Ministries should work towards mending gaps in vulnerable communities – First Lady
GINA, GUYANA, Friday, November 11, 2016
The First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger has stated that an inter-ministry approach should be fostered in lending effective support and multi-sectoral education to teenaged girls and mothers.
Ministries should work together towards targeting young females of particular communities, educating them of sexual and reproductive health, the First Lady proffered. Mrs. Granger pointed out that key ministries must play an integral role in ensuring that necessary systems are in place for educating these teenagers.
The First Lady has started a number of programmes, working with the various ministries to roll out different projects. However, in strengthening the foundation among the target group and community, a collaborative effort is needed.
“I started to think that maybe (the) Communities Ministry can get involved so that they can have the centres where young people can learn about sexual and reproductive health, learn life skills, get some educational training… Social Protection, Social Cohesion and Public Health, all these ministries can plan how they can strengthen communities so you will have less vulnerability,” the First Lady remarked during an interview with the Government Information Agency ( GINA).
Government ministries play an important role in implementing policies and systems that can lay the ground work for the empowerment of women and young girls. Additionally, teenaged mothers would be able to benefit from new programmes and support systems put in place by these ministries. These individuals usually depend on extensive support.
Mrs. Granger said, “When you think about these young people with their lives before them, what they are going to be and how this mother will impact her child, she can’t do it if she is working (for) a minimum wage. Maybe she goes to work as a guard, she works at three (pm), ‘oh X didn’t turn up, so you have to stay until tomorrow morning’ so what is happening to her kids, you know (so), we have to be realistic.”
The First Lady is a patron of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Women Across Differences (WAD), and an advocate for its Mothers for Change programme for adolescent mothers. She has been working with NGOs targeting these young mothers, creating support groups within the respective communities, as well as obtaining donations which will help mothers who struggle to find jobs and other sources of income.
Speaking about teenaged mothers who may not have completed their education the First Lady said, “Some of them want to go back to school to finish their education, and we help them with that, some of them want to do cosmetology, child care and care for the elderly and we facilitate that, as well,” Mrs. Granger Lady explained.
Mrs. Granger’s Self-Reliance and Success in Business Certificate Programme is also another avenue for these young ladies to benefit. At the end of the programme, they should be able to know how to run a business, how to keep records and to examine the business market among other principles.
The First Lady has recognised that Guyana has one of the highest rates of teenaged pregnancy within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) while the grouping carries the second highest rate in the world.
“The largest concentration of teenage mothers is in the Sophia area, so we really have to see what we can do to help these girls,” Mrs. Granger said.
By: Delicia Haynes