Kim Simplis Barrow

Founder of Women for Peace, Justice & Equality

Kim Simplis Barrow is a Belizean activist for women and children’s rights and development, a philanthropist and the wife of Rt. Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow who was the 4th Prime Minister of Belize (2008 – 2020). In 2008 Kim was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Children in Belize. She served in this capacity and lent forceful advocacy on behalf of women, children and adolescents with a particular focus on gender equality, children’s rights, violence against women, and legislative reform. In 2005, even before her husband got elected Prime Minister, she set up the Lifeline Foundation to raise funds to support children in marginalized communities through support in the form of nutrition, improved sanitation facilities, enhances classroom infrastructure and educational materials. 

Kim has led two of Belize’s largest national resource mobilization efforts to help close critical gaps in health care for children and families. Following a massive international resource mobilization effort in which she led outreach to individual and private sector donors in and beyond Belize, in 2014, Kim led the ground breaking that would lead to the construction of the Inspiration Center – a specialized center for care of children with disabilities, and the Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care wing at the Karl Heusner national referral hospital. Today, both of these remain the only specialized facilities dedicated to the offer of these services.

Advocating with private sector leaders, Gilead, Kim mobilized resources for the Caribbean region and led the establishment of the first leadership network of FirstLadies of the Caribbean (Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network – SCLAN), serving as its first Chair and Head of SCLAN Secretariat from 2017 to 2021championing adolescent and child health across the Caribbean. SCLAN led political level advocacy to advance action against violence against women and girls and expand support for HIV prevention, prevention of cervical cancer and teenage pregnancy, and support for mental health. Through her work as SCLAN Chair, Kim helped form a public-private partnership between Gilead and theMinistry of Health to introduce pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV, establishing a basis upon which the Government could build to expand efforts to integrate this HIV prevention technology into the health services.

Kim is a champion for women and children’s rights and gender equality. Most notably, she set up and led an annual march against violence against women and girls in Belize, under a campaign known as 20,000 Strong, offering a platform for women to speak up and put voices and faces to the issue and advocate for greater protection through the law and social services as well as through social norm change. She was also instrumental in advocating for legislative reform in Belize leading to stronger protections against human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, amendments to the criminal code and non-discrimination law based on sexual diversity.

Kim’s work as an influential national and global advocate for cancer prevention and care is perhaps her most personal. As a cancer survivor, Kim has been forceful in advocating across the world for earlier detection of cancer and expanded access to care - services that have been supported directly in her home country, through her Lifeline Foundation.

Born in Cayo District, Belize, Kim is a proud mother of a teenage daughter, Salima Ellyse Barrow. She speaks fluent English and Spanish and holds an undergraduate degree in Tourism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Morelia, Mexico and 2 master degrees one in Hospitality and tourism and the other in International Business from Florida International University, USA.