On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, representatives from the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) and the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote women empowerment.
The signing ceremony took place in the Ministry of Commerce’s Conference Room, Heraldine Rock Building, Waterfront, in Castries.
The Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs facilitated the signing ceremony for the MoU between the TTM and CAFRA, towards the implementation of a “Women’s Economic Empowerment through Garment Construction and Soap Making Project”.
The project aims to assist the economic recovery and empowerment of Youth and Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in the post-COVID-19 era.
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.
Twenty women from Saint Lucia were selected from the project, and are from Vieux Fort, Soufriere, Castries North, Castries Southeast, Choiseul, and Castries East.
Those selected 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 Saint Lucia and Saint 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.
His Excellency Peter Chia-yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, said such areas of cooperation are concrete and vivid, adding that implementation of the “Technical Assistance for Youth & Women’s Employment, Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion” project has proven that significant changes are always brought about by small and individual changes.
“I would like to commend Hon. Emma Hippolyte for recognizing the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and continuing to address their needs from all facets,” Ambassador Chen said. “This forms a big and strong support for our projects implemented in Saint Lucia. 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.”
Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, thanked the Government of Taiwan for once again demonstrating their generosity to Saint Lucia.
She stated that 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,” Hon. Hippolyte said. “Once the brand becomes recognizable in the market, it is easier to achieve economic sustainability.”
According to Nadine Constantine, Coordinator/National Representative of CAFRA, this initiative could not have come at a better time.
She said 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.”
One of the participants in the project is Donna Felix from Soufriere, who confessed that she had missed the registration deadline, but was fortunate enough to be accepted. In the vote of thanks, she said participants will embrace every aspect of the opportunity they have been granted.
“Without the kind generosity and support of the Government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), none of this would be possible, and I want to reiterate our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Chen for making this possible. We will never forget this gesture and we again assure you that we will make maximum use of this opportunity made possible through your kind donation towards women’s economic empowerment in Saint Lucia.”
Meanwhile, Calixte George Jr, Project Coordinator, said that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, Taiwan has become Saint Lucia’s leading development partner.
“It is quite ironic that an island country thousands of miles away from our shores is now so very integrally linked to development work here in Saint Lucia,” he said. “So we really have a lot to thank the Ambassador personally and, of course by extension, the 23 million citizens of Taiwan who are making these projects possible.”
SOURCE: Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Saint Lucia