The Area Consultations on the National Gender Equality Policy and Action Plan (GEPAP) have been promising thus far, says Mrs. Elaine Henry-McQueen, Senior Programme Officer of the Division of Gender and Family Affairs in the Ministry of Social Development and Housing.
Speaking to the GIS on Tuesday, Mrs. McQueen said that such sessions are vital to the development of a gender equality policy that is responsive to the current needs of Grenadians at all stages.
“If we have to end up with a policy that responds to our current situation; that hopes to meet our needs; that hopes to help solve our problems, and that can take us from where we are to a better place, we need to hear the voices,” Mrs. McQueen said.
Although discussions have been held with various sectors throughout the country, including the Sister Isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Mrs. McQueen says that the Division now needs to hear from community members themselves.
“We need to hear people speaking about their experiences based on what they know happens in their communities, parishes and Grenada as a whole.”
According the Senior Programme Officer, the contribution of the youth is also very important to the process, so much so, that a separate meeting is planned for them.
“We will be meeting with the youth in a focus group session to know what direction they would like to see this going, so that we can build a policy that, not only can respond to their needs, but also be visionary in its approach.”
She says that on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, she rates the general public’s input in the policy development process at a 10, and thanks the community members who have attended the consultations with a willingness to share their experiences and give vital information.
Mrs. McQueen says that by these sessions, the Division is not only looking to extract information, but also to offer support and assistance, where it can.