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Region-wide movement to end violence against women and girls boosted by CARICOM Model KAP Tool

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown): The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat has produced its first Compendium of Model Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice (KAP) Tool for the Region on Social Gender Norms and Violence against Women and Girls. The Secretariat’s Gender and Development Programme developed the Tool in May 2023 in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the Regional Spotlight Initiative Caribbean Programme.

The KAP Tool is a survey with pre-determined questions formatted in standardised questionnaires that provides access to quantitative and qualitative information. Designed to support regional organisations working with women, girls and other vulnerable populations experiencing violence, the tool facilitates capturing the authentic voices of persons experiencing violence with the aim of using the data to identify trends, which will inform recommendations for curbing violence.

According to Ms. Ann-Marie Williams, Deputy Programme Manager, Human and Social Development – Gender Development, CARICOM Secretariat, during the development of the CARICOM Model Tool surveys, focus group discussions and testing were done as part of the consultative process with Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The participants included heads of the National Gender Machineries, civil society organisations, academia, feminist groups and vulnerable groups who mainly work in Violence against women and girls (VAWG) and with vulnerable populations.

“To ensure that the tool will not be shelved, the Gender and Development Programme is organising a two-day Training of Trainers Workshop at the Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on 29-30 June 2023 to equip citizens of the Region with the skills to utilize the tool effectively”, stated the Deputy Programme Manager.

Referring specifically to the Caribbean, a 2022 United Nations (UN) report stated that violence against women and girls is “systemic and persistent in the Region. It knows no borders, affects women and girls of all ages and happens everywhere, from the domestic setting to public places. It happens in workplaces, within the framework of political and community participation, on public transportation and in the street, in schools and other educational institutions, in cyberspace and certainly in the home”. In addition, António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General has referred it as a “shadow pandemic”.

In addition, the report underscored that despite the progress made in confronting violence against women and girls, national surveys in Latin America and the Caribbean, report that between 63% and 76% of women and girls have experienced gender-based violence in different settings. Moreover, estimates for 2018 show that in Latin America and the Caribbean, some 43 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 years —one in four women in that age range— have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime (WHO, 2021).

The CARICOM Tool is a positive step toward finding solutions to the consistent rise of violence against women and girls in the Region. “Our goal is to provide organisations providing services to vulnerable persons, especially civil society, with an effective method of capturing the lived experiences of women and girls dealing with violence,” stated Ms. Williams, “these experiences will help us to paint a vivid picture of what is happening in the homes in which violence is perpetuated. The overarching goal is to create a roadmap for reducing violence against women and girls region-wide”.