Roseau, December 19 – Farmers from twenty farming groups, mostly women, of the Central, South and East farming regions of Dominica came together to share their knowledge, experiences and best practices as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean GUY-DOM project comes to a close in Dominica.
The ‘Strengthening Disaster Management Capacity of Women in the Republic of Guyana and the Commonwealth of Dominica’ (GUY-DOM) project which commenced in Dominica in 2019 aims to strengthen the capacity of particularly women farmers in reducing vulnerabilities to disasters and increasing access to business knowledge, markets and financing.
Under the project, farmers learnt to use climate and weather information to plan their agricultural practices via an approach dubbed the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) and were provided with tools and equipment to assist with their daily activities on the farm.
Approximately 100 farmers, who benefited from the project, participated in a two-day-forum on November 30 at the Fort Young Hotel and December 1 at the Rosalie Bay. The group shared their experiences with the project highlighting specifically how the project impacted them using the ARC of Gathering methodology.
Coordinator of the GUY-DOM project in Dominica, Sawana Fabien explained, “the ARC of Gathering teaches facilitators to think not only of knowledge gained, but of methodologies needed to get participants in the right frame of mind for optimal learning.”
“The ARC of Gathering allows one to design activities based on the ABC’s (Affect, Behaviour, Cognitive), which enable predictions and assumptions for participant’s feelings and behaviour,” Fabien explained further.
At the forum, farmers were asked to share their experiences via discussion groups using drawings, paintings and pictures to illustrate their experiences with the project and to share their challenges and best practices. The symposium also engendered networking in a fun, fast-paced manner to generate interest and excitement.
One participant described the symposium as “very productive and entertaining” and expressed her elation at deciding to attend the session. “The time went so fast, I guess it was the energy that everyone brought to the sessions,” she said.
Another participant of the symposium thanked the UNDP for the opportunity to share what was learned during the workshops. “Thank you for the way you helped the women. This symposium was a reminder of the things we learned. We got a chance to act out and display the number of things we learned during the workshop. It was very good,” she stated.
The Guy-Dom project has served a wide cross section of farmers (70% women) from diverse economic backgrounds but who are equally vulnerable to disaster threats. Rural communities have been targeted for intervention in gaps in development that render them more vulnerable. Ingrained in the project is the gender responsivity of each intervention.
As exogenous threats like COVID-19 continue to impact the region, it is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience, building forward better build and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region. This intervention is part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” vision.