Social Protection, Hope Foundation join forces

─ to eliminate social issues in mining communities

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Ministry of Social Protection and the Hope Foundation are collaborating to eliminate several social ills in mining communities. Those being targeted include loggers, miners, migrants and commercial sex workers.

Ivor Melville, Director of Hope Foundation.

The Hope Foundation, established in 1996, is a non-governmental organisation based in Bartica, Region 7. The body provides services aimed at addressing community-based health and social issues as well as the provision of skills training and capacity building programmes to target groups

Director of Hope Foundation, Ivor Melville disclosed to the Department of Public Information, that starting November 2, members of the organisation will visit several mining communities in the region. “Hope Foundation has been providing counselling, psychosocial services for persons who are HIV affected, orphans and vulnerable children and I am pleased to say the response was very positive,” Melville noted.

In an invited comment, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Hon. Keith Scott applauded the initiative by the group. He said several officers from the ministry will also be accompanying members of the foundation into various mining communities.

“There are many instances, where the Department of Labour has received complaints of mistreatment of minors, and loggers. We believe for a more effective approach, including labour officers to the project will get these issues eradicated,” Minister Scott mentioned.

He added that measures will be put in place also to include social workers on the team to record social issues and conduct the necessary counselling. He highlighted that in 2017, the Department of Social Services saw the need to implement a community advocate programme but encountered issues addressing matters due to the time taken to get in the targeted mining communities.

“We are happy to be collaborating with Hope Foundation because they are already in the region and on the ground. They also have a broad network; it is just for the ministry to get the data and take the necessary action needed. We will also be seeking the cooperation of other organisations to work along with the team in 2020,” Minister Scott added.

The Hope Foundation began its mission in response to the incidents of HIV/AIDS in the country. It has since evolved to provide relevant services in combatting HIV as well as other social issues.

The organisation has join forces with various sections of the Bartica and hinterland communities; and organised youths, religious organisations, private sector, media, mining, logging and mining companies and other target groups in riverain communities, to implement AIDS awareness campaigns, outreach activities, educational and training and community development programmes.