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MAP programme officially launched

MAP programme officially launched

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United States Peace Corps Director Cuthbert “Mr. Cool” James says that he is very happy that the MAP (men as partners) empowerMENt programme has been officially launched.{{more}}

The MAP project was officially launched on Friday, December 2, at a ceremony at the Youth Affairs Department Office.

During his address, James said that the project is one he has been interested in for many years.

“Mr. Cool”, as he is popularly known, also explained how the Peace Corps became involved in the project and further noted that they are pleased to be a part of the initiative.

“A couple years ago, we invited some men from St. Vincent to go St. Lucia to attend a training programme and that set the stage for exactly what is happening here today, and some of those persons who went to St. Lucia then, are part of the programme today.

“As a demonstration of my continued support of this initiative, I ensured that Peace Corps volunteer, Scott Sharland, … was brought back to SVG as a Peace Corps response volunteer… to assist with moving the program forward,” Mr. Cool said.

The Peace Corps Director further noted that, over the past ten years, there have been many initiatives to empower women and the needs of the men, unfortunately, have been overlooked.

According to the director, “in recent years, however, we have seen boys decline in academic performance in schools, a decline in male enrolment in institutions of higher learning. There has been an increase in street and gang violence and increased rates of male incarceration and homicide”.

“This men empowerMENt programme is aimed at using a male only space, to generate male defined and male led movement that engages men and boys as partners in community and family life and encourages and enables them responsibility for their behaviour,” he added.

Meanwhile, Minster responsible for National Mobilisation Frederick Stevenson officially declared the launch of the MAP empowerMENt programme.

He informed the small gathering that his ministry is committed to the development of the nation’s boys and men, hence their reason for joining with the Youth Affairs department in order to assist with the empowerment of men to live better life styles.

The participants who completed the facilitators’ workshop in October also received their certificates at the event.

The MAP empowerMENt programme seeks to create a national movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to empower men to live healthy lives. The project is being led by the Youth Affairs department and the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Family, Persons with Disabilities, Youth, Sports and Culture.

During the month of December, the MAP empowerMENt project will be starting outreach programmes in Barrouallie, Green Hill and at the SVG Coast Guard in Calliaqua. As part of the outreach, workshops will be conducted, using creative, edutainment methods of facilitation.

The objectives of the programme are to empower males to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, to reduce violence and to encourage men to reduce their own risk taking behaviours.

Topics to be discussed during the workshops include: relationships, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, HIV, STIs, stigma and discrimination.

Approximately 100 men from the three communities will take part in the programme. Weekly sport and activities will take place in each community following the workshops, to ensure sustainability of the project.(AA)

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