The Ministry of Social Transformation through its Directorate of Gender Affairs Antigua Barbuda (DoGA) joined UN Women Multi Country Office Caribbean on a mission to Dominica to assist the Dominica Bureau of Gender Affairs with a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
DoGA Acting Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, and Communications Officer, Raisa Charles, accompanied UN Deputy Representative, Tonni Brodber, to Dominica from October 22nd to October 25th to complete a post-disaster needs assessment for the storm-ravaged island.
The team visited shelters in the Colihaut, Coulibistre, Marigot, Bellevue Chopin, and Castle Bruce areas as well as the Kalinago territory to speak with locals who had been displaced by the storm and assess their most pressing needs since Maria’s passage.
Having recently been affected by hurricane Irma and Maria the Directorate of Gender Affairs Antigua & Barbuda were ready to stand in solidarity with Dominica after Maria devastated the island on September 19. This visit is the second Dominica relief initiative DoGA Antigua Barbuda has participated in after working with UN Women and UNFPA jointly to ship 250 dignity kit items to the Burreau of Gender Affairs immediately after the storm.
Officer in Charge of the Dominica Bureau of Gender Affairs, Melissa Morgan said she is grateful or the assistance her agency continues to receive from UN Women and from her colleagues in Antigua & Barbuda.
“With their support, we were able to reach out to vulnerable persons in approximately 10 communities that were significantly impacted by Hurricane Maria,” she said.
The collaboration between the two islands further represents a sterling example of developing nations assisting each other to mutually build their capacities in disaster response. This exchange of knowledge, skills, and resources, known as south-south cooperation, is fundamental to improving standards and quality of life in the developing world.
“We have recognized the strong link between gender equality and disaster resilience and therefore we have worked collaboratively to ensure that the voices and needs of women, girls, men and boys are taken seriously in the post disaster needs assessment and also future programming,” she said.
Morgan also noted that there would be a continued need for this type of regional partnership as both countries move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Acting Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs, Farmala Jacobs expressed her appreciation to UN Women Multi-Country Office Caribbean for the opportunity to collaborate with the Burreau of Gender Affairs, Dominica to share skills and expertise with each other to address the climate change challenges that affect the Caribbean region.
Deputy Representative of UN Women Multi-Country Office, Tonni Broder also lauded the collaborative efforts of both agencies.
“There is so much expertise and experience in the region regarding gender responsive humanitarian action. It was very important for us to highlight regional expertise and provide the opportunity for National Gender Machineries to support one another through south-south collaboration.”
DoGA Antigua and Barbuda has pledged to continue working with their colleagues in Dominica as recovery efforts continue.