Institute for Gender and Development Studies

Professor Opal Palmer Adisa

University Director

The 2018/2019 academic year was a successful one for the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS). The activities were in keeping with the IGDS’ mission and the key elements of The UWI’s Triple A Strategy.


In 2018/2019, the IGDS continued to work at increasing enrolment; effectively delivering quality programmes to enhance student development; and engaging in quality research and publication.

Teaching, Learning and Student Development

Undergraduate Level

Six hundred and sixty students were registered in 20 undergraduate courses at the Mona Campus Unit (MCU), five of which were delivered at Western Jamaica Campus (WJC). A new course, ‘Critical Perspectives on Gender and Violence’, developed by Dr. Adwoa Onuora was approved by AQAC. Fourteen BSc students graduated in November 2018. The Nita Barrow Unit (NBU) delivered five courses to 62 students, while 425 students were enrolled in nine courses at the St. Augustine Unit (SAU).

Graduate level

The Institute continued to deliver Diploma, MSc and MPhil/PhD programmes. At the NBU, six new MSc students and one MPhil student were enrolled for the period under review. At the Regional Coordinating Office (RCO), eight new students were registered; three MPhil/PhD and five MSc students. At the SAU, there were five MSc and one MPhil students enrolled for the review period. In total 15 students (13 MSc, one MPhil and one PhD) completed postgraduate qualifications across the Institute for the academic year 2018/2019.

Short courses

The MCU delivered the Gender Issues in Health module in the Family Medicine programme in the Faculty of Medical Sciences via the online modality to 25 medical doctors at the Mona and Cave Hill campuses.

The SAU delivered four short summer courses namely:

  • The Philosophy of ‘Judith Butler’
  • Gender, Feminism and Religion: Contemporary Questions
  • Women, Men, Gender and Law
  • Human Resources Management and Gender Equity in the Workplace

Student Development

Five students from the MCU served internships at different organisations including the Office for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). Ms. Nacauta Henry (Gender Major) was awarded a scholarship to attend the Women Deliver 2019 Conference on gender equality, in Canada in June 2019. The MCU was instrumental in having the Guild of Students’ Constitution changed to include an IGDS Faculty Representative on the Guild of Students for the academic year 2018/2019.

The NBU increased outreach to students of the Cave Hill Campus via the campus career and student orientation days and other initiatives, including the Caribbean Women: Catalyst for Change public lecture, a roundtable event for International Women’s Day (IWD), two graduate workshops on critical writing, a graduate research symposium and a graduate wellness workshop.

The RCO held a graduate seminar and students participated in a seminar conducted by the Main Library. Ms. Ruth Howard, an MSc student became the first recipient of the annual Catherine James Scholarship, named in honour of the mother of Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, IGDS Director.

The SAU continued the Kalamazoo College student exchange programme in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) and the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. Several graduate seminars were held.

Honours and Awards

Dr. Leith Dunn, Senior Lecturer and Head of the MCU was named among the top one hundred most influential persons globally in the areas of Gender Policy and Equality for 2019 by, selected from over 9000 nominations.

Dr. Jacqueline Coore-Hall who graduated in 2018 with a PhD, high commendation was one of four students who received the award for Most Outstanding Thesis from the Mona Research and Publications and Graduate Awards Committee, in collaboration with the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Dr. Coore-Hall was supervised by Professor Verene Shepherd and Dr. Tracy Ann Johnson Myers. The RCO received the award for Outstanding Performance in the Development of Research Students 2016/2017.

Quality, Quantity and Impact of Research, Innovation and Publication

The Institute was engaged in important research and published widely. The MCU staff was involved in eight research projects and partnerships. These were:

  • The Women’s Entrepreneurial Development (WED) Assessment in Jamaica with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF)
  • The Improving Household Nutrition Security and Public Health in CARICOM (Food & Nutrition) project
  • The Enhancing Knowledge and Capacity in Comprehensive Disaster Management, (EKACDM) Initiative
  • The African-Caribbean Women’s Post Diaspora Network
  • The Development of a National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour in Jamaica
  • The CPC Child Trafficking Prevalence Study
  • The Human Right to Respect Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Caribbean and Latin America – Current Situation and Perspectives project
  • The Gay Bisexual and other MSM Condom and Lubricant Access initiative

The NBU was awarded the Templeton Grant for the PATH to Character project and became partners in a project funded by the Green Climate Fund. The latter involves the development and delivery of the Gender and Infrastructure Certificate for the Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados. Five hundred employees of the Barbados Water Authority will be trained in the 2019/2020 academic year. Work on the LIVITY project, a seven-country, four-year European Union (EU) funded project, continued.

The RCO commenced two research grants related to:

  • The JNC-UNESCO’s Positive Fathering: A Bridge to Enhancing Family Unity and Community Cohesion in Jamaica project in collaboration with the Bureau of Gender Affairs; and
  • The European Union’s A New Jamaican Justice Era: Consolidating Community Access and Alternative Justice for the Protection of All, a joint project with the Centre for Leadership, Department of Government and the Institute of Caribbean Studies.

Work continued on the ‘70 Plus Outstanding UWI Women’ and The Cultural Guardians Purveyor projects.

The SAU continued the Break the Silence (BTS) Action Research Project, Campaign and Network, which hosted and contributed to several conversations on the issue of child sexual abuse (CSA) with stakeholders, including the CAFRA and Voice of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of Trinidad and Tobago. BTS built awareness around gender and CSA at the secondary school level through visits and the BTS Art Project. Other projects included, the Gender-Based Violence Youth Advocacy Training and Secondary School Student – Artist Showcase funded by the British High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana; secondly a collaboration with Coalition Against Domestic Violence on a private sector strategy to address intimate partner violence; as well as the Sexual Culture of Justice project – a Human Rights Grants Award, which focused on the development of Police training workshops on GBV and LGBTI bias.

The IGDS’ staff continued to publish extensively. At the MCU, publications included four book chapters, three articles in refereed journals and seven technical reports. At the NBU, six articles in refereed journals, five book chapters and one technical report were published. Staff also contributed as guest editors to six journal publications. At the RCO, three articles in refereed journals, one book, one book chapter, and one technical report were published. At the SAU, nine articles in refereed journals and three book chapters were published. Staff also co-edited two publications. A special issue of the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies (CRGS), Gender and Anti-colonialism in the Interwar Caribbean was published in December 2018.


The Institute embarked on various outreach, activism and public advocacy initiatives during the academic year 2018/2019.

Collaborations and Partnerships

The MCU in collaboration with the RCO hosted the 9th Biennial Lucille Mathurin Mair Public Lecture in April 2019. The lecture, ‘Lucille Mathurin Mair: The Philosophy and Opinions of a Rebel Woman’ was presented by Professor Verene Shepherd. The Unit also continued to actively support public awareness efforts through collaboration on GBV, gender mainstreaming for The UWI Mona’s Gender Action Plan and gender and diversity in sport.

The NBU held the Caribbean Institute in Gender and Development (CIGAD) training programme from June 28–July 26, 2019, with sponsorship from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Thirty-one persons were trained. Other projects included the Diagnostic of NEET Youth in the Caribbean project in collaboration with Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES); Cave Hill’s production of a report for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the completion of the qualitative component of the ‘CARICOM Model of a Prevalence Survey on GBV to support the Implementation of the Grenada Pilot on GBV’; and the Health and Family Life GBV Curriculum Development project for St. Vincent and the Grenadines – the final phase of this project was undertaken in June 2019.


The RCO was involved in various outreach activities including

  • A workshop titled Building Self Esteem conducted by Professor Opal Palmer Adisa at the Elsie Bemand Home for Girls in October 27, 2018.
  • The Positive Male Role Models Art Exhibition curated by Professor Opal Palmer Adisa and Dr. Keino Senior in November 2018 to commemorate of International Men’s Day (IMD).
  • The Art and Ananse Come to UWI storytelling festival held in November 2019 in collaboration with Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks and Ntukama productions, which featured both local and international storytellers.
  • The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign which included visits to four high schools.
  • Two Brown Bag sessions – Hear me too: Relevance of the ‘Me Too’ Movement in Jamaica held in December 2018 and Balance for Better: Abortion and Life Choices for Women in Jamaica held in March 2019.
  • A child month forum for two high schools in May 2019.
  • The inaugural lecture by the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, Honorary Distinguished Fellow attached to the IGDS, was held in April 2019. The topic was Gender Justice & Equity in a Post-Colonial Society: A Critique of the Ideology of Pulling Ourselves up by our own Bootstraps.

IGDS Director, Professor Opal Palmer Adisa continued to lead the implementation of The UWI Gender Policy. Several meetings of the Gender Mainstreaming Committee (GMC), which is responsible for implementing The UWI Gender Policy were convened.

The SAU held a range of outreach activities over the review period:

  • Activities for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence held in collaboration with the Canadian High Commissioner Office and 2 Cents Movement. The GBV Campaign involved a tour of 50 secondary schools.
  • Changes to the Domestic Violence Legislation a public forum by the IGDS and the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC).
  • A sexual harassment forum, Board Room Bullies.
  • A film screening for Human Rights Day in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Living Water Community and the Commonwealth Foundation.
  • The annual Women’s Rights Rally and March at the Queen Park Savannah in Trinidad an initiative of an SAU led a working group of organisations and a coalition of others.
  • The SAU also collaborated with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to provide a gendered analysis of the national budget process and its implications for peace, security and empowerment within households.


During the year under review, the Institute continued to raise funds and build partnerships at the international level.

The MCU raised an estimated JA$18,500,948.7 (US$148,675.06) from the BSc tuition fees and project funds; the NBU was awarded BD $993,840 (US$496,920.00) across research and outreach projects; the RCO raised JA$1,420,499.25 from the MSc self-financing programme and was awarded approximately US$63,923.23 for research projects and the SAU was awarded an estimated US$208,720.20 in funding.

The NBU as part of its commitment to internationalisation began a collaboration with the University of Oxford and Tulane University on the PATH Project. The project focuses on supporting the needs of residents of Barbados’ Government Industrial Schools (GIS) for more meaningful reintegration into their communities, post-release. The NBU hosted the IGDS Regional Biennial Symposium under the theme Global Feminisms and the Anti-Colonial Project, in November 2018 which supported both the strategic goals of Access and Agility. This conference was held in honour of the three IGDS founding Heads, Professors Eudine Barriteau, Patricia Mohammed and Rhoda Reddock and was attended by over 150 persons.

A ‘Policy Meeting on Masculinity in the Caribbean’ hosted by the IDB in collaboration with the RCO was convened in April 2019 at The UWI RHQ. This conference brought together participants from eight Caribbean countries, as well from outside the region.

The SAU continued to host the IGDS Reach for Rights Youth Camp, an innovative and premiere social justice hub/training for activism and advocacy for students and non-students. UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency sponsored 15 students this year. The Caribbean Cyberfeminisms: Redefining the Trenches initiative produced a number of teaching videos which are published on YouTube. The SAU also created a photo archival documentation of the International Women’s Day march.


The IGDS’ staff continued to work at achieving the critical targets in The UWI’s Strategic Plan and strategy and endeavours to lead in matters related to gender and development, to inform national and regional policy.

Photo Gallery

Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, the Republic of Ghana (centre) with The IGDS staff, UN Women representatives and NourbeSe Phillip at the Biennial Conference 2018

Graduates of The UWI, Mona Campus at 70 plus Outstanding UWI Women Awards Ceremony held at the Regional Headquarters

From left to right (Drs. Leith Dunn, Dalea Bean, Natasha Mortley, Prof. Opal Palmer Adisa, The Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, Dr Beverley Shirley and Ms. Ionie Wright at The Honourable Portia Simpson Miller inaugural lecture.