UN Women teams with UDC to assist female craft traders
Female craft traders operating at Urban Development Corporation (UDC) locations across the island are to benefit from a grant donated by United Nations (UN) Women, the global champion for gender equality.
A cheque for $3,172,814 was symbolically handed over to UDC General Manager Heather Pinnock at Dunn’s River Falls and Park on Thursday, to be shared among the women involved in craft trading in St Ann, Montego Bay, St James; Negril, Westmoreland; and Kingston.
The grant forms part of UN Women’s response to the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, and falls under the EnGenDER project. It comes at a time when women in the craft trade, like so many others, are reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
Pinnock told The Gleaner that the UDC and UN Women were collaborating on a ‘safe cities’ initiative when the topic of the economic impact that the pandemic was having on women came up and the global body offered to assist.
“In those discussions we were talking about how the pandemic has affected lots of people and I mentioned that I have craft markets across the island, because UDC has craft markets in Kingston, in St Ann, in Montego Bay, in Negril, and I mentioned how the people are struggling and really to her credit, Miss Brodber (Tonni Ann Brodber, UN Women representative for the Caribbean) said she would like to help,” Pinnock revealed.
GRATEFUL FOR GRANT
“So we followed through with UN Women and the grants came through in January. I am very grateful because every mickle mek a muckle. We are grateful we are able to help them even in this small way,” she added.
Brodber, based in Barbados and speaking by video conferencing, said it was a pleasure for UN Women to assist.
“I am really excited about this collaboration. This is little but there will be more coming,” she promised.
Craft traders have long been complaining of slow business, and with the onset of COVID-19, the situation has only worsened.
Recognising this, Maxine Smith-Sterling-Whyte, who has been a craft trader at Dunn’s River Falls and Park for several years, is even more grateful for the grant.
“The grant will allow us an opportunity to make a difference. I’m sure the vendors like myself will use it towards developing their business, improving on what they already have,” Smith-Sterling-Whyte said.
“I appreciate the linkage, I really do because it will go towards things we were unable to produce during the COVID pandemic, which still exists. It will be able to reset something.”