The Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA) is a community-based organization that began in 2003 in Dangriga Town, out of a project for the empowerment of women in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Belize. The organization has 25 women who are active members and another 20 women who are occasionally involved in the work of the group. In 2011, out of concern for our girls, POWA started its youth arm called Pink POWA. The youth arm focuses on girls that are vulnerable because of their exposure to issues such as HIV and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The girls also participate collectively in POWA’s activities. Members of POWA and Pink POWA have received extensive training in several areas, including: HIV/AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education; community outreach; self-esteem; assertiveness, and negotiation skills. The members are active in their neighborhoods and the wider Dangriga community as Community Ambassadors. POWA has received several national and international awards and recognition for its work. In 2008, the Women’s Department awarded POWA its Group of the Year award, and in 2010 POWA won the UNAIDS Red Ribbon Award for outstanding and innovative community work in the area of HIV and GBV education. Additionally, POWA was selected as the most outstanding group working towards the empowerment of women and girls. In February of 2013 the “Dangriga Cares” Center was inaugurated. This building is a safe place for community members to interact. POWA is the managing organization for the center and it has initiated several activities and classes, which include early childhood stimulation programs, as well as parenting classes and workshops on various topics around HIV and GBV support. The center also provides programs to enhance the knowledge and skill base of women, men and children.


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