Sophia residents benefit from Housing Ministry’s capacity building workshop

Seven project affected residents of Sophia are undergoing capacity building training offered by the Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) geared at improving their business practices.

The two-day workshop will develop and strengthen the skills of small business owners who were affected by infrastructural works administered under the ministry’s ‘Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme’ (AHUAP).

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP, at the livelihood restoration plan capacity building workshop.

Phase two of the capacity building workshop commenced on Wednesday, and is being conducted at Guyana’s National Library under the AHUAP.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal MP, encouraged the participants to utilise the knowledge offered by the programme to become entrepreneurs.

“The seven of you, at the end of tomorrow, you will be garnered with additional knowledge to put you on the right foot path on embarking on your business venture, making you entrepreneurs, helping you to come up with your own models of the type of business it is that you want to embark on. It is not just about opening a shop and you buy and sell; we also want you to think outside the box, we also want you to grow with that.”

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP, and affected persons at the livelihood restoration plan capacity building workshop.

The ministry in March, partnered with the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce’s Small Business Bureau (SBB), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Research and Extension institute (NARIE) to train the first batch of 20 persons hailing from Sophia, who were cash crop farmers and small business. 

The SBB and GRA will facilitate training for the second batch of affected persons. Participants will gain knowledge in financial management, record keeping, entrepreneurial awareness, small business development, business regularisation and tax advisory.

CH&PA Deputy Director of Community Development, Donell Bess-Bascom said the programme will provide the participants with the skills for financial development.

CH&PA Deputy Director of Community Development, Donell Bess-Bascom

“We expect that this initiative will equip persons who are benefiting from the training to build their capacity to save. It will enable the business households to invest in their business so as to ensure and maintain their livelihoods, and overall improving their economic conditions.”

SBB training facilitator, Ruschell Underwood reiterated the bureau’s commitment to business support and development.

“The Small Business Bureau is committed to supporting small business development in Guyana. This is exemplified by the numerous programmes offered by the Bureau such as financial development support to businesses. This session today, is also part of our support programme where you, the residents of Sophia, through this collaborative effort will be exposed to our financial … and record keeping training to maximise your business knowledge, skills and overall growth for your businesses. This is also made in an effort to ensure the information shared by our team is utilised to benefit not only your business, but your community as a whole,” she said.

Participant receiving training.

Additionally, DPI spoke with several participants of the training who expressed gratitude for the initiative.

Dellwood Greaves said he is glad the government is concerned and is making an effort to compensate for the inconvenience caused.  

“The government is showing that they understand what the small business man is going through, and they are taking steps to reimburse. It is a good sign. It may not be close to what you would’ve lost, but the fact that they have taken steps to reimburse is a good sign.”

Another participant, Dawn Ince said, “I am grateful for the opportunity, and I am just looking forward to see what else they have in store for us.”

Meanwhile, the AHUAP programme has three main components;

  • Aims at facilitating adequate, affordable and sustainable housing. The programme is set to disburse home improvement subsidies to low-income families and construct 250 core homes.
  • It focuses on consolidating existing schemes with an even greater focus placed on upgrading community infrastructure.
  • The programme also addresses the livelihood restoration plan for citizens whose livelihoods were affected by project works are entitled to receive support based on the fact that their livelihoods were affected.