Linden youths were the first in the country to benefit from a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) multimedia training session aimed at equipping the nation’s children to share their knowledge and experiences on issues affecting them.
About 100 children from ages 10 to 19 converged at the Egbert Benjamin Exhibition and Conference Centre last week to attend the training over a three-day period. The objective of the sessions was to ensure that children across the country were informed of their rights, HIV prevention, child abuse, domestic violence, gender-based violence and birth registration. At the end of the course, they were expected to be able to contribute to their schools’ newsletter and share their knowledge and experiences with others in the wider Region Ten community.
According to UNICEF’s Adolescence Development and Participation Officer Jewell Crosse, the idea was conceived by its staff, who will be hosting workshops with 100 children from each region. Crosse said that the first leg of the project which was held in Linden was coordinated, mostly, by the Linden Care Foundation (LCF), a local NGO that has been working with children and adults on prevention and care and support initiatives as it relates to HIV/AIDS.
“Those children who participated in the programme were very enthused and interactive; they show that they were eager to learn. Now they have the requisite knowledge and skills on the topics and are now able to make wiser decisions,” she said. The children were taught how to conduct interviews, the procedures of reporting, preparing newsletters and news articles and participated in a number of other activities.
President of Youth Media Guyana and representative from the University of Guyana Justine Mounter, who was a facilitator at the sessions, spoke at length on the importance of youths having a forum at which they can express their thoughts, opinions and share their views on any given situation. She noted that Youth Media is currently working on a number of other initiatives to benefit Linden youths and encouraged others to participate. “We are open for articles from comments from young people of Linden and as a matter of fact we have drives going on and we are giving the young people from the workshop a chance to join and they can send us their expression of interest,” she said.
In addition, from July to August the LCF will be working with the participants from the workshop to spearhead activities such as outreach programmes and interactive sessions with other youths in communities in Linden to share their knowledge and experiences. The group has been working with youths and parents in socialisation skills by involving them in team building activities through games like football and drama. These skills are reinforced with parents in areas such as parenting and relationship building. The LCF will also be hosting day camps for youths during the July/August holidays and in September it plans to host a Guardians’ day. This socialisation skills programme is sponsored by UNICEF.