BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, August 16, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is among the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are benefitting from the Republic of China (Taiwan) in assisting the economic empowerment of women post-pandemic of COVID-19 through the Women Employment, Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion Project.
“The Women Employment, Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion Project, is a project that is funded by the Republic of China (Taiwan) to contribute to the economic empowerment of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the post-pandemic,” said Project Coordinator, Ms Claudia Walwyn. “It began last year November and it is aimed at assisting women to combat some of the ill-effects of COVID on their livelihoods.”
The Federation of St, Kitts and Nevis, being an ally of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Latin America and the Caribbean, is a beneficiary. The project is administered by the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) through the Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Kitts and Nevis.
“In the local economy it is to stimulate growth and social stability by integrating technical assistance and financial services to strengthen women’s livelihoods support, relief counselling for the support of micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and to expand the coverage of inclusion for financial services for women in business,” explained Ms Walwyn.
The project targets women who are either unemployed, under-employed or women who are self-employed. A number of women would have been under-employed, and in explaining, Ms Walwyn observed that some persons would have been in jobs just to make ends meet, which meant that not everyone would have been fully employed based on their qualification and expertise.
“The project’s main activity is centred on vocational training of women entrepreneurs,” noted the Project Coordinator. “So far we have done four of those vocational trainings on St. Kitts and we have done two on Nevis. We are in the process of opening applications for the third and final training on Nevis, and that will come about in September.”
The Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs, is the project’s major partner and main force behind the project as they administer it. The Ministry works as a team with the project to develop the criteria, do advertising, and do the selection of the women, while the project personnel conduct the training after identifying suitable facilitators. Each of the training sessions is attended by about 40 participants.
Training sessions so far held are Business Strategy, Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship, Beauty Entrepreneurship, and Business Strategy and Innovation Entrepreneurship on St. Kitts, while on Nevis the two held are Application and Innovation of Digital Skills, and Beauty Entrepreneurship. The third training session to be held in Nevis will be Micro-trade Purchases and Sales Skills in September.
The Project team includes Mr Yu-Ming Lu who is the technical lead for the Taiwan Technical Mission, Mr Andrew Tseng who is his assistant, and Ms Brianda Harvey who is the Project Administrative and Communication officer.
“Training usually takes about three to four weeks and through the course we train them on business and ability skills, and how to develop a business plan,” noted Ms Walwyn. “Each trainee ends with a business plan which is approved by the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) who is also another partner. The participants then make a pitch presentation to a panel of judges to be able to qualify themselves for ten positions out of 40.”
Of the top ten among the participants, each end up winning a grant of US$3,000 which according to the Project Coordinator is given to them in stages to further develop their businesses. The Small Business Development Centre, another of the partners, provides Women’s Entrepreneurial Development Counselling.
According to Ms Claudia Walwyn, the Taiwan Technical Mission in St. Kitts and Nevis will continue its efforts in assisting capacity building and facilitating women empowerment in St. Kitts and Nevis under the Women Employment, Empowerment and Financial Inclusion Project.