Seminar plugs community input in roads improvement programme

The Ministries of Local Government and Regional Development and Housing and Water on Monday hosted a Monitoring and Evaluation Sensitization seminar that focused on the Community Roads Improvement (CRIP) programme.

The session targeted key stakeholders from the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), Neighbourhood Development Councils (NDCs) and overseers from Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6, and officials from the private sector, municipalities and volunteers, the Government Information Agency (GINA) stated in a press release.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is one component of the CRIP programme which is being funded by the Government of Guyana and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

According to the release, the programme aims to provide improved and sustainable access to social and economic services across the selected NDCs in the targeted regions.

At the session were two consultants, Erika Rapier and Jacqueline Grant, who were hired by the Government of Guyana to design and implement an M&E system for CRIP which they presented on Monday.

In his presentation, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Norman Whittaker said that the CRIP project must be seen as more than just the provision of roads, materials, equipment and jobs but having an the impact over time on the living standards of citizens and so  sustainability is key.       Whittaker indicated that the ministry not only has responsibility for programmes and projects under its purview but also initiatives that fall under a number of local democratic organs including RDCs, NDCs, municipalities and community development councils and in particular the M&E aspect as it relates to human development within those local bodies.

He also emphasised that the ministry is aware and accepts that M&E has not been a strong area but the required continuous and earnest attention is now being placed on it.

“It has increasingly been recognised that M&E ought to be participatory and that communities must be involved in their own development,” Minister Whittaker added.

In this regard, the minister indicated that he expects  to see involvement that includes a mix in gender, occupation, ethnicity and age ranges, particularly youths, in an effort to promote social cohesion.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary Nigel Dharamlall emphasised that for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Develop-ment, M&E is significant and imperative to the management of all systems associated with the ministry.

Dharamlall recognised that while focus is being placed on enhancing the lives of people in the communities and enhancing governance, at the central and local levels it is critical that the resources spent are properly accounted for and the beneficiaries benefit from all investments.

Dharamlall urged that there should be enhanced community involvement. Over the years this component has seen the ministry engaging NDCs in the voluntary supervision approach.

The CRIP project is being implemented in 12 NDCs in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6 mainly to improve access to housing, education, health, and other social infrastructure and caters for the construction of 204 roads.

Already it is being implemented in Region Five at Bath Housing Scheme and Rosignol and Tuschen Housing Schemes, Region Three, the release concluded.

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