The women's issues network is an umbrella group with 11 member agencies. And now, a new project is taking them out of their offices into the community.

The project is called "Towards Achieving the Millenium Development Goal in Belize through concerted and integrated Civil Society Action" - and while that sounds a little technical, the work they'll be doing for the next 8 weeks is all grassroots.

Y-E-S and The Haven House for battered women are the lead agencies and they told us how it will work:..

Karen Cain, YES Director
"Jules, I remember my mom saying if the mountain cannot come to Muhammad, Muhammad goes to the mountain and so we are looking at that situation where now institutions like YES and Haven House cannot really say where we are located in isolation. But let us come in the communities and be more visible and being in the community we are more accessible and people therefore then a resident has no excuse to say well I cannot come or the services were not offered in my area and that sort of thing."

Dorla Rosado, Director of Haven House
"We are going to have other agencies who are part of the network of WIN Belize and outside the network coming to do presentations on all the pertinent topics that relate to reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender based violence. We did a survey about a month ago in a small section of the Lake Independence area and that survey has revealed that there are questions, there are concerns, there are issues that relate to all of these areas that people don't quite understand that they are not being addressed and we are hoping to bring it to them to a way that they will understand and see the need to access the services. The services are available but not sufficient people are accessing these services."

Karen Cain, YES Director
"But it's important for them to know that BFLA is out there. Alliance Against Aids who works directly with people living with HIV/AIDS and the civil society organizations are here to help."

Jules Vasquez
"Isn't there some level of institutional alienation insofar as these communities have been so chronically under-served by various institutions - both governmental and non-governmental - that there is an inherent sense of alienation and they feel that all these structures, all this Haven House, all this BFLA is just for someone else."

Dorla Rosado, Director of Haven House
"Well I will hope that you are wrong because they are so many people out there who are trying to help."

If the project is successful in Lake Independence it will then be taken to other southside communities..

Channel 7