CDU offers leadership training for young women in Belize – Searchlight

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From left to right: Tracy Panton, Nick Francis and Taitu Heron

The Caribbean Democratic Union (CDU), in partnership with the Conservative Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Programme; the Women and Development Unit (WAND), UWI Open Campus; the LeadHership Institute; and the UDP National Organization of Women (NOW) is engaged in a 10-week leadership training certificate program for young women aged 18-25 in Belize. This pilot program was launched by Tracy Panton who is vice president for women and minorities on the CDU board, according to a statement from the New Democratic Party (NDP). Twenty-five young women from UDP NOW with an interest in governance, leadership and political participation are currently engaged in the program which focuses on several key areas including women in politics, advocacy tools, media training and public speaking. In addition, the youth interns will take part in a field trip to the Parliament of Belize this week.

The sessions are led virtually via the Zoom platform including practical exercises and group work for the assimilation of learning.

Panthon said: “It is extremely important that democracies function optimally so that women have a place at the decision-making table. “We need to empower our young women by providing them with opportunities to develop their leadership skills and engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers.”

And Nick Francis, CDU General Secretary, noted that: “As we continue our work to increase women’s political participation in the Caribbean region, initiatives such as this training program in Belize will help maintain the leadership of women and gender equality at the forefront of our political and social discourse”.

The training sessions for the 25 participants started on January 29, 2022 and will end with a graduation ceremony on Saturday March 26, 2022 where certificates will be awarded.

Mara R. Wilmoth