By partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Harris Paints is joining a proactive effort to help women and young girls in the region – should a natural disaster strike.
The Caribbean paint company has provided space in its main Barbados warehouse for the UNFPA to store 1264 “dignity kits.” This storage allows the UNFPA to respond rapidly to the needs of affected populations in case of an emergency.
In 2017 Harris Paints worked to ship water and supplies, provided by the company, staff and the wider public, for the hurricane ravaged islands of Barbuda and Dominica. This included the distribution of several dignity kits provided by the UNFPA. This current collaboration allows the UNFPA to be even better positioned in advance of a potential disaster.
Randy Warner, Programme Clerk with the UNFPA, explained, “that during natural disasters many women and adolescent girls become more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and lack basic human necessities and protection. Left unattended, it is a situation that becomes progressively more acute. Dignity kits help women and girls maintain their dignity during humanitarian crises. Preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. Supporting women’s self-esteem and confidence also assists them in providing care and protection to their children.”
These kits help mitigate some of these issues and contain toiletries like soap and toothpaste, sanitary supplies and clean undergarments to provide basic hygiene. In other humanitarian efforts UNFPA also works with ministries of health in the region to provide reproductive health kits during emergencies that include items to support clean delivery, rape treatment, the treatment of sexually transmitted infections and other essential drugs, basic equipment and supplies.
“This storage space from Harris Paints allowed us to create and store more dignity kits to facilitate better pre-positioning of emergency supplies should any Caribbean nation face a natural disaster,” said Warner.
Some of the kits will be stored locally but the majority will be sent to the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) in Antigua and Barbuda where they can be distributed throughout the region.
Tracy Johnson, Product and Trade Marketing Manager, welcomed the effort.
“It’s great to partner with an organization like UNFPA who work to support women and adolescent girls when they are at their most vulnerable. We were happy to be able to provide a staging post in their efforts and to assist, should the need arise, in making sure these supplies are available and can get to those that need them as quickly as possible.” (PR)