Community Advocates Programme continues deliver effective service

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Social Protection continues to implement programmes for effective service delivery and the Community Advocates Programme is one such initiative.

As part of its mandate, the Ministry of Social Protection is charged with developing and implementing policies that will aid the social and economic growth and development of communities countrywide.

The Ministry is cognizant of the increasing number of community groups and other volunteer organizations that can provide invaluable support and assistance to the work of the Ministry. As a result, the Ministry intends to foster partnerships with communities by strengthening their capacities, with the hope that over time, communities can function as reliable intermediate service providers in areas where there is an absence of a decentralized office of the Ministry.

In this regard, the Ministry of Social Protection is partnering with UNICEF and USAID/CFYR in selected communities to inform residents of the services offered.  The Community Advocates Programme is being implemented by the Department of Social Services and will empower community support workers across the ten (10) administrative regions.

Currently, the Community Advocates Programme is being piloted in six (6) communities in region # 4: Sophia, East Ruimveldt, East La Penitence, Lodge, North Ruimveldt and Albouystown. Residents of the selected communities, are trained and are expected to become community advocates, linking the social services offered by the Ministry to persons most in need in their communities.

The program is expected to build a network of advocates countrywide to strengthen the communities’ response to social issues in Guyana, empower and equip communities through the acquisition of knowledge and coping skills and improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups (inclusive of women and girls) by providing access to social support services.

The six communities are already exposed to awareness sessions on Senior Citizens Pension, Public Assistance and Child Care and Protection services. To date, the Ministry has trained 79 persons. Other areas of focus will be Sexual Offences & Domestic Violence, Trafficking in Persons, Cooperatives, Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurial Development Program (SLED), Recruitment and Placement, Labour, Occupational Safety and Health, and Board of Industrial Training.

Deputy Director of Social Services, Mrs. Abike Benjamin-Samuels while addressing the residents of the six communities, implored them to pay attention to what goes on in their respective communities and “to look out for each other”. She stressed that community members should refer those who are less knowledgeable of services, in the right direction.

Mr. Akeem Cave, a Youth Chairman of the Community Enhancement Committee of Sophia, said that he thinks the training is important to his community since some residents may miss advertisements in the newspapers and traditional forms of media; a gap he believes the Community Advocates Programme can fill.

The community of Albouystown recently benefitted from a grant of four million, five hundred thousand dollars (4.5 million) to establish a (24 hour) snackette on the corner of Trench Road and Hunter Street. The Grant was through the Ministry of Social Protection’s Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurial Development Program (SLED) and was given to the South Georgetown Community Developers Co-operative Society.

The project was referenced to the residents as an example of the type of resources available for poverty alleviation through the Ministry of Social Protection.

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