Services for women and children who experience domestic or gender-based violence will benefit from a newly updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Garden of Rebirth.

The new MOU was signed on Wednesday, March 08, 2023, during a brief ceremony at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities housed in The Cable Building on Cayon Street. It lays out the terms of the partnership between the two parties. The signing was symbolically done on International Women’s Day.

Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, welcomed the updated terms noting that the government cherishes its relationship with civil society.

“We lean a lot on our civil society organizations, our NGOs, to be able to fill gaps that government just cannot get to at this point in time,” the Minister of State said. “… I’m hoping that with continued discussions that we will be able to continue evolving the relationship in the way that we work together … so that we can improve system efficiencies and really provide the services that are absolutely necessary as it relates to combating gender-based violence.”

According to its website, the Garden of Rebirth is “an empowerment centre housing women and children victimized by abuse.”

Mrs. Etsu Bradshaw Caines, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Garden of Rebirth, noted that the organization offers several services that can be used to strengthen persons.

“We are a centre that has branched out into empowerment training,” she expressed. “We have a lot of projects; we have funding that we have sitting there for programmes that we hope we can partner with your ministry [benefiting] youth, men and women.”

Funding for training to combat gender-based violence as well as an upcoming hydroponics project was highlighted by Mrs. Bradshaw-Caines as areas for improved cooperation.

“We are happy that you are our sister, our brother,” she said to the government officials in attendance. “We are ready to work and go out there and save women and children. And I want to say that my family, who are a part of this project, they are already challenging that we have to start looking after men and boys as well.”

The MOU was signed by Virgil Jeffers, Director of Gender Affairs, Minister of State Phillip, and Mrs. Bradshaw Caines. Rita Cable also signed as a witness.