Guyana working to empower young girls utilising the 2016 CHDR recommendations

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, October 21, 2016

Guyana is working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure that polices are inclusive to provide a better future for young girls  as .securing the future of the country’s young girls means addressing poverty in all its forms.

UNDP Regional Advisor Kenroy Roach

UNDP Regional Advisor Kenroy Roach

According to the UNFPA State of World Population 2016, there are 7,000 10-year-old girls in Guyana. These girls are the future of the country but they are also at a vulnerable point in their lives. The UNFPA has undertaken to secure a better future for girls worldwide through the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the Caribbean, women and young girls are vulnerable to poverty and inequality according UNDP’s 2016 Caribbean Human Development Report (CHDR). The report estimates that 18.6 percent of Guyana’s population is indigent.

Regional Adviser at the UNDP Kenroy Roach believes that addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality is inessential in securing a bright future particularly for young girls.

“We believe that you need to improve women and youth, young women in particular access, to services as a way of removing or improving their health outcomes and improving the health challenges they see later in life,” Roach told the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Guyana meantime has been making strides in addressing inequality. The CHDR noted that Guyana is an outstanding example for the Caribbean in its effort to reduce inequality with 31.3 percent of seats in Parliament being held by women. But ensuring greater female participation in the labour force remains a challenge for the country.

For younger girls, ineffective school systems, teenage pregnancy and violence are the risk factors that make them vulnerable. Roach told GINA that it is important that “protective factors” are part of “public policies to protect youth but in particular young girls”.

Guyana was however credited by the CHDR for better than expected performance in the following areas despite the country’s gross national income:

  • Child malnutrition
  • Infant mortality and
  • Average schooling rates
  • Primary school dropout rate
  • Gross secondary school matriculation

These are positive indicators for the future of Guyana’s young girls. Earlier this year, government ministers and stakeholders held a round table discussion to develop programmes particularly geared towards young people and young adults.

However Guyana still has to improve on its maternal mortality, youth unemployment and teenage pregnancy rates, the report indicated. Roach noted that Guyana and the wider Caribbean can rely on the tools available by the UNDP to “help the life chances of young women”.

“We’re looking at to what extent sectorial planning whether it’s in education, it’s in health, it’s in infrastructure how those plans are connected to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which targets of the SDGs they are connected to and then what are the gaps.  Importantly what are the structural, what are the policy, what the programmatic gaps that exist and then UNDP supports governments in developing the policies and programmes to fill those gaps,” Roach explained.

To secure the future of young girls and address their challenges, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan said comprehensive polices buttressed by a sustainable economic base is needed. The government has been working to ensure that its policies are inclusive of all vulnerablegroups.

The CHDR noted that Guyana’s economy has registered positive economic growth over the last 10 years.  Guyana is one of the 193 countries that has pledged over the next 15 years to achieve the 17 SDGs which underpin the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.


By Tiffny Rhodius




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