Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, said that in 2017, the Ministry will emphasise the development of a comprehensive action plan of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA).
The Minister during her 2017 budget presentation today, echoed Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan’s statements made during his Budget presentation on November 28, that the Green Agenda is about sustainable development, embracing a broad range of SDGs and aligning perfectly with multi-dimensional progress.
Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence
Minister Lawrence pointed out that achieving the 17 SDGs will provide the good life and economic sustainability for citizens.
The Minister recalled that in 2016, the Ministry framed its objectives and shaped its policies within the parameters of equitable distribution for the benefit of all Guyanese as extracted from the SDG of ending poverty (Goal one); achieving gender equity and empowerment of women and girls (Goal 5); and ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all, at all ages.
“I wish to reiterate the importance of these SDGs, and the others, and I would like to commend the Honourable Minister for his foresight in crafting the Budget, cognisant of the 2030 target of the Development Goals,” Minister Lawrence said.
The Minister pointed out that her Ministry is committed to transforming the lives of Guyanese, encouraging self- sufficiency through entrepreneurship, thus paving the way for the achievement of the eradication of poverty.
“The unrelenting efforts initiated in the area of training, which is critical to the successful management of any business, I wish to report, first of all on the First Lady’s Capacity Building Initiative which seeks to empower beneficiaries through training on managing and sustaining small entrepreneurial ventures,” Minister Lawrence explained.
Additionally, training was conducted in all 10 Administrative Regions and approximately 390 female single parents have been recipients of training in self-reliance and success in business.
However, in 2017, the training will continue in new locations in the Regions and those who have been already trained in “Success in Business” will be provided with linkages to markets. Also, in Regions Five and 10, technical assistance will be provided to entrepreneurs. In fact, the Ministry is planning to engage young adults and offer support, both with business skills and financial grants to realise their business goals, the Minister explained.
“Towards this end, in the first quarter, there will be the hosting of three business fairs where these young adults can make their proposals. Moreover, we will be focusing on implementing the Sustainable Livelihoods and Entrepreneurial Development SLED programme for which there has been an injection of $100M.”
Moreover, Regions One, Two, Six, and Ten will benefit from the introduction of the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST), teaching the communities to generate their own income.
Minister Lawrence highlighted that similar projects are earmarked for female single parent households in Regions One and 10, in 2017, to become more financially independent.
Female single parent families in East Bank Berbice, Region Six were trained in green/shade house agriculture.
Additionally, the Ministry will continue to partner with Women Across Differences (WAD) to replicate and to provide a platform for teenage mothers to reintegrate them into society, similar to what was done along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, in Linden,Region 10 and Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam, Region Six, the minister noted.
Further, training in vocational skills will be conducted for adolescent mothers in Regions One, Two and Nine.
The Social Protection Minister recalled that on Friday, November 25, 2016, Guyana joined with the rest of the world in observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Minister underlined that the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit is now well-staffed and the Ministry has entered into discussions with the Guyana Police Force, Regional Authorities, Ministry of Public Security and Non-Governmental Organisations to come up with strategies to combat the prevalence of domestic violence. Further in 2017, hotlines will be set up in several Regions.
Additionally, the shelter which was considered for Region Three will now be constructed in the Mahaica Hospital Compound, Region Four as there is much more space at this site. Minister Lawrence reported that drawings and plans for this project are completed.
Domestic and Sexual Violence Shelters in Regions Six and 10 will also be effected.
Georgetown and New Amsterdam Prisons will be connected to the Integrated Crime Information System and 12 Police Stations across the country will be upgraded to handle domestic violence interviews, interviewing and case management.
Further the Government will develop community safety plans for 20 communities with the highest crime and violence rates, the Minister explained.
The Social Protection Minister added that the work done by one of the frontline organisations has not gone unnoticed by the Government. “The services provided to our many women and their families who suffer from abusers is commendable and after many years of request for an increase in their subsidies, approval has been granted. In 2017 provision was made for an increase of $21.2M for Help and Shelter.”
Other areas that will see improvement in 2017 include the Probation and Social Services Sector, Social Work Sector, Juvenile Justice Bill, Legal Aid Clinic, Linden Legal Aid Clinic, Hugo Chavez Home, the elderly and pensioners among others.
The Minister concluded that the Ministry will be devising and designing ways of lifting the citizenry out of the claws of poverty through provision of jobs and empowerment.
“The entrepreneurial idea must be engendered in the minds of our unemployed peoples. Guyana is blessed with resources that are waiting to be tapped. We owe it to ourselves to be proactive; we must invest time and effort in acquiring requisite skills and knowledge to forge ahead.”