On the occasion of the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, we dive into Carol Healy’s experience in promoting women’s rights in the Caribbean, with the Spotlight Initiative. This is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous support from the European Union. It aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
Carol is an Irish-funded UN Youth Volunteer with the UNDP Multi-Country Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean serving as Assistant Gender Analyst. She majored in political science and economics and her interest in gender issues and equality led her to work in multiple organizations and other volunteer positions. Her work experience and passion for development called her to be a UN Volunteer.
As part of her assignment, Carol highlights a mission to Grenada in June, where she supported the launching of a data system, in collaboration with the government. This system facilitates the collection of crucial administrative data on incidents of violence against women to enhance evidence-based decision-making processes. Carol learned the importance of multilateral collaboration in projects of such scale. The UN does not operate in isolation but depends on partnerships with governments and civil societies for effective impact.
In the realm of her daily work, it was ever-changing. “At the moment, I am supporting the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative in Grenada. This involves coordinating with consultants, engaging with government stakeholders in Grenada, or even actively participating in broader gender-related projects at the office,” Carol said.
Why Barbados? Carol shares, “I wanted the change and I wanted to specialize in gender. This is a position funded by the Irish Government and the island is one of the targeted countries.” The support from her colleagues and fellow UNVs, combined with the friendly atmosphere of Barbados, facilitated a seamless transition.
As our conversation concludes, Carol's final message resonates as an encouragement to people seeking international volunteering experiences with the UN.
I would encourage anyone to volunteer with the UN. It is a life-changing experience, eye-opening and I feel like I developed here as a person. Just go for it and be brave and be open to everything.
As a UN Volunteer, she highlights the opportunities for personal and professional growth through initiative and engagement. Ideas and participation are highly encouraged at her office which helped her develop into her role.
By the end of the year, Carol will be returning to Ireland to complete her master's degree, remembering her time in Barbados as a nourishing journey. Carol’s experiences offer insights into the transformative power of international UN Volunteering, emphasizing the ongoing need for collaborative efforts to empower women worldwide.
This article was written with the kind support of Online Volunteer, Laiselys Barreto.