Issues & Work

Red Thread’s Priorities

Red Thread’s work takes place in a context of deep economic insecurity. There is a lot of movement in and outside the country as financial uncertainty, lack of access to housing, decent work, etc., mean that people are regularly on the move in search of livelihoods. One of our key objectives is to work for women’s unwaged and low-waged caring work to be re-valued and properly remunerated and for equal pay for work of equal value. Some of our interventions have been informed by such instruments as household budgets, time-use diaries and cost of living surveys to make visible the unequal burden of work; underline the difficult conditions facing grassroots people; offer a way for us to see how our struggles are connected; and become a basis for coming together to demand our rights.


Oil and Gas

Who Feels it Knows it

Bangamary’s Story: Janette Bulkan   

These four downloadable posters focus on Bangamary (scientific name Macrodon ancylodon, also known as King Weakfish in neighbouring Suriname), the most affordable fish in Guyanese coastal markets and available throughout the year. The posters are part of the public dissemination of research findings supported by a Canadian Government SSHRC Insight grant (2022-2024) awarded to Dr Janette Bulkan, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia. Red Thread is a collaborating partner on this project which is investigating ‘Best practices in artisanal fisheries in the Guiana Shield to support local communities and ecosystem resilience.’ The posters are being shared with fisherfolk organisations, schools and civic organisations. Guyanese traditionally consume twice as much fish per year as the global average, so the complaints in 2019-2022 of a sharp decline in landed fish catch and a rise in fish prices affected much of the national population (c.780,000) and made local news.   The local fishers noted that the decrease in landed fish catches began around the same time as the beginning of offshore oil production, at the end of 2019. The fishers – about 5,000 captains and crew – went to sea, often in boats owned or captained or crewed by other members of the wider family, from as young as age 7, and know no other trade. Coastal fishing is an economically important activity along the whole Atlantic coast of Guyana (435 km), with around 1,200 artisanal wooden boats of which perhaps half are officially registered and annually licensed to operate. An estimated 1,000-2,000 processors and vendors of landed fish distribute the fish to consumers in Guyana, and to one of the fish processing and exporting companies.  The three largest industrial scale companies process fish for export, to the large diaspora of Guyanese mainly in eastern Canada and the USA, and also to China and the Caribbean Islands.  

Oil and Gas News

Report on Guyana

Who Feels it Knows It

EPA, EAB must stop waiving impact studies for oil and gas facilities

A very fishy story: Grassroots women’s questions about oil drilling, fishing and the FAO Study

Division, subtraction, multiplication, addition, and we still cannot keep our heads above the water in this oil economy

Oil Economy and Grassroots Budgets

Oil, oil everywhere but not enough to eat: A holiday reality check

Red Thread Guyana Speaks: Rutgers University, April 19, 2023

University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP): Strengthening Accountability
U-RAP Wordcloud

Red Thread is currently collaborating with the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP) to increase police and magistrate accountability for dealing with intimate partner violence perpetrated against women. The project aims to generate precedents, standards, and guides that clarify the duties of state authorities (magistrates and police) in respect of IPV against women and consequences of failure to meet the duties, and serve as the basis of a resource for civil society to demand state accountability.

Take a look at the posters, video and articles below to see some of the outreach initiatives of this project:

“Living Good : the right to dignified lives and just communities” August 18, 2019

Living Good : The Right to Dignified Lives and Just Communities

Equality Fund Project

Red Thread is a grantee partner of the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Program hosted through the Equality fund.

“In June 2017, the Government of Canada launched the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Program—as part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy—to provide women’s rights organizations and movements in developing countries with direct funding to advance gender equality. 21 organizations are implementing 32 projects in 30 different developing countries and/or regions under the WVL Program. These projects respond to the needs of women’s rights organizations and put women at the centre of decision-making.”- Women’s Voice and Leadership

Urbanization, Gender and the Global South: A Transformative Knowledge Network (GenUrb) 

Situated within the dynamic early 21st century context of urbanization, this partnership conducts comparative research and engages in public education and global policy initiatives, particularly in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will address women’s needs through SDG 5 (‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’), and first ever global urban goal, SDG 11 (‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’). These activities are taking place within and across eight cities–Cairo, Cochabamba, Delhi, Georgetown (Guyana), Ibadan, Mumbai, Ramallah, and Shanghai–chosen for their differing regional locations, sizes and experiences of urbanization and migration. 

The specific objectives of the partnership include conducting and disseminating research over a six-year period that engages with (a) policymakers on the application of SDG 5 and 11; and (b) grassroots urban women to explore how gendered inequality in their everyday lives is experienced through the economic, social and environmental dimensions of insecurity via the practices these women employ to work towards equality and inclusion in their urban worlds, including their engagement in urban place-making.

The Georgetown City Research Team is run by Linda Peake (the GenUrb PI) and Red Thread, working with Susan Collymore, Karen de Souza, Halima Khan, Nichola Marcus, Vanessa Ross, and Wintress White. Since 2017, they have been working in the neighbourhood of Sophia in the capital city of Georgetown.

Georgetown City Research Team

Sophia is a sprawling housing scheme which until the mid-1980s was abandoned rice and cane sugar farming land. Located on what was then the outskirts of Georgetown, the first wave of squatters cleared the land of bush and wildlife to build their homes. The regularization of the area began in 1992 with surveys, lot allocations and some basic infrastructural installations. Over time governments have added roads, electricity, and basic services including schools and a health care centre. Sophia now has an estimated population of 50,000 persons, and although there has been significant upgrading of some dwellings, there is still a significant number of female-headed families, the majority of whom live on very low incomes. The national poverty levels and scarcity of housing land close to the capital has meant that people with no land are still attracted to Sophia, and there are hundreds of squatters in the community.

Red Thread’s work has involved approximately 30 women residents, engaging in ethnographic research coupled with life histories and ongoing in-depth interviews. Although Covid-19 has negatively impacted on the ability to engage in face to face contact on a regular basis, digital research and limited face to face contact has continued. In addition, the Team has interviewed approximately 12 policy shapers in relation to urban policy in Guyana and the country’s engagement with the SDGs.

In late 2019 and early 2020 Red Thread produced, alongside the women from Sophia, a number of radio programs (for Kaieteur News Radio 99.5FM and News-Talk Radio Guyana 102.1FM) related to findings from their data: the high cost of ‘free’ education; economic violence: the cost of living and surviving; and various programs focused on domestic violence. 

In mid 2021, as well as providing direct financial support to the women in Sophia, the Georgetown City Research Team started research on the impact of Covid on their lives. 

For further details see: GenUrb


Moving Forward Better: A Speakout on the current situation in Guyana (September 11, 2020) [VIDEO]

“The speak out, Moving Forward Better, was meant to bring Guyanese together to reflect on what living together means and requires, the need to listen, hear and empathise with each other. To disagree without insult and slander, viciousness and bitterness. To care for each other and to demonstrate that in our words and actions. And to emphasise that silence is not an option.” – Stabroek