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Story Highlights

  • The European Union (EU) has expressed an interest in providing financial assistance to the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), to help boost the institution’s services.
  • Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, says there have been preliminary discussions with the Government of Jamaica regarding the funding.
  • Ambassador Amadei was accompanied by Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, under whose purview the WCJF falls.

The European Union (EU) has expressed an interest in providing financial assistance to the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), to help boost the institution’s services.

This intervention is expected to significantly enhance the Foundation’s services to teenage mothers, aged 17 and under, who have dropped out of secondary school due to pregnancy.

Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, says there have been preliminary discussions with the Government of Jamaica regarding the funding.

She made this disclosure in an interview with JIS News following a tour of the WCJF main centre at Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, on Monday, May 12.

Ambassador Amadei was accompanied by Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, under whose purview the WCJF falls.

The Ambassador said the EU’s input is expected to focus on fostering the girls’ education, as well as promoting gender equality, and children’s welfare. She noted that these are two of the main focus areas of the Foundation.

“We (EU/Government) have been discussing the possibilities of funding within the existing programme of the EU. Indeed, the Centre caters for a population that constitutes the main beneficiaries of the EU programmes, and we will continue the discussions, we have started,” she advised.

Ambassador Amadei said her visit to the centre, provided a first-hand look at the activities of the staff, who she commended for the “very valuable work they do in (enabling) the re-integration of girls back into the formal school system.”

She welcomed this intervention, pointing out that the girls would, otherwise, not be able to complete their education, which would have serious implications for themselves and their children.

“I think…a wonderful job is being done. What I have also seen as well (is) that there are teachers who are here on a voluntary basis…and I think that is very good,” Ambassador Amadei added.

Senator Falconer welcomed the EU’s interest in the Centre.

“The Ambassador has a tremendous amount of interest in women and girls, and…was interested in coming to look at the Women’s Centre Foundation, and… the work that we do here, to see how it is they can help us to advance our cause and expand the services that we offer here,” the Minister stated.

Noting the Foundation’s limited resources, Senator Falconer said she anticipates that the EU’s intervention will go a far way in ensuring that the facility can deliver the quality of services that meets the needs of all its clients “especially the girls in rural Jamaica, where there is a tremendous need.”

The Minister also commended the work of the Foundation’s staff, who she pointed out have performed well in delivering services over the past 30 years.

“They have done tremendous work over the years… and have impacted the lives of so many girls who, otherwise, would not have had a chance at furthering their education; so I am very pleased with the work,” she said.

Senator Falconer indicated that she was also particularly pleased that the staff, through dedication and commitment, have been able to “use the little they have to give a lot to the girls.”

Acting Executive Director, Zoe Simpson, also welcomed the EU’s interest in the institution.

“We are very excited about the prospects and the fact that she (Ambassador Amadei) has taken an interest in the programme and activities and is desirous of helping us with the expansion work that we are seeking to do,” she said.

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation currently has 1,376 teen mothers registered in its seven centres and 10 outreach sites islandwide, which are staffed by 85 full time employees.