NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 24, 2022) — As the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) continues to educate and empower women and girls on the island, its latest move is focused on preparing them to better weather climate change-related global threats and sustainability.
Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, made the comment while delivering remarks at the Opening Ceremony of a historic three-day Agri-preneur Conference on August 23, 2022, at the GMBC Building. The conference is being hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The theme for this conference is ‘Empowering Women and Girls through Climate Smart Agriculture.’ This is a fitting theme, carefully chosen so that the focus would be placed on preparing our women and girls to adapt to build resilience in the face of other global threats especially through climate change.
“We also want to ensure that we keep the sustainability component in view, so that the country can move ever closer to achieving these Sustainable Development Goals.
“The speaker before me spoke of all the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that hinge on food security – no 2. No Hunger; no. 5 Gender Equality; no. 13 is Life on Land, and all the other related goals that come together to form the 17 core Sustainable Development Goals that hinge on our mere existence. So we are today starting on this journey and we are starting with our women and girls,” she said.
The Gender Affairs Minister explained that supermarket shelves on the island were left bare on many occasions due to the recent global crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war between Russia and Ukraine which brought into sharp focus the importance of Sustainable Development Goal no. 2 which addresses bringing an end to hunger.
“We want to achieve Zero Hunger around the world by the year 2030, and that is why we think that it is very important for us to start in our little area, that of Nevis, to target our women and girls. Women have blazed the trail; we have done many things and so we want to have our presence felt in agriculture. That is why we are targeting women and girls at this time.
“It is absolutely necessary for us to ensure that our young people are involved in sustainable agriculture. We want them to employ the recent practices. Before, when we thought about agriculture we thought about long hours in the scorching sun, now we are introducing hydroponics, we are introducing shade houses and so agriculture has become somewhat of a trendy thing nowadays, and so, we are encouraging our young women and girls to take up that mantle and do what we are used to doing – nurturing and feeding our families,” she said.
Mrs. Brandy-Williams used the opportunity to place on record the ministry’s profound gratitude to His Excellency Michael Lin, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Kitts and Nevis, and his team for willingly supporting and assisting with SDGs-related conferences and projects.
She also thanked the team at the Department of Gender Affairs for continuously rolling out programmes to empower, retool and repurpose the women and girls on Nevis.
“In the pandemic they would have trained over 300 persons in various disciplines – basketry, food carving -…and here we are again trying to retool and repurpose our women to be fit for any form of eventuality. So I want to thank the team here at Gender Affairs,” she said.
The minister also expressed gratitude to the participants in the first Agri-preneur Conference. She wished them success and is hopeful that what they are learning would be used to benefit themselves, their families and other women and girls who may cross their paths.