Every year the Women Department celebrates its 16 days of activism which begins on November 25th. It starts with an opening ceremony and then a march through the streets of Belize City to bring awareness and to advocate against different issues women face on a day to day basis - specifically gender-based violence. For the next 16 days, there will be a number of activities lined up for women all over the country to take part in. 7news spoke with Human Development Coordinator, Cynthia Williams.

Cynthia Williams - Human Development Coordinator, Women's Department
"Every year we have this march, we move it around every so often to make sure that we group other communities within the City and so this basically marks up the opening of the activities which occur from today up until December 10 which marks human rights day. We also celebrate and commemorate December 1st which is international world ADS day."

"Through the country we have different types of activities and what we want to highlight is, we have several self-defence sessions throughout the country. The first one is tomorrow in Dangriga Town, and so women are invited to really come and learn new skill on how to keep them safe. We have the other one also in Belmopan which is on December 3rd, so we're inviting the community for women to attend that session."

"This year in particular we have a specific activity that we have worked along with the national council on ageing, to work for their self-defense session for the elderly, So that's a different activity that we are incorporating and that will occur on December 2nd at the YWCA. We again offer the opportunity for the people to access legal rights through our legal clinic. We have the 1st one happening tomorrow at the Cahal Pech in san Ignacio and another on December 7th in Belize City at the ITVET auditorium."

"One of the things that we continue to highlight is the issue of sexual violence and bring awareness and advocating and for people to get to know their information and we are doing that by having two sexual violence forums; one in Corozal and one in Dangriga, in Corozal it is on November 30th and in Dangriga it will be on December 6th. And so we're inviting the public, because we cannot take these forums to every single district, we have chosen to do two hours sessions in each district, with two particular ones in the rural communities so Corozal will be in San Narciso Village and Dangriga we will do it in the Stann Creek Valley community and so each district will have an information session that will bring more information of what sexual violence is. We also have our expo which will happen on December 3rd to bring an opportunity for single mothers, to offer their skills and to also gain income generating opportunities on December 3rd at the NICH parking lot. This year we will have a specific activity that we are working with men and we will have somebody who will talk about it, that we invited men to be, November 27th which is this Sunday at the YWCA."

This year's theme for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is Act Now! End Gender-based Violence. Activities will be happening around the country up until December 10.

Channel 7