Yes Sis Empowers Women…

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

A PROGRAMME to empower women in the fight against domestic violence has just been concluded.

Yes Sis! is a female empowerment programme that directly engaged 30 young women, age 18 and over to build knowledge and skills necessary for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

The programme ran from May 30 to July 13 with a graduation ceremony planned for August. It took place at the Arima Community Centre.

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Spearheaded by Drama Making A Difference (DMAD) company, the programme is supported by the First Citizens Foundation, through its Advancement of Women Committee which saw it as a practical and creative way of bringing education, awareness, engagement and sustainable change, DMAD’s General Manager and Creative Director Andre Dillon said.

According to Melissa Escovalez, Lead Facilitator of Yes Sis!,“Our major objective is to build gate keepers for the women community. In my experience thus far, my interactions with these young women have been nothing short of amazing. Recognising that there are so many women who have either been a victim of abuse or have been an abuser and they had no idea is mind blowing. Seeing their growth in the way they speak and think is also very inspiring to me.

“The importance of strengthening the knowledge of women on Gender Based Violence is one that I think is definitely needed nationwide. I believe that the implementation of projects such as these awakens something in the woman that arms her so that she can better protect herself and her sis!”

The program consisted of empowerment workshops which use theatre forms such as Playback Theatre which is an interactive form of improvisational theatre in which the audience or participant tells stories from their everyday lives and watches live re-enactments by the group of actors. 

The sessions were reinforced through mentorship sessions that engaged participants in facilitated conversations on topics such as respectful relationships and women’s rights.

Consultant Project Coordinator Kwasi Cudjoe, said “The utilisation of the performing arts as a teaching and advocacy tool is effective and that the team was eager to create meaningful impact directly.”

From the First Citizens Foundation Dr Jennifer Jones-Morales  told AZP News, “The First Citizens Foundation saw the potential of Yes Sis! from the onset, the program was dedicated to raising awareness of gender-based violence in areas where the research showed it was most needed. 


“Additionally we were pleased to find that Yes SiS! promises community engagement and impact, education and empowerment and practical and sustainable development-all wrapped together in a creative and engaging format.”

Jones-Morales also said First Citizens was pleased to work with DMAD to put the heart of First Citizens Community into action – “building a sense of community, serving within the community, collaborating and meeting the needs of various individual communities.” 

While DMAD has facilitated similar type outreach programmes, Yes Sis! is the first of its kind.

Dillon said the feedback was great and as long as further funding was available, he will be looking to conduct another Yes Sis! programme.

Anyone interested in the programmes offered by DMAD can call 293-9134 or email at


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