Entrepreneurship and skills training programmes target single mothers, young women
CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA — More women are getting access to legitimate jobs in St. Lucia thanks to new programmes that aim to assist young women and single mothers particularly.
One programme is funded in conjunction with the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund, while the other is funded by Taiwan (Republic of China).
However, both initiatives aim to help provide St. Lucia’s women with the skills, resources and support needed to secure gainful employment.
This comes after a study by the United Nations found women workers in St. Lucia suffered lower incomes amid the pandemic.
Further, a study by the World Bank highlighted that Caribbean women face greater workplace discrimination and have a harder time finding legitimate, formal employment than men in the region.
Countless other studies, including by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), found that Caribbean women were more greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many doing “double duty” of holding onto their jobs while also being expected to perform unpaid domestic labour such as taking care of relatives who lost their jobs or fell ill.
New programme for women entrepreneurs
St. Lucia’s Single Mothers Micro-Enterprise Assistance Programme, which began in August of this year, specifically targets single mothers.
It aims to help them find jobs by providing training and resources that enable them to start their own businesses.
Project Coordinator Kenyal Wynne noted, “The training encompasses activities that expose participants to the realities of the business environment and provides the required skills to develop and maintain sustainable businesses.”
According to a government statement on the programme, “Unemployed and vulnerable single mothers from various communities around the island can now benefit from effective business and microenterprise opportunities.”
The statement added, “The Single Mothers Microenterprise Assistance Programme is designed to break the dependency cycle and assist mothers who have feasible business ideas.”
Further, some 42 inductees into the programme have since become businesswomen who can launch their own new enterprises.
Taiwan (ROC) funds women’s empowerment programmes
Meanwhile, another 129 St. Lucians graduated from vocational skills training and business incubator programmes funded by Taiwan (ROC).
This includes programmes geared specifically towards women, namely the “Youth and Women’s Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion Programme” and “Business Incubator for Start-up Enterprises Programme”.
Such programmes are just one of many similar women’s empowerment programmes Taiwan (ROC) has been funding, supporting and/or launching throughout the Caribbean recently.
The young St. Lucian women who participated successfully completed courses in digital services, entrepreneurship, education or healthcare.
This will allow them to either start their own businesses or find well-paying jobs in St. Lucia where they can apply their newly acquired skills to “meet their basic needs and improve their circumstances”.