Ministry of Education gets USAID grant to fight HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence

The Ministry of Education last week received a grant of US$18,952 along with several pieces of equipment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to a Ministry of Education press release, the equipment received were three laptops, three external DVD drives, three projectors, three speakers and three CD players. These items are to be used by the youth educators under the “Youth Educator Safeguarding our Workforce” (YES) programme when needed to conduct their sessions in the classroom.

In delivering the welcome remarks, Permanent Secretary, Vibert Welch said that the occasion signifies a great step forward for the School Health and Nutrition, HIV Unit of the Ministry of Education, the release stated.

“It is indeed progress for the Ministry of Education when we see young adults work together to fight against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and the issues related to gender-based violence,” the release quoted him as saying.

According to the release, Welch went on to say that over the years, the Ministry recognised the need for inculcating gender-equitable attitudes in males and the empowering of young women. He said that the financial support that the Ministry will be receiving from USAID through an in-country-grant from the Community, Family and Youth Resilience Project (CFYR) in addition to the equipment, will see the YES Programme extended to various communities within Guyana. These communities include Corriverton, Den Amstel, Diamond, Ann’s Grove, Sophia, East Ruimveldt, Lodge, Mahaica and Linden.

The funding covers the In-school Programme for the 2017/2018 academic year.

He said that the grant signifies USAID’s commitment to supporting one of the Ministry’s mandates which is to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS within the education system, the release stated.

Meanwhile, according to the release, in addition to the handover of the items, the 44 participants in the Ministry’s Youth Educator Programme received their certificates for completing the HIV/AIDS and Gender-Based Violence training; a three-day workshop that was conducted from September 27-29.

According to the Permanent Secretary, now that the 44 participants have been certified and will have the necessary equipment at their disposal, the YES programme will be strengthened when content is being disseminated in the classroom, the release said.

Further, according to the release, USAID Represen-tative, Mark Oviatt, said that it is the CFYR Project that came up with the funding of the YES Programme. However, he said that there is a larger budget that is spread across 10 Southern Caribbean territories.

According to him, the CFYR Project focuses on reducing youth involvement in crime and violence, of contracting HIV and the risk of exposure to violence especially gender-based. He said that the ills would have disrupted development efforts and therefore urgent and practical solutions to seriously effect change. Oviatt reminded the youth educators that their purpose is to improve society by teaching people about what is good and bad.

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