Men too can access economic, other empowerment services


Responding to a plea for more empowerment programmes for men and the publicising of existing ones, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud on Sunday said that men can also access some of the empowerment services being offered to women.

Dr. Persaud said that while there are limited facilities for men, the Ministry is in the process of developing other programmes for single men and men who are single fathers or facing domestic abuse.

She said in the interim, there is nothing barring men from accessing and participating in some of the economic and other services currently being given to women.

“Nothing that is there for women through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has a barrier that says keep out men, not at all, it is still open for you,” Dr. Persaud noted.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud (Photo: MHSSS/June 12, 2022)

The Minister was at the time speaking at the ‘Breaking the Stigma’ walk organised by the Men Hearing Men, Helping Men, Healing Men organisation under the theme, “Encouraging, Empowering Men. It’s Okay to Say You’re Not Okay.”

“I don’t need people to say there is nothing because there is. Yes, we need to publish more, but there is stuff for men,” Dr. Persaud noted.

The Organisation’s Founder Randy Shepherd said it was daunting that men have to hear so much about programmes to empower women.

“… and yes, there are programmes for men, but I don’t think it is being put out there enough to get the attention of men.

“Minister I am pleading with you this morning, as a man, a father and a Guyanese, reach out to our men a little more. Please put the programmes that your ministry has when it comes to dealing with men issues, it needs to be put out there because a lot of men don’t know about it,” Sheppard said.

He said when he spoke to the Minister last year, she informed him that men can benefit from some of the facilities that women currently benefit from, but noted that there had been challenges in accessing the aid and support.

Randy Shepherd (Photo: MHSSS/June 12, 2022)

“When men go to these places they are told to come back and that they need to get this and that and men have a way they wouldn’t continue hitting on the door. You go two, three times and you’re pushed around you walk away.

“I’m making a plea to you minister to please help us. If we get the help we need I know we can be better men and better fathers and contribute to society,” Sheppard, who is a single father and passionate about men’s welfare, said.
In turn, Minister Persaud advised that there are currently training sessions on anger management and conflict resolution for men in all regions across the country.

That is one but not the only thing for men, and persons can access the service by contacting the Gender Affairs Bureau at the Ministry to find out where and when the next sessions will be held.

In addition, Dr. Persaud said the Ministry has started men’s groups across all regions.

“It took some doing and I was happy to attend some sessions and at everyone there were similar calls.”

In the area of economic empowerment, the Minister singled out the Women’s Innovation Investment Network (WIIN) programme through which over 2, 000 women were trained in 2021.

Registration for 2022 courses is currently open and the Minister has advised that men too can participate in the in-person and virtual training sessions.

The Minister said it was important similarly to give women the support they need because statistics show that they are mostly the single parents left with children and the ones most subjected to abuse.

“While we work on all these initiatives, I ask men from time to time to put aside the conventional and traditional macho image. Put it aside,” Persaud admonished.

She said men too can utilised the iMatter app for persons facing domestic abuse, access shelters across the country and enroll in the survivors’ advocate programme.

In addition, Dr. Persaud said several Hope and Justice Centers will be launched and men are welcome to participate.

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