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant due to her exemplary performance and strong leadership qualities. In 2018 she was awarded Supervisor of the Year Award. She has provided 23 years of service to the Belize Police Department. She is a single mother of three children who view her as a role model who is always willing to help others. She is a disciplined and honest officer who is respected by peers, superiors and the general public. Due to the various postings she has undertaken, she has gained and possesses a wide knowledge in policing. She exemplifies what a well-rounded and exemplary police officer should be. She had also acted in the capacity as Deputy Officer Commanding on several occasions at the Benque Viejo Police Sub Formation, a task which she has performed with vigor and enthusiasm. Her policing knowledge and experience has made her capable of leading and giving very good advice on complex policing issues and otherwise. Her exemplary job performance demonstrates her dedication to this department and more importantly to the public to which she serves. The Belize Police Department nominate W/ Sgt. Bernadine Sagasa as their 2019 Outstanding Woman Officer of the Year. Submitted by the Belize Police Department

S H I R L E Y L E O N O R A B OW E N F E R G U S O N I am woman, hear me roar. The Youth Enhancement Services (YES) takes this opportunity to honor Mrs. Shirley Leonora Bowen Ferguson. Ms. Shirley volunteered with YES for many years while we operated our training center in Belize City. She taught the girls gardening and did extensive Bible study with them. For many of these young women she was their spiritual leader. Of course, being a singer, she taught them many songs and the girls were always inspired by her gentleness and warmth. Ms. Shirley not only volunteered at YES, but has been a member of many other organizations such as the Belize Red Cross since 1961 and the Hospital Auxiliary Group. In addition, she was one of the founding members of Central Christian School and Women’s Agrow and held the post of vice president. Ms. Shirley is a versatile woman as she is fluent in Spanish, is a singer/songwriter, poet, and musician. She can play the piano, guitar and mouth organ. Her contribution to women and society on a whole is a tremendous legacy that she has given to us. Today she still continues to feed the homeless at least once a year and host a radio talk show on VIBE radio from 4pm – 5pm on Sundays offering her wisdom and insights on spirituality and other issues we face in our country today.

Submitted by the Youth Enhancement Services

M AR I LY N DAW S O N-A S P I N AL L MSc (HRM), MScN (Ed.), BSN (PostRN), CRNA, RM, RN Marilyn spent her childhood with her mom and siblings at several addresses on Southside Belize City. On completing her primary school education at James Garbutt SDA Primary School, she attended High School at Wesley College on a government scholarship garnered by achieving excellence on the BNSE. At completion of High School, she wanted to be a Nurse. However, her tender age of 16 years denied her admission to the Bliss School of Nursing. Marilyn enrolled at the then BTC and bided her time to once again apply to Nursing School. Her persistence paid off and she was accepted to the Professional Nursing Program at age 17 years. Mrs. Dawson-Aspinall is currently a proud Registered Nurse with clinical specialties in Midwifery and Nurse Anesthesia; a first degree with a focus on Nursing Management and Leadership along with graduate degrees in Nursing Education and Human Resource Management. An avid volunteer and staunch patient advocate, she credits God for her many opportunities and abilities. She is a founding member and current President of the Belize Hospice Palliative Care Foundation and board member for Haven House, Belize Cancer Society and King’s Children Home. A bookworm at heart, other hobbies include cooking and traveling. Marilyn is married with two children. “Living your best life only becomes possible when you aid others to be all they can be”. MDA

Submitted by the Haven House – Shelter for Battered Women

DAI S Y O L G A M AR I N S AW E R S Mrs. Daisy Olga Marin Sawers, well known in her town for her many contributions, was born on the 9th of August 1931 in Belize City. She was raised in Corozal Town where she attended the local primary school of St. Francis Xavier. A lack of finance impeded Mrs. Sawers from furthering her education, therefore she set out to join the work force and got her first job at the age of 15 as a teacher’s assistant where she learned and molded many core values. Following this stage of her life, Mrs. Sawers later worked during the day for a renowned gentleman in Corozal known as Mr. William Gegg who owned a ‘bodega’ shop and at night she worked selling tickets at what was the movie theatre there at the time. These small jobs instilled in her the responsibility and hard work that set the foundation for a lifetime of work in her town. 1955 was a big year for Mrs. Sawers as this is when she met her husband and father of ten wonderful children. This year gave her the promise of a future filled with love, however it also brought along tragedy to the doors of many residents as hurricane Janet, a category 5 hurricane, hit Corozal with winds of 175MPH. With only around ten houses left standing, the storm left the entire town in a rubble. When this catastrophe hit, Mrs. Sawers, without hesitation, found herself volunteering as a cook to feed all the homeless persons during the day and the prisoners in the town at night. Her selfless nature would not allow her to just sit back and do nothing while so many suffered around her. At age 46, Mrs. Sawers’ service to the community took on an even larger role as several leadership positions called to her. Mary Hill R. C. School opened in 1977 and provided the opportunity for Mrs. Sawers to serve as the President for the Parents Teachers Association. During her term, numerous and challenging projects were accomplished. This year was also monumental due to the fact that she was sworn in as Justice of the Peace. Less than 5 years later, Mrs. Sawers was elected to be the first lady Mayor in the country of Belize. She

took the task head on; however, her husband got seriously ill and she had to end her term prematurely in order to take care of him and her kids. In 1985 the ‘community worker spirit’ once again came knocking at her door when she was invited to be a member of the Corozal Hospital Auxiliary. A short time after being in the group, Mrs. Sawers was nominated President where she served for 25 years. Among her many highlights during her years with them, was participating in their fundraiser, the “Golden Oldies Beauty Pageant” in which she won the title and crown! Presently, Mrs. Sawers is still a very active citizen of her town. She dedicates some of her time to a group called the Senior Steppers. It consists of around 25 older ladies who dance as a form of exercise and recreation. They also take on little trips and projects such as visiting different Primary Schools and High Schools to perform for the kids while at the same time promoting love and respect to the elderly. She is also a member of VOICE which is a Non-Governmental Organization consisting mostly of Older Persons. The main focus of the group is to advocate for improving the lives of all older persons in Belize. Mrs. Sawers still currently serves as the Justice of Peace and Commission of the Supreme Court, and at the same time, is still a large part of her children’s lives. Giving back so much to the community and balancing it with her duties of being a mom, grandmother, and wife, it is no surprise that Mrs. Sawers received a “Tribute of Belizean Patriots Award” on the 13th of September 2012. Her advice to the young adults and members of Belize is, “The government cannot do it all. Get involved in improving and helping your Community to be a better one. A special call to the youths: There is so much to do for your community, you have young hearts and fresh minds, do not waste it!”

Submitted by: Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children

CORINE ROBINSON FULLER Executive Director | Belize Credit Union League Mrs. Fuller started her career in financial management as a financial analyst in the Ministry of Finance; she is currently the Executive Director of the Belize Credit Union League (BCUL), a position she has held since 2009. Under her leadership, BCUL executes projects funded by external grant agencies and credit unions, to facilitate access of rural people and women in particular, to financial services. Financial literacy programmes are promoted in high schools and communities across the country through a simulation programme, which teaches budgeting and saving techniques, and hundreds of primary school children learn about saving through credit unions’ annual Father Ganey Quiz Competition. Mrs. Fuller conducts workshops on personal financial management, to company and government employees and facilitates strategic planning sessions for churches, has been teaching Sunday school for the past forty years, and chairs the Board of Trustees at her place of worship. Mrs. Fuller holds a BSc degree in Management Studies from UWI (Mona Campus) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Queens University in Kingston Ontario, Canada. She is a Certified General Accountant (CGA) (non-practicing) and holds the following designations: Anti-Money Laundering Certified Associate (AMLCA) (2014) and Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE).

Submitted by the University of the West Indies - Open Campus

R AI S A P I P E R S B U R G H Lecturer | University of Belize Raisa Pipersburgh was born in Belize City on the 1st January, 1989. From an early age she became a creative and inventive thinker, who craves a challenge and who is unafraid to work outside her comfort zone. Raisa is a motivated team player who consistently push expectations and exceeds goals. Raisa had no other choice but to become fully engaged in youth development work from an early age and engagement continues today. Some of her involvements include; Project Steering Committee Member for the AHRMED (Addressing Human Rights for More Equitable Development) Project ; Youth Leadership role on The Board of Directors for YWCA Belize developing a user-friendly website for the YWCA and provided strategic marketing guidance; and Director of Save the Seas Belize which is an all Youth NGO that aspires to increase environmental literacy and highlight the importance of Marine Conservation (Save the Seas Belize is a compelling, conscious and formidable network of young, idealists, and environmentalists). Raisa’s hard work and dedication paved the way for her achievements in becoming a Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) at Lynn University. She graduated with the second highest distinction in her graduating class. Post-graduation she was recruited by Norwegian Cruise Line as a Personal Cruise Consultant at their Headquarters in Miami. Raisa, today is Full-time Lecturer at the University of Belize, bringing to the classroom her vast expertise and knowledge– Lecturing in Fundamentals of Managements, Human Resource Management, Tourism Planning and Policy, Tourism Geography and Hospitality Management Raisa received her Undergraduate Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Belize and proceeded to successfully complete her Graduate Degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida attaining her Masters of Business Administration at the age of Twenty-four. Submitted by the Department of Youth Services

E VA B U R G O S Director | GOJoven Belize Alumni Association Mrs. Burgos holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of West Indies Open Campus in Belize and a Nursing Degree from the University of Belize. Mrs. Burgos has been the Executive Director of the GOJoven Belize Alumni Association (GOBelize) for the past eight (8) years and the Country Coordinator for the GOJoven Regional Program for the past fourteen (14) years. Eva has spearheaded projects that have impacted youth of mutli-cultural and various socio economic backgrounds across country. This core program that promotes and supports the development of young leaders to act as catalysts for social change who have vastly expanded adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, choices, services, policies, and programs at a community, national, and regional levels. GOBelize’s initiative in training these young leaders has given it recognition as the national voice for Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights She has also spearheaded the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) where out of school youth ages (15-24) were sensitized on HIV prevention education, reaching out to the most remote communities in the North such as Sarteneja and Chunox Village in Corozal District to the the south such as Trio and Barranco Village in the Toledo District. Eva has also been influential in the National AIDS Commission as the Chair of the IEC Sub Committee and as memberof the NAC’s Executive Committee. She currently sits as Commissioner Representing Youth Women and Children and her organization is now in charge of the Civil Society Organizations Hub. Eva footprints in the world of HIV advocacy are instrumental as the work she does with the youth population. Within both realms, Eva has shown great respect, diligence and honor in working for and with key populations throughout Belize. As such, the Board and Staff of Our Circle would like to award Mrs Eva Burgos as an Outstanding Woman for the advancement of women from all walks of life.

Submitted by Our Circle

ALT H E A S E AL E Y Founding Member | Belize National Dance Company Outstanding Belizean Woman of African and Indigenous Ancestry: No wait til di uman ded fi tell ahn e do gud Althea Sealey is the 5th Recipient of EmergentCorp’s Outstanding Belizean Woman of African and Indigenous Ancestry Award, a tri-sector award celebrating Belize’s history, women and African ancestry. Begun in 2015 as a part of the UN Decade for people of Black African Ancestry, this award provides an opportunity to research and document the lives and contributions of contemporary women heroes and benefactors. Althea Sealey started her dance career with Bob Reneau at the age of 8 years through young adulthood, continuing with Majorie Bradley and Leonie Henry before taking leadership with her dance company. The style and talent of her first teacher is kept alive in today’s dance company in such dances as the stool and basket dances. ( forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/439481/re-bob-reneau-passes-away.html). Althea Sealey is a BNDC’s founding member of the Belize National Dance Company (BNDC), founded in November 1990, to give space to young dancers who go on to become the next generation of senior talents that ensure the culture of dance engages future generations. Althea acknowledges that sustainability of the dance company, even as it struggled to retain male dancers, has required the strength and perseverance of women to keep it going for the past three decades ( About EmergentCorp: Established in 2002, EmergentCorp was incorporated as a non-profit company in 2004 to provide a wide range of research, training and development services at local, national and international levels. With headquarters in Belize City, it is governed by a non-profit board of directors and implements its activities with professional affiliates.

Submitted by EmergentCor

ELMA GOMEZ Posthumous Awardee Miss Elma Gomez was born in Belize City on 3 November, 1927, after which she went to live in Corozal Town along with her parents. Her primary education was obtained at Holy Redeemer School in Belize City, and completed her secondary education at the then Xavier High School in Corozal Town. Although Elma suffered an ear infection in the 1931 hurricane which left her totally deaf, she became involved in many community activities, which her acquired mastery of lipreading and signing allowed her to excel in. She went on to eventually become the president of the Corozal Chapter of the Belize Assembly of and for Persons with Disability. She has been described as a poet, playwright, artist, choreographer, speech writer and orator. She excelled in arts and crafts, and became well-known for the wooden toys and greeting cards she made and sold to the citizens of Corozal Town. As a Cub Scout leader, she facilitated a full range of activities for the boys to earn their badges. In public circles Elma is best known for the long and prestigious career she had while employed at the Corozal branch of the Belize National Library Service from 1969 until her retirement in 1990. Her aptitude at research and providing information to library patrons has been a valuable contribution to the youthful students, who still recall her with fond affection. In memory and recognition of her sterling work while in our midst, this posthumous award to Miss Elma Gomez is richly deserved.

Submitted by the Belize National Library Service

Since opening in 2000, Hamanasi Resort has grown to 150+ employees and employs women at all levels, including senior management. Hamanasi recognizes that Healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Knowledge empowers them to take responsibility and action for their health and hence implemented a Wellness Programme, comprised of three components, for its staff. First, monthly clinic visits by the Belize Family Life Association through which employees are afforded HIV counselling and testing, blood pressure and weight monitoring, diabetes, cervical, prostate and cholesterol screening. The cost being covered by the company. The staff is also engaged in monthly educational sessions on topics such as gender-based violence, breast cancer, communication and intimate relationship among others. Second, a Mental Health Practitioner is available to those who have mental health/stress associated challenges such as divorce, separation, incest, death and debilitating illnesses. For the first time employees have access to such services for coping and healing. Third, a fitness and nutrition expert educates staff on healthy dietary choices and exercise techniques. Chefs prepare healthy meals for healthier living. Hamanasi organizes employee volleyball, softball and soccer competitions, as well a 5K race. BFLA recognizes Hamanasi for its unique way of caring for its employees and by extension their families.

Submitted by the Belize Family Life Association


In Belize, many government and non-government organizations are working together to improve the lives of Belizeans. BELIZE FAMILY LIFE ASSOCIATION (BFLA) BFLA is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation which offers family life education and organized family planning. Through the dissemination of information on family planning, BFLA assists Belizean women and men in making healthy, well informed decisions about their sexual reproductive health. CONTACT: 203-1018 | E: HAVEN HOUSE Haven House is currently the only safe house for female survivors of domestic violence and their children in the Belize District. Opened in 1993, the shelter provides temporary housing for up to 21 days, counseling and legal advocacy for residents. CONTACT: 222-4947 MARY OPEN DOORS Mary Open Doors is a shelter for battered women and their children. It is located in the Cayo District. It officially opened in 2008, but had functioned informally prior to that. The Mary Open Door office provides basic counseling, skills training and job placement for its clients. CONTACT: 626-5780 HOUSE OF DORCAS House of Dorcas is owned by a Womens Group of Patchakan Village. The group of ladies uses the house as a training center for women and youth. They teach arts and crafts, sewing, earrings making among others. Beside skill training programs conducted, they also provide spiritual guidance to its members and members of the community. They are able to sustain the house through donation from abroad church members and other community organizations. CONTACT: 602-5859 NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN National Committee for Families and Children is a statutory body that is set up to oversee Belize’s compliance with its international, regional and national commitments to children and their families. CONTACT: 223-0059 | For more about them visit: YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (YWCA) The Belize YWCA opened in 1956 and has consistently provided a wide variety of services and programs to women of all ages. The facility currently offers a long list of programs including the Helping Early Leavers Program, a daycare, ESL classes, aerobics and community education classes. CONTACT: 203-4971


YOUTH ENHANCEMENT SERVICES (YES) Youth Enhancement Services is a non-government organization that provides training, support and education to teenage girls. YES was founded in 1989 by the National Children’s Home in London and Barbados. CONTACT: 225-2315 FAMILY COURT The Family Court was established in 1898 to keep pace with the ever growing social and legal needs of the family. It plays a vital role in keeping society together. It is responsible for the administration of justices for family and juvenile justice matters. The Family Court has dealt with thousands of cases over the years ranging from domestic violence, legal separation, custody, maintenance and juvenile offenders. CONTACT: 227-4107 or 227-4114 UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF) UNICEF is an international organization dedicated to meeting the needs of women and children around the world. It places emphasis on health, education, social services, legislation and outreach programs aimed to enhance the national development of Belize. CONTACT: 223-3609 | For more about them visit: PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION (PAHO) PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest public health organization. It serves as the regional office of the World Health Organization and works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. PAHO is dedicated to working with governments of the Americas primarily, Ministry of Health, in addressing public health issues such as Gender-based Violence. CONTACT: 224-4885 | For more about them visit: UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA) UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. CONTACT: 223-1644 | For more about them visit: PRODUCTIVE ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN IN ACTION (POWA) Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA) is a community-based organization that began in 2003 in Dangriga Town. It grew out of the need for women to support other women in areas of Gender-based Violence, HIV/AIDs, Gender and Economic justice. In 2011, its youth arm called Girl POWA was created to focus on girls who are vulnerable to issues such as HIV and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). POWA girls participate collectively in POWA’s activities and along with members of POWA, receive extensive training in several areas, including: HIV/AIDS and SRH education; community outreach; self-esteem; and assertiveness, and negotiation skills. They serve as Community Ambassadors in their neighborhoods and the wider Dangriga community. Since February 2013, POWA manages the “Dangriga Cares” Center which serves as a safe place for community members to interact. Activities and services provided by POWA include Women Empowerment Sessions, Peer Leadership Program, Counseling Program, Legal Advice Services, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Child Abuse Prevention Program, CONTACT: 502-3002 or 622-8671 | E:


BELIZE WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS This is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan, non-government organization which its main objectives are to provide a neutral, objective and multi-partisan space and forum for women to discuss, caucus and build consensus positions on issues and concerns that they consider important to the political, social and economic well-being of Belize through their lens; to build coalitions with a broad base of woman and women’s organizations nationally, regionally and international that have similar objectives; to educate the populace on the need for gender equality and men and women’s equal participation in decision-making processes both in the public and private arenas; to advocate for policy and legislative change to advance the cause of equality between women and man in the political and other decision-making processes; to build strong, constructive and sustainable relationships with woman elected and appointed officials at all level of political parties, government and in all sectors; to monitor government policies and programs that have implications to women’s participation in the political and decision-making processes and to the social and economic well-being of Belize; and to promote research, collect data and compile statistics, plan and implement programs and activities centered on increasing women participation in the political and other decision making processes; CONTACT: 637-6191 | E: THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S COMMISSION (NWC) The National Women’s Commission was established in 1982. Over the years, the commission has been instrumental in creating and supporting a wide variety of programs for women. The National Women’s Commission has conducted in-depth research regarding women’s issues in Belize and has published several major documents including the National Gender Policy and Women in Politics. CONTACT: 227-4284 or 227-2694 For more about them visit: OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN The Special Envoy for Children and Women is the Belizean champion for women and children, working primarily to advocate for and influence the development of social policies and legislation; advocate for the implementation of programmes and initiatives that benefit children and families and promote their rights; collaborate with government and quasi-government bodies to present projects seeking financial resources at home and abroad to support programmes and initiatives for children and engage in public awareness and education activities designed to sensitize the general public to issues affecting women and children. CONTACT: 223-0837 | E: WOMEN’S DEPARTMENT, MINISTRY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION The Women’s Department continues to be one of the leading organizations in Belize dedicated to improving the lives of women. Since 1978, the Women’s Department has worked to empower women through a wide range of progressive initiatives including training classes for women, the promotion of public education in the schools, facilitating support groups and organizing community events to raise awareness about Domestic Violence and women’s issues. CONTACT: E: | See various branches below Belize City: 227-3888 or 227-7397 Cayo: 804-2098 Corozal: 402-2120 Orange Walk: 302-2058 Toledo: 702-2021 Stann Creek: 502-0038


The National Women’s Commission, the Women’s Department and the Special Envoy for Women and Children would like to thank it’s partners agencies, civil society, the business community, international agencies, our volunteers and the general public for the support that continues to be given to the multi-sectoral effort to put women at the forefront of our agenda.

Grace Kennedy Belize Limited and Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza for continued support during Women’s Month

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Women's Month 2019 Booklet  

List of Events, Awardees and Addresses for Women's Month 2019 being observed under the theme: "Balance for Better; Innovate for Change".

Women's Month 2019 Booklet  

List of Events, Awardees and Addresses for Women's Month 2019 being observed under the theme: "Balance for Better; Innovate for Change".

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