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Write on Monday, 06 November 2017 Published in Newsletter

UN training 2017 2In September 58 staff from FAO, IOM, PAHO/WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNDSS, UNFPA, UNICEF and the UN RCO participated in a training on the Core and LGBTI modules of the UN for All programme. The modules highlight a new stage in the work of UN Cares on stigma and discrimination and human rights.

UN training 2017 1Topics included Unconscious Bias; the human realities related to sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, mental health status, and substance abuse; and the language of inclusion. The sessions built on previous activities hosted by the inter-agency UN Cares Group that resulted in the UN Cares Guyana team winning the UN Cares Global Award for reaching UN staff with UN Cares Learning Sessions in 2014.  

UN Cares Minimum Standard 10, which highlights managerial commitment, was fully embraced with the high level of support of the UN Country Team, who were present along with their staff.  The sessions were interactive and participatory, which was well received by staff. “Trainings like these should be annual and included in orientation for new staff,” said Shonelle Chase-Wishart, Programme Associate at the UNDP office. Resident Coordinator, Mikiko Tanaka noted that the training provided insight into the need for the creation of a more respectful and non-discriminatory work place. “Now we need to translate this into action,” she said. 

The UN for All training provided an opportunity for strategic reflection on how staff can make their work place and the UN system an inclusive work environment free of discrimination. UN for All is a UN System-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the UN workplace.

Write on Monday, 31 July 2017 Published in Press Releases

Santiago, Chile, 26 July 2017 - According to a new FAO study, significant progress has been made with regard to inter-agency coordination, along with inter-ministerial planning capacity and implementation, in terms of governance of food security policies in Latin American countries. In addition, it was noted that the efficient use of resources has improved due to increased coordination among other government institutions. These were some of the findings of the study Governance of Food and Nutrition Security: Factors for viability and sustainability. Case studies from seven Latin American countries, published by the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation Program. The countries analyzed - Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru - have one element in common: they are making progress in the fight against hunger.

Write on Monday, 30 November -0001 Published in Newsletter

Georgetown, Guyana – (June 3, 2017) President David Granger said that in a world where one in every nine persons does not have enough to eat and where approximately 795,000,000 people are starving, it is his Government’s mission to ensure that no Guyanese citizen is left hungry. He added that while Guyana is on the brink self-sufficiency, the country must, as a matter of priority, achieve total food security whereby citizens, at all times, can have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods, which meet their daily dietary needs.

The Head of State, who was at the time delivering the feature address at the commissioning of the Ministry of Social Protection’s Self-Sufficient Agricultural Economic Services Project at the Hugo Chavez Centre at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice, called on citizens to ensure that this initiative does not become a side-show, noting that this is the direction the entire country needs to be heading, not just to feed their own families but the entire region as well.

The President said that despite the strides that Guyana has made, much more attention must be paid to the availability and accessibility of wholesome food. He noted that no one should go hungry because of poverty, inequality or geographic location.

Write on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Published in Newsletter

15 young men and women from rural communities across Guyana benefited from a one-week immersive Learning Route entitled “Rural Employment and Self-Employment Initiatives,” which was held in February, 2017.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) partnered with the global not-for-profit organisation PROCASUR to implement several activities related to the project including the development of youth profiles, systematization of good practices, and the preparation and implementation of Learning Route.

Speaking at the launch of Learning Route Guyana, Fransen Jean, Food Security Officer in the FAO Caribbean Sub Regional Office noted that the Learning Route signalled FAO’s commitment to promote youth employment opportunities in the food and agriculture sector, specifically in Guyana.

He noted that youth unemployment in the Caribbean is twice higher than the average of the world with Guyana among those with the highest rate of 40%.” These statistics were echoed in a statement from the former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis who noted that the rate of youth unemployment across the Caribbean averages 25% while here in Guyana this rate has been hovering close to 40% since 2000.

Former Permanent Secretary Jervis lauded the Learning Route initiative noting that “Given our country and regional scenario, we must ensure that more and more of our rural youths are gainfully employed. Youths can bring the vigour, innovation, capability and skill needed to enhance the agricultural sector resources by promoting greater involvement of our youths in agriculture and other rural economic activities.”

Similar comments were expressed by the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Mr. Aubrey Norton and National Focal Point for the project at Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Christopher Ross.

Feedback from participants of the Learning Route indicated that there were a number of constraints and opportunities to grapple with.  Some of these constraints include:
1.The lack of employment opportunities in rural areas and the extent to which this had prompted youth migration to urban areas and outwards.
2.The lack of access to financial loans and credits because of little or no collateral.
3.Difficulty in accessing markets and obtaining adequate prices for their products.
4.The inability to produce commercial quantities of products to satisfy targeted markets.
5.The ICT divide and the limited use of or non-availability of communication technologies including social media for marketing purposes.

FAO Learning RouteThe participants concluded with a call for better farm access roads to facilitate transportation of their goods and to reduce the chances of spoilage.  Many also expressed the need for new communication technologies and information on innovative farming methods.

Agriculture and youth employment opportunities
Ms. Alda Berardinelli, a representative of PROCASUR and lead facilitator of the Learning Route explained that for the participants, obtaining income that would allow them to support themselves and their growing family and generate employment for other young people in their community is critical to promoting youth empowerment and generational relief in rural areas.

She notes that this emerging approach on rural youths is the new focus of the Learning Route “Rural Employment and Self-Employment Initiatives.”

During the one week training program participants attended workshops,  undertook case studies of local businesses and travelled across country to interact with business entities including the Surama Eco Lodge, Amazon Chemicals, Blue Flame Women’s Group, WADN and young entrepreneurs who benefited from the SKYE Program.  

The interaction with local businesses and young entrepreneurs had a significant impact on the group with many reporting that the experience was “life changing.”  During the closing ceremony emotions were raw as participants talked about the effectiveness of the learning route methodology, the opportunities for learning and the hopes of going back to their respective communities to make a difference.

Mr. Reuben Robertson, FAO Guyana Representative charged the participants to use the new knowledge to improve their lives and to also improve their communities.

Guyana is one of the nine participating countries of the FAO-FIDA Youth Caribe project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the a technical agreement entitled “Strengthening Decent Rural Employment Opportunities for young women and men in the Caribbean” and co-financed with FAO technical cooperation program under another agreement entitled “Youth participation in the food and feed systems improvement of the Caribbean.” The main objective is to promote youth employment opportunities in the agriculture and related industries in the Caribbean region.

The project is structured to contribute to the knowledge base for efficient and effective public private investments in favour of youth; enabling policy environment for youth employment opportunities in the agriculture and related industries; enhanced capacities of young people for rural opportunities; and scaling-up of innovation practices already developed nationally and/or within the sub-region.

According to the Caribbean Development Bank, Guyana and Suriname are the Caribbean countries with the highest persistent youth unemployment, where Guyana has an unemployment rate hovering around 40%5. The population between 15 to 19 years concentrates the highest unemployment levels, nearly 36.3%.

In terms of occupational categories, Guyana’s workforce is employed mainly by private companies and corresponds to 48.4% of the labour force; 24.9% are employed by government entities and 20.4% are independent. Less significantly is 2.9% that are employers, 2.2% that are unpaid family workers and 1% apprentices6.  In terms of the Distribution of Employed Labour Force by Status of Employment within the Industries wholesale, retail trade, repair of vehicles, motors and household goods have the highest number of people, followed by agriculture, hunting and forestry (32.8%).  Region 9 (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) is said to have the highest percentage, 70.3% of the population, engaged in agricultural activities.

What is Learning Route?
According to PROCASUR, “Learning Route is a planned journey that seeks to expand and diversify the rural knowledge market, including and valuing good experiences and knowledge from institutions, organizations, communities and individuals. Each Route is organized thematically around experiences, case studies and good practices at the local rural development level, where the host actors involved become the trainers. The host actors are local stakeholders that have been carefully selected through a specific methodology and set criteria based on local needs. These local stakeholders have tackled similar challenges using innovative ways, obtaining successful results and accumulating practical knowledge that can be useful to others. Through workshops, interviews, discussions and other activities carried out during field visits, the Learning Route allows for a platform for the experiential encounter between participants and hosts, sharing experiences and knowledge.”