Challenges faced by men to be frontally addressed through 1000-men initiative

Men on Mission applauded by those at launch

As part of President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s ‘One Guyana’ vision, the 1000-men initiative aims to provide a brighter future for young Guyanese and strives to offer men and boys the much-needed mentorship and direction.

Men on Mission (MOM) which forms part of the initiative was launched at Base Camp Ayanganna on Friday evening.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali posing with one of the patrons at the launch

The goal of President Ali’s 1000-men initiative is to directly address the issues that men and boys experience and reorient them toward their rightful role in society.

While delivering remarks at the forum, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force, Brigadier Godfrey Bess explained that by, “equipping the masculine gender to play more meaningful role in society is a very monumental and complex task. Because of the lack of good role models, several of our men have been socialised in very unproductive ways of doing life.”

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Godfrey Bess

The Chief of Staff emphasised the value of empowering men and helping them to get the things they need. He noted that, “this initiative has brought together brotherhood amongst the men in Guyana of all races, religions, cultural backgrounds, and varied organisations with the simple task of making tomorrow better than yesterday for all boys and men.

“When I think of this brotherhood, I see progress, betterment, I see support system that is missing and needed. Through our men of mission guide and mentorship, we will move valiantly towards positive change. We will learn together, we will grow together, and we will develop Guyana together. Boys and men, you are not alone. We all need each other and we must be that support to one another.”

One of the booths at the launch

Brigadier Bess called on the men to register in the programme to be a mentor or a mentee, “it will be through our collective efforts that we will fix the man. We have the capabilities to fix our boys and men.”

The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to several men who lauded the 1000 men initiative as ‘timely’.

Calvin Roberts

Calvin Roberts, a mentee of the programme, extended gratitude to President Ali for the initiative, “it’s actually a good venture where men could come and to be in one safe space sharing their experiences and influencing change.” 

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Malcolm Watkins highlighted, “I think it’s an amazing initiative, it aligns to what the President wants for Guyana and I’m personally 100 per cent behind this initiative.”

Malcolm Watkins, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health

He explained that as Guyana continues to transition economically and socially, we need to have strong foundations in all sectors of society, “You need strong men to hold the family together to provide and create a safe environment, not only for your home but for the community and the country. We also need to have the ability to build a community where we must strive to become more intelligent, have more skills in different areas where we can capitalise on the growth that we have.”

As an example, he noted, that he can inspire young men to develop, grow, and to become a contributor to the country.

Mahendra Persaud

Mahendra Persaud also commended the president for the initiative since, “we must try to be our brother’s keeper. And what I am seeing with this here. We all should be like this. So, I must congratulate the President for doing this for us.”

Meanwhile, the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Ten, Dwight John stated that the Men on Mission is a wonderful initiative by the government, as “it brings the men together.”

Some of the men at the launch of MOM

He noted that most of the forums are usually held for women, “so, I’m glad the president and the Government of Guyana is taking this initiative to have a men’s forum. We would like to see some of these initiatives, for instance, to do with mental health, dealing with job opportunities. Something that’s never been done in Guyana and it’s the first of many initiatives and that I know will benefit all Guyanese, One Guyana.”

“I must say that this is a great initiative that the President has launched for all men to come and mingle and socialise with other men, get to know other men from other various police force. And to visit all of the various booths to get educational stuff,” Keon Park related.

A section of the gathering at the MOM launch at Base Camp Ayanganna

Ryan Ramdial expressed, “I feel it’s a great initiative by the leaders of the country to bring together all the men from different background, different faith, and that we can come together and mingle with each other.”

Ramdial stated that we can achieve many things by working together to develop Guyana, “I was blown away when I came here tonight. You know it’s a wonderful thing, I think they should do it more often and bring more brotherhood to the men in this country.”

One thousand men from the Joint Services, the sports and entertainment industries, the religious community, and business sector will participate in the Men on Mission initiative.