Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality
An incarnation of this regional collaboration in August of 2011 saw a shift in programing from HIV to human rights related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression (SOGIE) and to some extent, intersex status.
Under Executive Director Kenita Placide, United and Strong, in 2011, staged the first regional training for the OECS CHAPs. It went on to implemented at least one regional dialogue or capacity building engagement per year. The organization successfully staged workshops on documentation, capacity building, security sensitization and media advocacy, for civil society and the public sector in the eastern Caribbean. Extending its work as the CariFLAGS EC hub, U&S increased outreach to, and among, LGBTQI organisations. Notable are the International Dialogue for LGBT Human Rights in 2012 to the 2015 representation at the UPR, 2016 engagement at the CSW and implementation of the Regional Security focal points training. It also increased representation in regional and international spaces such as the Organization of American States (OAS), CARICOM Heads of Government meetings (CHOGM), and the United Nations (UN), and engagement or regional state parties and civil society.
In 2015 United and Strong sought to give greater attention to meeting the needs of the local LGBTQI community in Saint Lucia. This left a gap to be filled within the region. The formation of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) will address this gap.
ECADE will seek to meet the needs articulated by representatives of LGBTI community at the Grenada meeting. This is inclusive of health and legislative reform, community strengthening and NGO capacity building. The organisation was launched with a presence of eighteen (18) member organiations in nine (9) island nations.
ECADE is registered in Saint Lucia (2015) and is recognised by the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment.
ECADE: Consolidation and advancement of LGBT advocacy in the EC
In 2015, an Eastern Caribbean Litigation, Advocacy and Strategy meeting was convened by United and Strong in Grenada. Present were organisations representing marginalised communities in the eastern Caribbean islands, particularly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people. At that meeting, activists called for the revamp or creation of a regional hub; now identified as ECADE.
The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), aims to restructure and revitalise regional organising for LGBTQI advocacy in the small island Caribbean. This strategy has been recognised as an effective means of organising, given the size and similarity of the populations. ECADE will serve as an independent umbrella organisation, inclusive of all small island territories in the eastern Caribbean. Geographically, this will be countries from the Virgin Islands to Grenada.
This builds on the shoulders of the previous network, the Caribbean HIV AIDS Partnership (CHAP). It also draws from efforts by CariFLAGS.
In initial efforts to specifically address the impact of HIV/AIDS on men-sleeping-with-men (MSM) in the small-island Caribbean, a peer-to-peer network was formed by activists in the Eastern Caribbean. This sub-regional network to support and develop advcacy around HIV was subsequently titled the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (CHAP). This was formalised in May 2003 through the Caribbean regional HIV/AIDS programme of the USAID-funded International HIV/AIDS Alliance. The CHAP worked closely with the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (CRN+). However, the CHAPs have encountered several barriers including legal restrictions to the registration of groups working with and for LGBTQI communities, discriminatory practices by state officers, financial and skills capacity and a culture of intolerance.