15 February 2018, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA
Panasonic Corporation in Japan has donated one hundred and twenty (120) solar lanterns to Guyana as part of its 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project, which would provide light to off-grid communities extending the duration of social services such as medical services, schools, and ensuring women’s safety at night.
The donation was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Ministry of Finance.
The lanterns were handed over to the Ministries of Public Health and Education and will be further distributed in off-grid communities in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 to health facilities to facilitate midwives providing safe delivery and neonatal care as well as assist community health workers in adequately managing emergencies at night.
Additionally, school dormitories and teachers’ quarters will use the lanterns in order to provide continuous lighting for increased safety of students and teachers and extend the duration of study.
The Ministries have appointed liaison officers who will be responsible for the delivery of the solar lanterns to the destined locations, training of personnel on the use of equipment, regular supervision of their use by local responsible persons and periodic monitoring. The lanterns can potentially sustain up to five years with proper maintenance.
Delivering remarks at the handover ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance on 15 February 2018, Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry explained that in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate to decrease disparities in education in the hinterland, Panasonic’s donation is a welcome contribution in meeting the needs of hinterland teachers and students.
She remarked that the solar lanterns will illuminate dormitories and teachers’ quarters in regions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 thereby removing a major obstacle for students and extending working hours for teachers which will generate positive change.
Ms. Collette Adams, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Health expressed gratitude to UNDP and Panasonic Corporation for the donation. She explained that the kind gesture will improve the delivery of health services at night in hinterland communities.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka expressed gratitude to Panasonic for responding to the request and donating the lanterns. She noted that this contribution from Panasonic is an example of active engagement of Japan’s private sector in helping countries and communities around the world towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Also present at the handover ceremony was Mr. Yoshinori Yakabe, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan. He explained that the donation is a praiseworthy example of corporate social responsibility and commended Panasonic Corporation for their benevolent mission of supporting sustainable development through their “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project”.
Photos of the handover ceremony can be accessed here.
The agriculture sector in Guyana and Dominica has been increasingly affected by climate change and recurring disasters such as hurricanes, floods and droughts. Dominica was amongst the hardest hit countries by the devastating hurricanes in 2017. Guyana has seen floods and droughts particularly in hinterland regions that have disrupted livelihoods of many families. Disaster risk reduction is ever more critical in building resilience of rural communities and the active role of women in agriculture points to the need to strengthen capacities and systems to empower women in disaster management.
The “Project to Strengthen Disaster Management Capacity of Women in Guyana and Dominica” brings together the Governments of Japan, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Commonwealth of Dominica and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to address this dire need in the two countries. The project aims to reduce vulnerabilities and risks in the agriculture sector by targeting three broad drivers of these problems: gaps in gender analysis, hazard and risk data; limited integration of climate change and disaster risk planning and practices in the agriculture sector; and limited access to appropriate, sustainable finance for vulnerable small farmers and women’s groups.
Focus will be placed on pertinent areas such as strengthening community and women’s capacities in applying mitigation and adaptation measures to reduce livelihood vulnerability, strengthening accessibility and availability of preparedness measures (community-based and national Early Warning System), enhancing opportunities for micro-grant mechanisms, and enhancing the adoption of best practices through knowledge exchange between communities and women’s groups. There will also be exchange of experiences and knowledge between Dominica and Guyana on successful approaches and lessons learned, in particular, inter-country women’s exchange visits.
Two documents were signed at today’s ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Georgetown. The Exchange of Notes (E/N) between the Government of Japan and UNDP formalizes the grant contribution amounting to five million US Dollars (US $5,000,000) from the Japanese Government, and was signed by Mr. Yoshinori Yakabe, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan, and Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative accredited to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The project document was signed by the Honourable Minister of Finance Winston Jordan and the UNDP Resident Representative. The USD 5M project is funded by the Government of Japan and will be implemented over a 3-year period starting in April 2018. In Guyana, the Civil Defense Commission and Ministry of Agriculture (Hydromet) are among several institutional partners delivering activities supporting coastland and hinterland communities susceptible to natural disasters.
Hon. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in his remarks at the event noted that the project will afford the people of Guyana the opportunity to share experiences and best practices, create synergies with the people of Dominica, develop and build resilience among citizens and create an enabling environment for sustainable agricultural development. He explained that the project will complement ongoing initiatives at the national level and expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan and UNDP for their respective support.
Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan, Yoshinori Yakabe remarked that the Government of Japan welcomes further opportunities which support the Caribbean region in addressing climate change, in order to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate.
Mr. Yakabe further explained that the project will specifically focus on addressing vulnerabilities of women and indigenous people who experience disproportionate impacts of hazard events; it will positively enhance the ability of the two nations to address climate risk due to an improved understanding of the important role these groups can play in disaster preparedness and recovery.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka expressed UNDP’s appreciation to Japan in enabling this timely project. She added that UNDP in Guyana and Dominica (covered by the UNDP Office in Barbados) will build on ongoing regional initiatives in the Caribbean and work with national institutions and other UN agencies such as FAO and UNICEF to build resilience and empower women in disaster-prone communities as a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Stephen O’Malley, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the OECS in his remarks via skype said, the project offers an excellent opportunity for both Guyana and Dominica to benefit and share lessons learnt on different development challenges.
Photos of the signing ceremony can be accessed here.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 30 November, 2017 signed the approved Project Document for the ICT Access and e-Services for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities project that will be executed by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA). Signing on behalf of the Government of the Co-operative of Guyana (GCRG) were Hon. Winston Jordan and Hon. Catherine Hughes, Ministers of Finance and Telecommunications, respectively.
Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy emphasizes the fostering of sustainable development in the hinterland regions and a key component in achieving such outcome is the linking of public services and information flows to the deployment and use of new Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). It is against this backdrop that the ICT Access and e-Services project will be executed over a five-year period beginning on 1 December 2017. The USD17M project is being funded by the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).
The project has four main outputs which seek to strengthen Guyana’s E-government policy environment and legislation with respect to Hinterland, Poor and Remote (HPR) communities and ensure that these citizens have increased access to Public e-services and information and training to build their capacity to use ICTs.
In her remarks at the signing ceremony, Minister Hughes said, “For far too long the digital divide between these areas and the Coastland has been real. With this project, we are about to change those circumstances and start the transformation of our people in these areas.”
Echoing similar sentiments, UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka, applauded the GCRG and the Kingdom of Norway for their cooperation and for the confidence in UNDP being a partner entity for GRIF and for this project. She quoted former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan who had famously said, “Knowledge is power, Information is Liberating”, and explained that she looks forward to learning relevant lessons applicable for delivering GRIF programmes in the hinterland areas, where conditions such as lack of access to ICTs pose broad challenges that this project is trying to address.
The GCRG sees ICT as a critical pillar that can improve the quality of life of all its citizens. A whole-of-government approach has been adopted to modernize the public sector through the strategic deployment of new technologies to foster the delivery of public services across the nation, particularly the HPR communities, residents of which could gain the most from access to ICTs and critical government services. The government is simultaneously refining a national ICT strategy that is expected to be revealed in Q1 2018.
As a precursor to this HPRC project, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, working in close collaboration with UNDP, completed a comprehensive Baseline and Needs Assessment which had identified the HPR communities. The study included field visits and direct interaction with target communities, which have provided deep insights into the core issues these communities are facing as well as the likely technologies and business models that could bring and sustain the services and information that the residents currently lack.
While ICTs play a central role in the whole process, the ultimate goal of the project is to enhance the sustainable human development of HPR communities while promoting the development of a national green economy.
Photo: L-R: Hon. Catherine Hughes, Minister of Telecommunications; Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance, and UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanka after the signing.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has announced that it will be supporting the establishment of a Food and Nutrition Institute at the University of Guyana (UG) and help that tertiary institution conduct several studies on climate change related to the agriculture sector.
The announcements were made by the FAO Representative in Guyana, Reuben Robertson at the 10th Turkeyen and Tain Talks, a public forum on various national issues that is organised and held periodically by UG.
He said the US$30,000 institute, which would be established at the Turkeyen Campus, is a tangible contribution to partner with UG in its ongoing leading role in Guyana’s development.
Saying that the focus on food and nutrition security is in line with its global, regional and local commitments, Robertson said FAO and UG would work together towards the establishment of the institute. “Our goal will be to work with the university to strengthen this programme with the expectation that in the final analysis the national capacities will be enhanced and moreover good governance will be established for food and nutrition security throughout Guyana,” he said.
The FAO representative said food and nutrition security is at the helm of FAO’s programme in keeping with its global, Caribbean and local commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals as set by the United Nations.
He also announced that the FAO would be providing US$100,000 to UG to help that tertiary education institution conduct a number of socioeconomic and environmental studies next year that will feed into the national comprehensive proposal for adaptation to climate change in the agriculture sector.
With the university heightening its public visibility and contribution to discussions on a wide variety of issues of national concern through the now one year old Turkeyen and Tain Talks, Robertson hailed UG’s thrust in forging partnerships.
“The university is on the right path, forging smart partnerships for resource mobilization, enhancing the quality of the programmes it delivers, while at the same time expanding into new frontiers including research and the provision of high quality technical services,” he said.
The FAO, a specialised technical assistance agency of the United Nations, is leading the charge in environmental and social safeguards and standards, classify risks and build resilience to cope with the impact of climate change.
Source: Demerara Waves
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