The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is committed to the mainstreaming of gender equality throughout its operations and sees this as a fundamental cross-cutting theme to achieve the Bank's two Strategic Objectives, namely 'Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Growth and Development' and 'Promoting Good Governance', as defined by its Strategic Plan 2015-2019.
As part of CDB's Gender Equality Initiatives, on July 6, 2017 Dr. Maria Ziegler, Operations Officer, Social Sector Division, Projects Department, CDB conducted a Gender Sensitization Training for the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) Project 'Building Adaptive Capacity and Resilience to Climate Change in Toledo, Southern Belize' which is being implemented in cooperation with Humana People to People Belize (HPPB).
The HPPB Project Management Team (PMT) and Project Steering Committee of the Project participated in the training which was also supported by the Human Development Coordinator, Ms. Cynthia Williams of the Women's Department, Government of Belize.
The objective of this workshop was to understand the concept of gender and how it is different from biological sex, the gender situation in Belize, the gender situation within the participants' communities and how gender could be integrated into the CDRRF-HPPB Project.
Most of the sessions were interactive and were aimed at raising awareness about what gender is and how it contributes to inequality. Participants were asked to think about the messages and stories that women and men receive in terms of acting like a woman and a man, where these messages and stories come from (e.g. television, other media, family, education system) and what happens if somebody rebels against those orders.
Ms. Cynthia Williams then gave insights into the status of gender inequality in Belize which showed that gender inequality is deeply rooted in the Belizean society ranging from gender-based violence over educational disparities to labor market segmentation and gender wage gaps. After this presentation, participants analyzed gender in their community and came to the conclusion that there is gender inequality in their immediate surroundings. Finally, participants learned how gender can be integrated into the HPPB -CDRRF Project, including gender-sensitive infrastructure design, public awareness and training as well as project management and administration.
The evaluation results showed that the participants (mostly males) enjoyed the training and to quote one male participant: "I enjoyed mostly the group activities we did, where we got to demonstrate existing gender relations in our community." All in all, the workshop participants felt and recorded in the workshop evaluation that the goal of raising awareness about gender equality in their country of Belize was certainly achieved. The HPPB Project Manager, Elizabeth Muschamp, summarized the achievement of the workshop in the following way: "Training in gender sensitization is an instrumental training not only for the acquisition of knowledge but more importantly for the self-reflection necessary to effect positive attitudes and changes necessary."