New pilot Literacy project among several initiatives in the pipeline, geared at youth empowerment

Georgetown, GINA, June 3, 2016

A programme to help end illiteracy is to be undertaken by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment. The Each One, Teach One programme is a, ‘trainer of trainers’ programme which seeks to build capacity for a core of young people, to deliver literacy and numeracy to their peers.

Explaining the rationale behind the programme, Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Aubrey Norton, said, “A lot of our young people are illiterate and innumerate. Now we want to make our young people literate, we want them reading and writing so we are piloting this programme,”.

“We are calling it “Each One, Teach One,” because when we train them, they would go out and teach other people,” he added.

The programme will target youths in ten communities of Number 43 Village, West Coast  Berbice;  Kildonan Village, Corentyne, Berbice;   Linden, Region 10; and, Suddie, Essequibo Coast, Norton said.

Norton explained that a special programme would be facilitated for hinterland youths. “We would have to take the training programme to them rather than they coming to the training programme, so we have scheduled for July, a youth leadership training programme in the Rupununni,” he said.

Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment Aubrey Norton

Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment Aubrey Norton

Norton explained that at the end of 2016, the programme would be reviewed and if a need is found, it would be modified so as to come up with the best practices to sustain it.

The “Each One, Teach One” programme is among several initiatives being rolled out by Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment which are aimed at empowering youths to  become self-sufficient and develop them into productive individuals in the society.

Starting this weekend, the Unit will begin training over 60 youths, teaching them basic leadership skills including, effective communication, correct meeting procedure and the role of the secretary and treasurer.

Norton told the Government News Agency (GINA) that the Unit has formed more than 70 youth organisations across the country. He explained that leadership workshops are part of empowering youths in these clubs with the skills that are required to run the organisations.

“We have found from moving around the country that a lot of the young people have not been exposed to leadership training. What has been happening is that even when you try to form youth organisations with them, they are willing, but they do not have the skills,” Norton explained.

He noted that empowering the youths with the skills to run the clubs are essential, as the Unit is also seeking to ensure that the youths, can benefit from the several opportunities that come with being involved in clubs.

One such benefit he pointed out was through grants that are given to youth clubs by agencies.  “There are a lot of the international agencies in which there is assistance for young people. That assistance has to come through youth organisations and so we have been organizing them, to take advantage of these,” Norton explained.

Outside of the leadership training, the Unit is also focusing on providing training to the youths so that they could tap into the many entrepreneurship opportunities available within and outside of the country.

Norton revealed that a virgin coconut oil training project is soon to come on stream. He explained that the Unit through the Ministry of the Presidency, will not only target the training of youths in this exercise but, will also fund the construction of small buildings in various villages and prepare them with the necessary equipment for the youths to become efficient in the enterprise.

“We are purchasing equipment for them to do virgin coconut oil in a modern way, with a machine to press it, a modern machine to scoop out the coconut, so that they can become involved in the virgin coconut oil industry,” Norton said. He added that the Unit is also developing the capacity to help the youths find market for their product.

Another area of training which would be undertaken is in the area of food processing. Norton explained that the Unit will be training a number of young people to process fruits and meats. “We are training them so that they can do value added and be able to create little businesses in their communities,” he said, noting that, “The president has been very clear to me, he wants whatever we do to focus on economically empowering young people, So, a lot of our programmes are aimed at that kind of empowerment,” he explained.

There is also a programme geared at equipping youth with early childhood education. Norton explained that this programme will be executed in support of the Basic Need Trust Fund. He explained that a building will be established and the young people will be trained in childcare so they in turn, go back into their communities and set up early childhood centres (daycare centres).

The Unit is also training young people in heavy duty equipment operation. “There is a demand for heavy duty operators out there and we have a lot of unemployed youths, so we are taking them in batches, the first batch is 25, which should start about the June 14, and by the time they are through they would have the operational skills,” Norton said.

The Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment explained that the heavy duty equipment training will go for two months and at the end of the training the youths will be given the opportunity to test for their licenses.

Norton also said that youths are working with trained personnel to rehabilitate the camp. “They are getting valuable experiences at apprenticeship,” Norton noted. He explained that as part of the programme the youths will be paid but that a part of the money would be used to purchase tools for them. “By the time they end this process, they would have some practice in carpentry, masonry, electrical (installation) and plumbing. They would also have the tools so that when they go out there they could go look (for) jobs, set up a small business because we have found a lot of them, leave the institution but they do not have the means to get tools,” he said.

The Unit is also seeking to reestablish in a firm way, youth camps across the country, and is beginning that process with the Madewini Youth Camp. This initiative is also providing for another training enterprise, Norton explained, whereby, the youths being trained at the Kuru Kuru Training Centre would also be engaged in an apprentice training programme.