On March 24, the Successful Women on
Toward Self-Reliance (SWOT)Programme - championed and funded by Neal & Massy
Wood Group and geared toward the development of at-risk women in the Mayaro
community - was featured in the Trinidad Express. See the article
taking control in Guayaguayare
By Afiya Ray
Created: Mar 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM ECT
Updated: Mar 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM ECT
is a buzz that has started among the women in the Mayaro and Guayaguayare
communities about an outreach programme targeting female empowerment and self
programme, Successful Women On Towards Self Reliance (SWOTS), is by no means a
new one, as it is an initiative that has been championed by its sponsor, the
Neal & Massy Wood Group since 2008. However, it has earned such rave reviews
in the past four years that many young women in the community are clamoring to
sign on to the programme.
an interview with Express Woman recently, Programme Coordinator Dalia Watson, a
community liaison officer with Neal & Massy Wood Group, said SWOTS was
designed as an outreach programme to target young single mothers, adolescent
females and mothers of adolescent females. She said the programme proposes to
promote and offer learning experiences which facilitate empowerment, self
development and self reliance.
objective is to empower women to take control of their lives as well as their
children and to utilize new ideas which meet the needs of a changing community,"
date she said the programme, which has taken the form of workshops, seminars and
training initiatives, has helped women to build higher levels of self esteem and
develop a positive awareness of themselves; to pursue academic development and
seek career growth; develop interpersonal skills and to embrace change allowing
them to take on new roles within their families and their community.
women in these communities are now empowered to take an active role in positive
community development," she said proudly.
SWOTS Programme was started in April 2008 and executed in developmental phases.
Today, SWOTS consists of a leadership team, which includes Watson as the
Programme Coordinator, three administrators and five executive
administrators, Bernadette Fonrose, Carol Murray and Alda Suzano are required to
participate in conduct house to visits and build collaborative relationships
with women in the community, to participate in and lend support at the sessions
and ensure full attendance by all participants. The Executive Members support
is a versatile programme that has been developed to meet the needs of every
woman," Watson explained. "For mothers with young children, we also have child
care assistants who are required to oversee their children and create a
curriculum to promote child development while the mothers participate in the
feedback for the programme in the community has been
of the SWOTS Executive Committee, Mahalia Richardson is a self-employed
said, "This programme really built my self-esteem. I feel very proud
am pursuing my dream and, with a little help, I am sure to open my own business
one day at a professional level. I am really good at doing things with my hands
and by attending the programme I have built the confidence to share my talent
and skills in my community."
Edwards said the programme also helped her to pursue her academic
am someone who can achieve anything that I set out to do," she smiled. "I am a
proud graduate of the ALTA programme which allows me to take an active role in
my children's education. By participating in the programme, I learnt to face my
fears and control my emotions in a positive way. I have also taken the step to
become employed to assist my family. I began as a laborer and was promoted to a
Fire Watch on the N.G.C. Neo–Tobago Pipeline Project with a
resident, Beverly Rollingson said, "I joined this programme because of its
nature. I am a resident of Mayaro and have never heard or seen this type of
programme being offered here. I must say that it is well structured to address
the needs of women in my community. I always encourage the young folk to get
themselves involved in things that will benefit you in the long run. I saw the
opportunity to learn, share and communicate with different cultures with the
women in my community."
said after participating in the programme, she was encouraged to approach her
employers in a professional manner which brought rewards.
am now the supervisor at my job with Bayfield Ltd," she said. "I supervise the
employees that are the house keepers, cooks and janitors at three locations. I
have established my business and provide catering services in the community. I
will continue to encourage other women like me and younger women to gasp the
opportunity which lies ahead with being part of the programme."