$105M aid for displaced Venezuelan migrants in Guyana

– UNICEF working to increase capacity and resilience of the system

– supporting host communities to be hosts

DPI, Guyana, Monday, February 25, 2019

A humanitarian action for children, through the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its Guyana office, has received $105M (US$500,000) to fund the provision of water and sanitation hardware, assist the Ministry of Education to build schools’ capacity, and hygiene promotion for Venezuelan migrants.

Emergency Officer of UNICEF Guyana, Ian Jones.

To combat issues such as child abuse and child labour among the Venezuelan migrants Jones said, “We are supporting the ministry of social protection with surge capacity so that they can develop their human resources in these areas, and with the NGO Blossoms, we are looking to have one-stop shops for reporting on child abuse. So, it’s a case where we are looking to build up the capacity, and then the incidents will be reported through the regular systems.”

Jones added that a spike in the number of incidents reported will be noticed when the capacity is built with the number of child abuse or child labour reported, but it is not necessarily an increase in such cases, just that a facility is now available for these issues to be reported.

He added that the focus is on 12,000 migrants, 4,800 of which are children living in Regions 1 through 7.

Although data-tracking metric-surveys are in place to know how many migrants have been registered, they are unable to give a figure of how many migrants are living in Guyana at this time. This, he said, is because all the migrants are not coming through the main points of entry at Charity, Essequibo.

Venezuelan migrants are coming to Guyana mainly from Delta Amacuro and the Bolivar state.

This information was shared at the 2018 annual review of the joint annual work between the Guyana government and UNICEF on Thursday last, where Ian Jones, Emergency officer of UNICEF Guyana said the agency’s main focus is on capacity building for the all agencies involved in addressing the issue of Venezuelan migration to Guyana.

Through this initiative, one of UNICEF’s focus is to improve host communities in light of the influx of Venezuelan migrants.

A multi-agency coordination committee which is led by Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix meets every fortnight to address the issue of the migrants in Guyana.

Kipenie Jordan.

Image: Keno George.

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