Dept. of Gender and Family Affairs continues efforts to address violence with two new grants

Mr. David Williams (seated left) of Uplifting Men Ministries and Dr. Carlos Reid (seated right) of Operation Redemption Limited, complete the paperwork that will enable them to receive grant funding from the Department of Gender and Family Affairs for two key projects that are designed to further address Gender-Based Violence in The Bahamas. Mr. Henry Johnson, Male Programme Coordinator at the Department of Gender and Family Affairs is at centre. Also pictured (from left) are: Mr. Keith Cox, President of International Men’s Day (Bahamas) Committee, a strategic partner of the DGFA; Dr. Eric Fox, strategic partner of the DGFA and Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The Department of Gender and Family Affairs (DGFA), Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, continued its efforts to address Gender-Based Violence, and violence in general, in the country, with the provision of grant funding to two local Non-
Governmental/Non-Profit Organizations. The Grant Funding will be used to facilitate a Partnership for Peace (PfP) Male Mentorship Programme, for the further facilitation of a Perpetrators Violence Intervention and Prevention Partnership Programme, and is a
continuation of the Department’s — through its Male Programme — longstanding efforts to target the root causes for, and address, the “high levels” of violence to which Bahamian young males are both victims and perpetrators.

The grant funding allows the DGFA to engage the country’s Non-Profit/Non-Governmental Organizations, who conduct their operations at the community level, as a means of supplementing the initiatives and training opportunities facilitated by the Male Programme. Officials say this methodology ensures greater coverage nationally. The efforts/partnerships include a 2017 collaboration between the DGFA and the National Task Force to End Gender-Based Violence that resulted in the launch of the ‘Reclaiming Our Boys’ Project with a special three-day workshop.

Held under the theme: “Let’s Take Back Our Boys,” the workshop was hosted by the DGFA along with UN Women (United Nations Women) and facilitated by Mr. Tyrone Buckmire, workshop consultant, Dr. Robin Roberts, National Task Force to End Gender-Based Violence, and Ms. Gabrielle Henderson, Senior Programme Specialist, UN Women. To date, two DGFA Partnership “Reclaiming Our Boys” Programmes exist at the Simpson C. Penn Centre for Boys and the L.W. Young Junior High School. One year later, the DGFA created a Male Desk (December 18, 2018) to bring “more focused attention” to issues affecting males across The Bahamas. Its first effort was the facilitation of a Gather the Men Programme with Apostle Clement Russell that was held January 10, 2019.

Since then, the Male Programme has also collaborated with Mr. Buckmire and Ms. Shaqki M. Cornwall, to conduct “Train the Trainers” Partnerships for Peace workshops in which 42 participants from various government ministries, departments, and agencies, including the country’s law enforcement agencies — and 33 representatives from eight non- governmental and civil society organizations were certified.

The objectives of those workshops were to build the capacity of facilitators to deliver a group-based educational programme focused on strengthening the prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and intervention for men and boys, and to support the development of training and the facilitation of further skills for professionals engaged in community-based educational work with men and boys. The DGFA has also collaborated with and/or funded numerous efforts at the community level including the hosting of face-to-face seminars and workshops prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas, and through a series of webinars in the post COVID-19 era, and has worked “hand-in-hand” with many of the country’s Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to monitor the occurrences of violence in homes, schools and families. Additionally, the Department has provided grant funding to its various stakeholder/partner groupings that address matters relating to Conflict Resolution.

The Department, through the Male Programme, has also “made targeted and intentional efforts” to address male development and the need for intervention as part of its education and awareness objectives. The Partnership for Peace Male Mentorship Programme is one such initiative. It is a collaborative effort with Operation Redemption Non- Governmental Organization that is headed by Pastor Carlos Reid. The PfP is a psycho-educational programme that is designed to encourage and support male perpetrators of violence to achieve a violence-free lifestyle. The Programme has ten objectives and will cover areas such as Anger Management, Effective Communication, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management and Trauma recovery, Domestic Violence and the Law, Relapse Prevention and Personal Development, Fatherhood and the Effects of Violence on Children, Manhood, Womanhood and Understanding and Managing Feelings, among others.

The second grant is for the continuation of what officials say has been a successful partnership between the DGFA and Uplifting Men Ministries (a Non-Profit Organization that works in close association with the DGFA) that began in 2018 and continued in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 and led to the implementation of a perpetrators programme to address Gender- Based Violence (GBV) in The Bahamas. The Strategic Plan identified ten “Low Hanging Fruits”, including a GBV Intervention Programme in The Bahamas.

The Perpetrators Violence Prevention Programme is designed to achieve the following; provide training, counseling and social responsibility skills that help offenders be accountable for their knowledge, decisions and actions regarding sexual abuse and violence; to provide formal and informal psycho-social support services that seek to address the impact of GBV on survivors, their families and perpetrators; to establish a system to maintain contact and provide guidance with GBV perpetrators from reporting stage through investigative, counseling and society re-entry in pursuit of the eradication of GBV, and to work with Inter-agency stakeholders to implement perpetrator violence interventions to transform perpetrators into meaningful and productive citizens.

To extend the project’s reach and to be in compliance with the country’s health and safety protocols that were implemented to stop/limit the community spread of COVID-19, the Grant Funding for Uplifting Men’s Ministries, also calls for the production of 10 Instructional/Informational Videos in partnership with the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, that will be used to expand the education and awareness programme.