The study that was launched on Friday in the Moruca Sub-Region, Region One by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is expected to map the issues indigenous women and children face in the hinterland, and provide solutions that will have a positive impact on their lives.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, told residents that the study will provide the government with the information needed for better planning, management and stronger economic development.
“We have talent, we have the capacity, what we need is the opportunity and here is a good time to begin that process.”
Allicock pointed out that the study will be an example to follow that will make headway in each and every indigenous community and even coastal communities.
“We cannot wait until development is upon us, and that is why the information here is so important to get us in readiness for what is coming.”
The study will provide the Ministry with the opportunity to “have the facts so that the communities could be stronger, the village council could be stronger,” he added.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido also said the study will help Ministries and international agencies when designing programmes for the indigenous people adding that the experiences of the indigenous women and children are unique when compared to those living on the coast.
“You cannot paint us with one Guyanese brush because we are a unique people, we have our culture that we have maintained and we have a way of thinking that people have to respect and understand when they come to work with us with projects and programmes,” she said.
Once the study is completed, it will help to empower indigenous women and children so that there is equity all across the country, she stated.
“When the findings are documented and given to the government and other agencies, they will see that although we are getting opportunities, the problem that is there most of the time is the problem of equity,” Garrido-Lowe said.
UNICEF’S Country representative, Sylvie Fouet, said that the study will provide critical data that will serve as a guide to what is needed to be done to help the indigenous people.
However, Fouet told the residents that the study is not expected to “give you the fish, but rather to teach you how to fish”, pointing out that it is “really helping you on seeing what else we can do differently to really improve the lives of our children, women and parents.”
According to Fouet, UNICEF will continue to work with the government to provide programmes and policies for the development of indigenous communities.
The study will be done in several communities across Guyana and is expected to be completed in June.
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