Hi ICAD Blog! I thought I’d share a bit more information on the NGOs I am working with, first up is Women Against Rape Inc (WAR)!
WAR was established in response to the unprecedented reported number of rape cases in Antigua and Barbuda in 2007. As WAR’s tag line “Creating Safe Spaces” would suggest, they are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that caters to the holistic care of women and simultaneously increasing awareness of the damaging effects of rape. WAR provides services and support for victims of rape including: counseling, referral and legal advice, and has a 24-hour support hot line in English and Spanish. WAR has also conducted training sessions for outreach volunteers on topics such as “Dealing with Sexuality Issues” and “Responding to Sexual Violence (Spanish Community)”.
This organization’s focus also encompasses a preventative approach to sexual assault in Antigua. In this regard they aim to increase the public’s awareness on issues of gender inequality and healthy sexuality through a variety of public outreach activities and themed events (sometimes hosted in partnership with other civil societies in the country). WAR is also pushing for specific policy enactment that promotes gender equality, and sexual assault prevention/response. Some examples of WAR’s activities are:
1. UNiTE Orange Day Campaigns*:
- Safe Schools for Girls Day outreach at Christian Faith Academy
- Global Female Condom Day Drive in Saint John’s
2. Healthy Sexuality Workshop for a Church Youth Group: Facilitated discussion and presentation on realizing ones potential in life and staying healthy.
3. Symposium on Gender Inequality and Violence in Antigua and Barbuda at Open Campus of the West Indies: This symposium will focus on the cultural conceptions of gender as it relates to violence, namely domestic and sexual violence. The meeting will generate discussions on the apparent barriers to the realization of gender equality and elimination of gender-based violence in the country.
4. Media Policy Code: In response to the 2012 soca song, Kick Een She Back Door, WAR along with other civil society groups are participating in ongoing meetings with media stakeholders about the possibility of implementing a media code policy in Antigua and Barbuda. See this news article from last year about the controversial song.
5. Human Sexuality Radio Show: Listen to Nurse Wong talk about sex and gender on Thursday mornings between 9:00 and 10:00 am on Sun FM 100.1.
Those are just the ongoing activities that WAR has been involved in the past 2 months of me being here! WAR is composed of general board members, and a group of very dedicated and animated volunteers who work together undertake their projects. WAR’s director, the enthusiastic Nurse Alexandrina Wong (aka reigning queen of gender equality promotion), is the member I primarily interact with and who spearheads much of these activities. I really appreciate the time she takes to explain things to me and we have had some really wonderful discussions about gender inequality, violence prevention and the structure of health care delivery here. I have also had the pleasure of meeting with some of WAR’s amazing volunteers and board members during outreach events or when they stop by the office to chat.
What am I doing?
As I explained before I am interning for 2 organizations, ARC and WAR. I work with WAR only on Mondays and Tuesdays and here are some of the things I have been working through:
- Promotional/informational materials for outreach events: Global Female Condom Day, Safe Schools for Girls Day, Symposium on Gender Inequality and Violence.
- Helping plan and attending outreach events and then documenting and disseminating information on WARs outreach activities. I got to take part in a church youth group’s healthy sexuality workshop, a global female condom day drive and I am helping with the planning for the gender inequality and violence symposium at Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda.
- WAR Resource Library: I am working on assembling an organized file composed of easy to read information and outreach materials that WAR can use for their events and for volunteer training and reference. This includes fact sheets, FAQ sheets, promotional logos and brochures and really anything else we think of to put in there!
- Being creative: While I have been continuing to document WAR’s activities in a very traditional report style manner, I am constantly trying to think of ways that I can organize their past and ongoing activities in a more creative medium (re: that people will be more likely to read). This is something that I think will continue to evolve in the next few months!
I have been learning so much from this organization and as someone without a significant background in gender studies I feel so grateful for the organization’s willingness to share their expertise with me. I am honestly shocked at how fast these past two months have come and gone! In the upcoming weeks I will provide some more information about the media code policy discussions, as well as the symposium.
* Often WAR draws inspiration from the UNiTE global campaign to end violence against women for theme days on the 25th of each month! Check it out