Real Stories Corner
Real Stories Corner
Real stories, real people, real changes.
Read how Guyanese people have benefited from development projects supported by the UNDP in Guyana here.
Alfred King, Permanent Secretary | Democratic Governance
Mr King is Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and he undertook UNDP Capacity Development Assessment training.
‘From my discussions with UNDP staff, they recognised that the ministry was lacking in proper capacity in delivering youth work. They thought that they could readily get consultants to come in and do a quality review after consultation with some of our key stakeholders, key players, and staff, and come up with a quality assessment process that would have pointed us to opportunities that already exist here in the ministry, to offer equality of opportunity in youth development, and/or point out some areas of weaknesses that we can work on to strengthen over time, so that we are up at the right speed to deliver our services.
We are now working with UNDP by having technical consultants on board to update our youth policy and make it realistic, in keeping with the new trends and thinking of Guyanese people and in keeping with the needs of our young people as well. Therefore, we want to develop a policy that is relevant, as it relates to 2010 and beyond’
Jean Wintz, Youth Facilitator | Democratic Governance
Jean is a Community Youth Facilitator in Georgetown and works with the staff and volunteers of various local NGOs on community-based projects for young people.
“We work directly with children on youth and life skills, vocational training, sports and other activities. These are kids from single parent homes, who may have a history of delinquency, who don’t perform well at school and are getting into fights. But we’re getting them to give back to the community, and training them to be volunteer leaders to set examples even after we ourselves have left.”
Milton Smith, National UNV Volunteer | Democratic Governance
Milton is a national UNV volunteer on the Enhanced Public, Trust, Security and Inclusion Project.
‘I work at Every Child Guyana as a Community Youth Facilitator. I support young children who are victims of abuse. I work in four schools during school hours where I mentor children and help them to bring out the type of abuse they would be facing at home. My role helps me to foster growth and help these children to become healthier and better individuals. We also work with their parents in our parenting skills workshop”
Alex Foster, President, St Francis Community Developers | Democratic Governance
Alex Foster is President of the St Francis Community Developers, a community based organisation
“Some of the things we are doing through Project Rescue is organising 99 dialogues across the regions to address many concerns that people are not comfortable talking about, such as conflict resolution, how young people participate in community development; especially male participation. In short, these dialogues will bring young people, senior counterparts and persons from all stakeholders groups together at one venue so they can address issues that affect their community. Our project will also be concentrating on agriculture. We will be establishing four greenhouse nurseries that have the capacity to generate and germinate 5,000 plants every eight weeks. We will be producing these plants and we have recently secured an additional 20 acres of land so that single parents who do not have job opportunities because of the work situation can be able to utilise agriculture as a form of income. We are having 9 day care centres which take care of the children of single parents, thus giving the parents an opportunity to work. Their income will help them take care of their family responsibilities”.
Keeran Williams, National UNV and EPTSI Community Youth Facilitator | Democratic Governance
“We’re expected to be the eyes and ears, grassroots agents for change. The Government of Guyana has developed initiatives for young people and there are currently seven UNV volunteers like myself working directly with Regional Democratic Councils. We have a direct line to make meaningful impacts – not just peer-to-peer but at the policy level too.”
“I work closely with the head of the Regional Democratic Council, who is very helpful. I’m involved with lots of initiatives for conflict resolution, tackling drug abuse and so on, and work with local NGOs on institutional strengthening.”
“Working at all levels is one of the best things about this assignment. Whether it’s sports like soccer and cricket or cultural activities, I work on a one-on-one basis with these youth. For me, this assignment is about the privilege of working with youth, the privilege of sharing with them the possibilities of life – it’s OK to dream, it’s OK to want more, and do more with yourself. Youth know that they don’t have to feel lost, or get involved in gangs and drugs... You can see in their eyes that they long for and want more.”
“Having come from a poor background myself, with a father who abused alcohol, being a UNV volunteer is physical evidence to these youth that you can make a difference in your own life. We provide the inspiration to people. I’m really appreciative to UNV. Youth are actually involved in this programme, not just sitting in meetings. It’s a chance to make a meaningful impact in our own communities.”
Denise Fraser, former Project Coordinator, UNDP Projects | Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Denise Fraser has previously worked as a Project Coordinator on IDB/ UNDP Projects and shares her experience of the 2005 floods.
‘The volume of rainfall was unprecedented. It was more than had ever been seen in Guyana.
Where I live is in the southern part of Georgetown. It rained all night on the Saturday before the deluge. The rain continued on Sunday. On Monday morning, I told the children they were not going to school because I wasn’t sure of the weather. We sat on the verandah and watched the water come up, cover the road and come across the road. You could actually see the water rising. Neighbours started coming across to us to collect sand bags, as we had bags because we had some work planned for the house, and the neighbours just kept coming for bags to fight the water. We were all helping each other to keep the water out. It took two weeks for the flood waters to go down. I took part in helping others. I’m involved in a Sunday school in one of the depressed areas. All the children were totally blocked in by the water. They couldn’t get out to get food and water and we took stuff to them. We also had a couple of members of our church who were people with chronic disease such as diabetes who lived in the top floor flats of their buildings, so we took food and medicines to them.
I am aware that after the floods, UNDP did have a recovery project in which particularly women and vulnerable people were assisted with items that could help them in terms of their livelihood. A lot of people’s livelihoods were affected. I think there were, for instance, sewing machines given out so people could sew things and earn some money. There was planting material and training for farmers who were affected by the floods.
To my mind, the most significant result of the Recovery Project was the development of a water management plan for the East Demerara Water Conservancy, which provided an early warning system for one of the major threats on the eastern coast of Guyana’
The Buzz about Bees | Poverty Reduction
The National Working Group (NWG) on the MDGs supported the Kuru Kururu Agriculture Group last year by supplying its members with 20 hives, bees and bee-keeping kits. The bees are kept in a citrus orchard to promote pollination of the citrus orchard. The first harvest of the hives resulted in 22 gallons of honey, 17 gallons of which were sold directly to the public with the remaining five gallons being used as samples and for grading.
Most of the bee keepers are women. In addition to bee keeping and orchard duties, root vegetables, passion fruit, cherries and greens are grown by the farmers to sell in the local market. Efforts are being made to link the bee keepers with local beverage conglomerates such as Banks DIH Ltd,which uses honey to produce its malt products.
The NWG seeks to encourage the private sector to boost its exposure to a greater number of markets by linking some of their business and manufacturing activities to the community, and in so doing, generate market-driven sustainable livelihoods. There is local interest in enhancing the honey output of the bees and in queen bee-rearing. Currently, some 20 families (equivalent to around 100 community members) are benefiting from this project.
Eco System Services | Environment and Energy
According to the Bina Hill Institute (BHI), the people of the 16 North Rupununi communities “…are keenly aware and beginning to place the necessary emphasis on the services which are rendered by the environment and ecosystems around us, in an effort to safeguard and subsequently ensure our continued existence.”
BHI shared these views with the Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) during a project it ran on behalf of the UNDP. The aim of the project was to develop a culturally appropriate training manual on ecosystem services and to disseminate information to communities. The manual, a 34-page document, includes learner-friendly resource materials on ecosystem services.
Mr. Vincent Henry, Principal of the BHI, said that school children and teachers welcomed the manual and had used it to build awareness about services provided by the various ecosystems in North Rupununi and to understand how these could be linked to livelihoods. The publication was also used to promote national and global events such as the LCDS (full name?) and climate change, respectively.
The BHI was set up in 2001 in Annai District, North Rupununi. It is one of the specialist agencies of the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) and exists to develop and provide vocational training in natural resource management for the residents of sixteen villages. The BHI is supported in its work by local radio station Radio Paiwomak (FM 97.1). Known as the ‘registered indigenous peoples’ radio station’, Radio Paiwomak is the first of its kind in Guyana.