Since 2015, RET has directly supported more than 2.874 direct participants in Belize, 72% of them are vulnerable women and indirectly benefitted 14,370 participants throughout 7 projects focused on Gender Equality & Social Inclusion, Youth Empowerment, Self-reliance& Livelihoods, Education and Migration & Mobility.
Belize is a Central American country neighboring the region often referred to as part of the Northern Territories, comprised of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The people fleeing from the latter countries are seeking refugee protection against violence in their own countries linked mainly to gang activities, exacerbated by the drug route forcing itself through Central America. Many of the refugees are vulnerable women and children taking this journey out of desperation, to flee violence and, in particular, gender-based violence. Belize, so close to this epicenter of crisis, is host to those seeking asylum. Accordingly, Belize shows a high unemployment rate and low secondary school attendance rates, creating the requisite conditions for similar violence to take hold and leaving youth to face a real lack of opportunities.
RET began its operations in Belize in October 2015, with interventions centered in Belize City and the Cayo District, which aimed to open income generating opportunities for vulnerable youth through educational initiatives. In addition to building youth resilience programs and providing them with opportunities for livelihoods and income generating opportunities, RET is actively involved in protection projects to strengthen the government and civil society in response to gender-based violence and trafficking in persons.
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.