Women’s co-operatives in Grenada – Making a National Contribution and Social Impact

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Senator Brenda Hood is a Grenadian politician from the New National Party. She has served in the Parliament of Grenada since 1999 as the Minister of Tourism and in 2014 she took on the responsibility as Minister of Culture and Cooperatives and her national contribution and impact is now being felt through her most recent initiative which includes the formation of diverse women’s cooperatives on the island.

After living and studying in Canada, Senator Hood returned to Grenada in 1992 because she aspired to make a difference to women and children in her country of birth. She started her career as the Chief Executive Officer for the Grenada Save the Children Fund which had an affiliation with Save the Children Canada. She had contacts and friends in Canada who advocated the funding to get the project going. At the same time the Federal Government of Canada had a student volunteer program which encouraged students to travel and work in Grenada to support her new initiative.

Another area she made a major impact was in creating a program that allowed pregnant teenage girls to continue with school. The Grenadian Government had just signed and ratified the United Nations Convention that protected the rights of the child and one of the main issues was the right to education for any child up to the age of eighteen. And so the Coalition for the Rights of the child was started as well as the continuing education program for adolescent mothers.

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Tye dye and Zimbabwe Sadza Batik

Senator Hood has a passion to create opportunities for self-employment and empowering women in the acquisition of new skills by training them to learn various textile art techniques such as batik and tye dye. The unemployment rate in Grenada is roughly 25% and most of the unemployed are females.

She recently organized a series of fabric workshops where the women learnt fabric painting techniques from Zimbabwe. The methods can be applied to all kinds of fabric such as cotton and silk. The products produced such as hand painted table clothes, cushions, curtains and clothes can be sold locally to tourists who visit the Island on cruise ships and be exported throughout the Caribbean and abroad.

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Grenada Ministry of Culture Women’s Co-operatives Fabric Workshop

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Getrude Matshe running Grenada Ministry of Culture Women’s Co-operatives Fabric Workshop

In a recent interview with Senator Hood I tried to explore what propelled her to embark upon this new project. She said that the main benefits of co-operatives was that the women were learning to work as teams and gaining different kinds of disciplines that are necessary to make any business prosperous. For example leadership and managerial skills; marketing and financial management and the creative aspects.

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Grenada Ministry of Culture Women’s Co-operatives Fabric Workshop

Senator Brenda Hood’s other areas of responsibility include The SpiceMas, Pure Grenada, The National Lottery and the Grenada Cultural Foundation.

For more information about the Grenada Women’s Co-operatives please contact Senator Brenda Hood at the Grenada Department of Culture and Co-operatives.

Ministerial Complex Botanical Gardens Tanteen, St. George’s

Tel: (473) 440-0366 Fax: (473) 440-0443 E-Mail: tourism@gov.gd

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