Georgetown, Guyana – (August 7, 2019) Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings- William, today, joined the Ambassador of the United States of America to Guyana, Mrs. Sarah-Ann Lynch, in welcoming 29 new Peace Corps Volunteers through its 32nd Cohort here in Guyana.
The volunteers will be based in communities across eight of the Ten Administrative Regions of Guyana for the next two years. Of the 29 volunteers, ten will be placed to work in the field of education; ten in environment and nine in health.
The Minister of State, who delivered remarks at the event said the contribution made by Peace Corps volunteers towards the development and progress of Guyana is highly appreciated and has resulted in hinterland and Indigenous communities benefitting in areas such as education, health and environment.
As Minister with responsibility for the Department of Environment, Minister Hastings- Williams said the Peace Corps environment volunteers come at a pivotal time in Guyana’s history when the Government is focused on the implementation of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) with the objective of building an eco-friendly economy.
“The best way humanity can protect our planet is by ensuring that young and future generations are equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to protect and preserve the environment. This can be possible through the delivery of a solid curriculum in Environmental Science. Work in primary schools to co-deliver the National Science Curriculum, with a focus on learning through inquiry; collaborate with community members to organize hands-on outdoor education activities for youth through wildlife clubs, and with community members to identify environmental issues and works towards addressing them are definitely the type of actions the Government of Guyana welcomes to strengthen and assist our schools and communities. And for this, Guyana is grateful,” she said.
She noted that targeting and educating children and youth on the effective management of natural resources can significantly aid in the mitigation of environmental degradation and the promotion of sustainable development.
“Once we teach our children and youth the consequences of environmental pollution, they will become the adults of tomorrow that will become protective of the environment. Collaboration of Peace Corps volunteers with host communities to build local awareness on environmental issues and take actions to address them is a joint collaboration the Government of Guyana looks forward to,” she said.
Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry, who also spoke at the event, said that from the viewpoint of the Ministry of Education, the volunteers will provide an invaluable contribution in ensuring that every community has access to education.
“Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Guyana and have built ties within our communities. It has lasted for a lifetime. The work you do and the experience you will have in immersing yourself in our culture will give you a unique and valuable perspective of our country, culture and our people. I understand that some of you will be based in schools across the country. This will, of course, boost our literacy programme for Grades One to Four. Our teachers, parents and communities stand to benefit from your experiences and skills. We are in the process of education reform, which involves curriculum reformation, strategic planning and shifting to a more technically advanced learning environment and I trust that you can help in this process while moulding the young minds you will be interacting with,” she said.
Additionally, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mrs. Valerie Garrido-Lowe said for as long as she can remember, the Peace Corps Volunteers have been working in the hinterland communities, providing selfless service. She urged them to learn the ways of life of the Indigenous peoples so that they can build strong relationships.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Lynch in her remarks, said the Peace Corps has devoted itself to developing state-of-the-art training during the past 10 weeks of training on the Essequibo Coast, which included intense sessions on technical theory, Creolese, Guyanese culture and practical training on model school programmes.
“We have a park ranger, a camp counsellor, a veterinary assistant and a special education teacher – to name a few professions represented – in the group. Your diversity brings in fresh ideas, strengthens tolerance within the group and in your new communities, and empowers each of you to share more of yourselves, explore more, and fully embrace the Guyanese culture. You are being posted to eight of Guyana’s ten regions, and 40 per cent of you will be serving in some of the neediest Indigenous communities.
“Let me remind you that you are committing to two years of service - service to your country, the United States, and service to the Guyanese citizens in your communities and beyond. As with those before you, we expect excellence; we expect professionalism; and we expect commitment during your two years of Peace Corps Service,” she said.
First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings and members of the Diplomatic Corps also attended the event.