Since 2015, RET has directly supported more than 4.5 K direct beneficiaries in Belize, 54% of them are vulnerable women & girls throughout 9 projects focused on Protection (Child protection, Gender-based Violence, and Refugee & asylum seekers International Protection), Democracy & Governance (Youth Empowerment & Youth Civic Engagement); Economic Growth & development (Business Development & Entrepreneurship; Vocational Training and Livelihoods.) Since 2015, RET has conducted operations in Belize City, Cayo District, and Stann Creek.
Since October 2015, RET began its operations in Belize with interventions centered in Belize City and the Cayo District, aiming to reduce the risk of youth engagement in criminal activities by building employment and leadership opportunities through income-generating opportunities for vulnerable youth. The programs focused on providing youth with skills and capacities to become employed or self-employed and enable them to take up leadership roles in their communities, therefore becoming positive social change actors. The holistic approach to working with youth showed a positive impact by increasing the number of youth associations and youth-led organizations in the communities. RET worked with national organizations to develop a national program that addresses the socio-economic, psychosocial, and educational challenges of vulnerable youth, families, and communities. Moreover, RET in Belize provided job creation opportunities for youth and marginalized communities as an alternative to crime and violence and provided at-risk youth with productive alternative activities that increase their leadership skills, apprenticeship, and income-generating opportunities.
Moreover, RET was actively involved in protection projects to develop the government’s capacity and strengthen civil society for timely, transparent responses to Gender-based violence (GBV) and trafficking in persons (TIP) in vulnerable communities in Belize. RET enhanced community service providers’ capacity to assist women and youth at risk of GBV and referred them to legal services. It also created a “Resource and Reference Guide” to enhance access to services, build capacity development of key frontline responders and public education officials, in tandem with raising awareness in the affected communities on the mentioned issues. RET also strengthened civil society’s capacity to monitor service delivery for accountability and transparency.
Finally, RET implemented an awareness campaign for full participation in the Referendum on the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute. Young participants developed user-friendly documentation to support the national public campaign on the International Court of Justice Referendum.
Shelters with Adequate Functioning for an Effective response to human trafficking in Belize (SAFE Belize) 2021-2025
The proposed intervention aims to build the institutional capacity of existing and potential shelters through the elaboration of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), advocacy actions, and an awareness campaign, resulting in improved and more significant response to Human Trafficking (HT) victims in Belize. RET will develop a bottom-up strategy to create the SOP to be discussed and validated with the Government of Belize and identify and support newly organized groups that can help counter Human Trafficking by focusing on target groups and service deliverers as the actual policy implementers.
RET will lead a strategy that will allow 30 representatives of GoB/CS and the three existing shelters to jointly engage in discussions to develop the SOP. Subsequently, 80 shelter staff and frontline workers (Community Advocates, Defense and Police Forces, Custom and Immigration Officers) will be trained on the SOP to assist better and support HT victims. Once the SOP is created and validated, three potential new shelters (organized/advocacy groups) will be identified to formally become shelters for HT victims. Consequently, members of different NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs will receive training and support on the procedures to become a shelter and on the SOP package; the GoB will be represented through officers from the A-TIPS Council, Women’s Department and the Domestic Violence Unit. A Task Force Group will be created to guarantee collaborative actions counter HT at the national level. Finally, an HT public education campaign will be conducted, directly sensitizing people and guaranteeing that at least 50% of them commit to taking action, pledging to advocate against HT.
The project, implemented between July 2021 and June 2025, is funded by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the United States Department and implemented by RET in Belize.
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RET Youth Ambassadors in Belize: empowering capacities to reduce Gender Based Violence incidences and respond to community challenges
The project aimed to increase the resilience of young people in Belize by empowering their capacities related to Mental Health, Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Young people were trained through a collaborative and youth-centred approach led by RET according to its institutional youth methodology. The training enabled the creation of a group of young leaders, which led and organized awareness raising activities in their communities.
The young leaders group in Belize was related to the RET Youth Ambassadors Group (YAG) at global level. A total of 80 youth were directly reached by the project and up to 500 people by the awareness campaign and activities led by the youth. The group created through this intervention will become a communitybased actor that will contribute to respond to specific challenges and issues in their communities in the Belize district, namely: Double Head Cabbage, Rancho
Dolores and Scotland Halfmoon. The process will empower youth as capable agents of change in Belize by addressing the protection needs of the population in the country, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the containment measures increased their vulnerability. A newly youth-led group/network was formed, “Helping Hands Youth Council” which is now a community-based actor created to respond to multiple challenges in the three communities in the Belize District.
This project, implemented between September 2020 and September 2021, was funded by the Canadian Government, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and implemented by RET in Belize.
Strengthening Government and Civil Society Partnership for timely Transparent Response to Gender-based Violence and Trafficking in Persons
This project aimed to develop the capacity of the government and strengthen the civil society for timely, transparent responses to Gender-based violence (GBV) and trafficking in persons (TIP) in vulnerable communities in Belize, and to enhance the capacity of 500 community service providers to assist women and youth at risk of GBV and referring them to legal services. The project aligned with the“National Gender-Based Action Plan 2017-2020”, underlined RET’s expertise in putting in place coordination mechanisms between the local government, the civil society organizations, the non-profit initiatives, as well as coordinating with society actors in the communities to improve service delivery and to have a significant influence in response to GBV and TIP violations in the most vulnerable and marginalized communities throughout Belize.
This project, implemented between September 2017 and June 2019, was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and implemented by RET in Belize.
Refugee and Asylum Seekers in Belize
The continued escalation of violence in the Northern Triangle, and Belize’s classification as a transient country, has led to an increased number of asylum seekers in Belize. Belize’s laws governing refugees, asylum seekers and other forms of migrants criminalizes status-related infractions and classifies such persons as ‘prohibited migrant”. These laws have created restrictions on the mobility of vulnerable groups trying to enter Belize through the proper legal channels and forced them to either entering Belize using informal port of entries or causing them to hide within communities along the borders. The social Integration project aims at supporting and enabling a more comprehensive and sustained integration of refugees, asylum seekers and in particularly persons of concern (PoCs), through legal counselling and refugee status procedures; engagement in integration initiatives; and, access to livelihoods opportunities.
This project, implemented between October 2019 and March 2021, was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and implemented by RET in Belize.