Youth who have completed the 2016-2017 Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) Programme have left an indelible mark as it relates the overall success of the all-inclusive youth program.
Delivering the feature address at the launch of the 2017-2018 Program at the Indigenous Village, Sophia on Wednesday, Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock said “we can today celebrate the fact that, our young indigenous citizens who benefitted from this programme thus far are a living testimony to the positive outcome of government’s investment, the Ministry’s Programme execution and their own commitment and hard work. We can now speak of having young, skilled and enlightened entrepreneurs in indigenous villages and communities all across Guyana; something that two years ago we could not do”.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock delivering the feature address at the launch of the second phase of the HEYS Program.
The MoIPA has been partnering with several Ministries and RDCs for the development of residents of the hinterland, while noting the effectiveness of communications which sometimes can be challenging.
Longevity of the more than 350 enterprises that were established under the HEYS Program was also highlighted and Minister Allicock noted that “I believe that our ministry should in the very near future establish a monitoring and evaluation unit. This unit is necessary for ensuring that all of our programmes and projects are centrally monitored and that qualitative reports are delivered in a timely manner”.
Giving an overview of the program Minister within the Ministry Valerie Garrido-Lowe who also has responsibility for youth development said the while one hundred percent over-all success rate was not accomplished the programs main objective of building the capacity of youth in the hinterland was achieved.
“This program is training them, showing them, giving them ideas to achieve their full potential in business, in leadership because you have public speaking and the life skill components and I can tell you, that many of them who could not speak before and they will tell you too, they were not brave but now they can express themselves. So this program is really doing what it is supposed to do in the hinterland”.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe giving an overview of the program.
She also noted that by the end of 2018, four thousand youth would have benefitted from this program.
Persons attending the launch were also given the opportunity to see firsthand the success story of seventeen year old Natucha Harris from the Kabakaburi Mission, Pomeroon River, Region 2.
Giving testament to her achievements through this program, Harris who grew up in a single parent home (father) said “the HEYS program has brought stability to my life… upon the completion of the HEYS Program I started to accumulate cash for the construction of my own home, then I bought 30 chickens to practice the skills that I have learnt. Later in March I started the construction of my humble little home it is wooden and thatched with trulie palm. I now reside with my dad and I am the sole bread winner of my family. Since I moved in my own home I started cultivating cash crops like cassava, pumpkin, eddoes, red beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc”.
Natucha Harris giving her testimony.
Also among her other achievements were the establishment of a mobile snacket which according to her “involves taking snacks in a boat and paddling up the streams and down. I also B-B-Que chicken on Saturday’s that I rear and although I am very exhausted at the end of the day, deep down in my heart I know it’s an honest labour”.
This is one of many success stories which will be subsequently highlighted.
Also in attendance was Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Dr. Hector Butts who noted that the Finance Ministry has recognized the importance of the program and its role in the development of Guyana.
“We are expected to present a budget that reflects harmony in terms of the elements identified in moving the country forward and not because it is our responsibility but we have to ensure that funds identified for the program are there and that the funds are managed in an efficient and proper manner”.
Meanwhile, the programs 2017-2018 chapter will be executed in one hundred villages across regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 where two thousand youth are set to benefit.