Agreement inked for another batch of Peace Corps volunteers

Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2016

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was today signed by representatives of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the United States Peace Corps.

The signing of the MoU for the “Community Based Youth Environment Education National Resource Management Project” took place at the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Quamina Street and Thomas Street, Georgetown.

In September, 10 Peace Corps volunteers are expected to arrive in Guyana. The members will be sent to communities in Regions One and Nine.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, said that he is elated to have such a partnership that deals with the management of the environment. “If we do not manage the natural environment properly we could (be) committing slow suicide to ourselves by putting more mercury into the creeks and rivers or destroying the trees without proper management,” Allicock said.

US Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway handing over the MoU to Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock (center), Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman (second from right), Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe (right), and Country Director, Peace Corps-Guyana Linda Arbogast (left)

US Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway handing over the MoU to Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock (center), Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman (second from right), Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe (right), and Country Director, Peace Corps-Guyana Linda Arbogast (left)

The volunteers will support ongoing activities of resource management in order to either create a natural resource management plan or help kick start an existing plan. The Minister explained that the volunteers “will help us to prepare the communities for the eventual development that we see so that our communities will own whatever is developed within those communities and feel comfortable about it.”

US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, making brief remarks at the ceremony, noted that the partnership comes at a critical time for Guyana.

“This (agreement) comes at a pivotal time when the Government of Guyana strengthens and intensifies its efforts to increase its biodiversity preservation efforts to protected areas and supporting sustainable development initiatives at both regional and international levels,” Holloway said.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, pointed out that care for the environment and the people living in the hinterland must be taken into consideration.

“We have to be mindful of the people, rightly so, who live in the environment where these resources are found. We have to be mindful of the flora and the fauna that exist in those areas,” the Minister explained.

Linda Arbogast, Country Director of Peace Corps – Guyana, noted that the Peace Corps is committed and will be working with the local people through a community based approach.

The goal of the project is to build the capacity of the Guyanese to be better environment stewards. “Our volunteer will promote and support environmental awareness with youth through wildlife clubs. This will be provided by teachers in schools who will incorporate environmental education in the school curriculum,” Arbogast said, adding that, “Guyana has made great stride in the preservation of its land. The peace corps will help preserve the land for future generations.”

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, described the signing of the Memorandum as a “very momentous occasion for Guyana.”

The Minister pointed out that over the years, the Peace Corps has been providing young people with various skills needed in health and education. According to Minister Lowe, preservation of the environment is just as important.

“Hinterland is where we have all the natural resources. We need to manage our environment so that our generations to come can have the use of it,” the Minister explained.

The 10 member batch slated to arrive in September is expected to spend a period of two years offering their services to Guyanese before they return to the U.S.

The Peace Corps first began working in Guyana in 1966 and served the development interests of the country until 1971. They were again invited to Guyana in 1995 to work as community-based promoters in the sectors of health and education.

The Peace Corps generally provides the most attention to communities with the greatest development challenges and fewest resources. Thus far, over 800 Peace Corps volunteers have been placed in communities  country wide.

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