Since June, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs has worked with hinterland communities to implement the Youth Entrepreneur-ship and Apprenticeship Programme (YEAP) aimed at developing young Amerindians in the various villages and communities through the creation of job opportunities and building capacity, and strengthening their individual interests and skills.
A release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), said that during an address to the CSOs at the National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting which was held at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) recently, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai said that the programme has been moving apace and based on reports from the leaders, the communities have been benefiting from the work of the Community Support Officers (CSOs) recruited from hundreds of youth between the ages of 16-40 in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9.
She said that the programme was part of government’s commitment to youth development and advancement, and investment in the lives of the Indigenous people. Based on requests to ensure that youths take their rightful place in society, the concept of the YEAP was established and it was grounded and well received by the villages.
GINA said that an orientation was held in the respective regions and the young people were attached to their villages as CSOs, to be trained in developmental work in various sectors, after which they will learn a skill and become employable. The youth receive a monthly stipend of $30,000.
“This government is moving progressively and incrementally changing the landscape of Guyana including the hinterland. However, we cannot at a single stroke create all the technical institutes that are requested, but we have to start somewhere,” Sukhai stated. She said that often times there are requests for schools and institutions, but development is a process and that process is ongoing.
She said that the project will engage the youths beyond six months, depending on its success.
GINA said that however two communities have withdrawn their CSOs from the project, and during her opening address at the NTC, Sukhai had urged “that the leaders of those communities should put aside their political lenses and see that the young people of today be given a chance to make choices that will benefit them.”
She said those young people will become leaders and, “we cannot allow them to become wasted along the way… it is the young people’s call and, we must ensure that they are catered for and fight for the opportunities for them and not deny it for them,” Sukhai urged.
The project team of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will work closely with the CSOs until the completion of the programme. The majority of the CSOs were placed in the offices of the various Amerindian Village Councils to assist in monitoring development projects. The Guyana Forestry Commission, Regional Democratic Councils and the Ministry of Education also accepted some of the CSOs as apprentices in their respective hinterland offices.
GINA said that the Ministry of Health is finalising a list to absorb those who are interested in working in the health sector, within facilities in the various hinterland villages.
Specialised training in various fields like agriculture, aquaculture, book-keeping, small business, infrastructure, and other areas are also being offered in collaboration with other government ministries, the release added.