GSA students benefitting from gender-based climate-smart agriculture course
Students of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) are currently undertaking a Gender Mainstreaming course that is geared towards bridging the gender gap in the agriculture sector, while building gender-responsive climate and disaster resilience in Guyana and the Caribbean.
The course is part of the Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) Project led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is funded by Global Affairs Canada and the United Kingdom Government.
It commenced on Wednesday at the GSA Campus, Agriculture Road, East Coast Demerara and will be facilitated online, allowing the participants to complete the five to six-week course at their own pace.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Delma Nedd delivered remarks on behalf of the subject minister, Zulfikar Mustapha at the opening ceremony.
In her remarks, she noted that the project aims to create an enabling environment that allows students and researchers to effectively take gender-based climate-smart agriculture to the next level.
“With this gender-based climate smart course that is online and self-paced, we are tailoring it to the specific needs and context of Guyana. This course will empower our local communities offering them the knowledge and skills needed to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change while promoting gender equality,” Nedd stated.
She also noted that the government is pursuing several projects that are geared towards women empowerment including the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme, with 300 plus shade houses established across the country.
Meanwhile, Country Representative at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Wilmot Garnett said the GSA is being transformed as a centre of excellence and gender equality will be promoted in all agriculture-related agencies.
“This is the next phase, the second phase we’re discussing with PS Nedd and her team to make sure that all the arms in Guyana related to agriculture, GuySuco, GRDB …Initially we thought about the students and the faculty, but now we’re talking about also building capacity with the extension officers. These are the people that are at the frontline engaging, being out there with our many many farmers, fisherfolks and so on.”
Additionally, IICA is working with the school’s administration and the Ministry of Education to have this gender course integrated into the syllabus, where it will be made mandatory.
Also, IICA is conducting an overall assessment of the agriculture education facility, after which it will be forwarded to the government as it seeks to transform the institution into a Regional School of Agriculture.
The sod was also turned for a shade house that will be managed by students. The shade house will integrate hydroponics and aquaponics activities to promote climate-smart agriculture. Additionally, 23 computers were handed over to the school’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gavin Ramnarine which will be utilised by students at the school’s two campuses.
UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Yeşim Oruç and other officials also delivered brief remarks at the event.