PRESS RELEASE – KEITHLIN Caroo, Founder and President of Helen’s Daughters has been selected to represent St. Lucia at the One Young World Summit in The Hague, Netherlands from 17-20 October 2018. One Young World (OYW) is an annual Summit where the most valuable young talent from global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organisations are joined by world leaders, acting as the One Young World Counsellors. At the Summit, delegates debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for the pressing issues the world faces. Previous Summits have featured Counsellors such as Kofi Annan, Meghan Markle, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Amal Clooney.
Ms. Caroo was selected for her work in rural women’s economic empowerment through the organisation, Helen’s Daughters, which is a St. Lucian non-profit with a special focus on rural women’s economic development through improved market access, adaptive agricultural techniques and capacity-building. Guiding this organisation’s work is a labour of love she does, unpaid, on top of juggling her full-time job as a desk officer in the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations.
“While the UN has always been a dream for me,” says Ms. Caroo, “that dream is slowly changing.” I have found a way to directly impact my own country and give back to my ancestors who laid out a foundation for my achievements. As a grand-child of farmers on both sides, Helen’s Daughters to me is a tribute to their sacrifices and I hope that in the near future, I can return to work on this social enterprise full-time.”
She started Helen’s Daughters in 2016 when she was selected as a UN Women Empower Women Champion for Change Program. Thus far, the organization has hosted a rural women’s workshop which catered to rural women engaged in agriculture, fisheries, trades and crafts, food processing and market vending. The workshop addressed several issues for women business owners, such as leadership development, worker’s rights, financial management and grants and interest-free loan opportunities. Since then, Helen’s Daughters has linked up members with additional training and consultation opportunities. The next large project was with the University of British Columbia in their first-time offering of a Humanitarian Engineering course which sought real-life problems for Engineering student teams to address with technical solutions. Helen’s Daughters was selected as one of three cases and a food-security team organized around it. Five chemical, biological and geological engineering students were partnered with four St. Lucian rural women farmers to find sustainable agricultural practices, develop skills such as data management and the use of Google Earth, and to come up with technical recommendations for the sustainable design of a farm.
Currently, Ms. Caroo is developing a social enterprise model that will use information and communication technologies to improve knowledge, facilitate market connections and improve incomes for rural women farmers on the island. In addition to capacity-development, she has mounted a communications strategy both on and offline. Ms. Caroo writes a monthly #HerStory series on St. Lucia News Online which profiles rural women entrepreneurs and also contributes to the St. Lucia Star in her weekly series “The Rural Unknown” which examines climate resilience, agri-tourism linkages and gender equality in the agricultural sector.