Residents of Black Bush Polder (BBP) are to benefit from expanded services by the Mibicuri Community Developers (MCD) which was presented with $20M from Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The grant would be used for the expansion of rooms for the provision of counselling and referral services, skills training, playschool and office.
Information technology training would also be enhanced, thus reducing travelling expenses that residents incur to seek computer courses out of BBP.
At the signing ceremony on Monday to implement the project: “Enhanced Services for a Stronger Community, Japan’s Ambassador to Guyana, Yoshimasa Tezuka handed over the cheque of US$101,275 to Director of the MCD, Jacqueline Cummings-Johnson.
The ambassador said, “I have no doubt that this project truly addresses basic human needs and we are pleased that we can assist through the GGP.
He said too that “Japan and the Republic of Guyana have long benefited from friendly relations…”
This year, he said they are celebrating the “Japan-Caricom Friendship year 2014,” 20 years since the first Japan-Caricom Consultation in 1993 and that “the project is a good indicator of the strength of our relations.”
Tezuka said he looks forward to the continuation of such efforts and co-operation and friendship between the two nations in the future.
In an overview of the project, Meshana Jordan said that a survey conducted by the MCD and Peace Corps Response Pro-gramme (PCRP) found that there is a lack of skills training and other recreation for youths and other residents.
That has also contributed to the high rate of suicide and other social issues in BBP. As such, the MCD, partners of the St. Francis Community Developers (SFCD), recognized the need to expand the services to a wider cross section of the population.
The present building was provided to the group in 2000 through the President’s Youth Choice Initiative and has since outgrown its accommodation.
Chairman of Region 6, David Armogan said that the Japanese government has been a great friend to the people of Guyana because over the years they have assisted in many areas.
He recalled that only last week he attended a signing ceremony in New Amsterdam with the ambassador for the provision of a building for the hearing impaired.
He also mentioned two other flagship projects; the New Amsterdam Hospital and the Corriverton water treatment plant that the Japanese government provided.
Speaking on the high incidence of alcohol and domestic abuse, suicide and other social issues, Shafiran Bhajan, head of the Cyril Potter College of Education said the MCD “took the mantle many years ago of serving this community.”
She said too that poverty has been reduced through the MCD “because services have been extended on a regular basis through Food for the Poor (FFP)…”
Bhajan is confident that the expansion would help the adult female population to develop entrepreneurial skills that would help them to be self-reliant and self-sufficient.
There were also remarks by the president of the SFCD, Alex Foster; chairman of the BBP Neighbourhood Demo-cratic Council, Thakoor Persaud; PCRP coordinator, Flavio Rose and Senior Project Officer of FFP, Andrea Benjamin.