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Fancy women to get international award

Fancy women to get international award

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Women’s groups across the globe celebrated International Day of Rural Women on Wednesday, October 15. For the Fancy Community Help Group (FCHG), that day was a double celebration when it was announced at a press conference that they have been selected to receive the 2008 Woman’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) prize.{{more}}

The FCHG will receive a sum of US$500 and a certificate complete with a medal of recognition, which Dr Adrian Fraser, Director of the UWI Open Campus (SVG), accepted on their behalf. The group was unable to attend the press conference due to transportation problems. Fraser related that the award could not have come at a more opportune moment because the UWI Open Campus recently decided to place more focus on community-based work/projects.

One of the 13 laureates selected this year; the FCHG was awarded the prize for ‘Women’s creativity in rural life’. This group has been working closely with the Women and Development (WAND) unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and was nominated for the award by Judith Soares, Head of the unit. According to a press release from the WAND unit, the prize seeks to honour “… women all around the world for their contribution to improving the quality of life in rural communities, the protection of their surroundings, the transmission of knowledge and the fight for human rights and for peace.”

Also present was Michael Thomas, Research Officer at the UWI Open Campus. He related that since the prize’s inception in 1994, this is the first time that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has won it. More importantly, this is the first time that a Caribbean country has scooped the award. “It is quite a significant achievement!” he enthused. “Yet again, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is leading the way…”

Founded in 1997, the women of the FCHG have spearheaded many projects within their community. Two of the most notable are: a pig-farming project from which the revenue generated was used to fund other projects, and an indigenous community banking system, which provides financial assistance (loans) for educational purposes. The latter being the project the group received the prize for. “The women themselves were determined to make it work,” Judith Soares assured.

Soares took the opportunity to inform the media of an important multimedia project that the WAND unit is intent on implementing in the Fancy community. However, this will take several years to come to fruition. In the mean time, the WAND unit will be helping the women in the FCHG to become computer literate, in preparation for the project. If successful in Fancy, the project will eventually be introduced in communities around the region.

The 12 other laureates are from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Portugal (Azores). (JSV)

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