South Rupununi women capitalising on business opportunities

― avenues created through SLED

DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 1, 2019

Women’s groups in the South Rupununi, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region (Region 9) are capitalising on the business opportunities being created by the Coalition Government through the Ministry of Social Protection’s Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme.

SLED provides financial support for entrepreneurial ventures, creates income-generating opportunities, and promotes improved practices in agriculture and livestock ventures, community development through the functioning of cooperatives and encourage successful business practices and enhance the skills of community members.

This year, women groups in Patarinau, Mururanau, Shulinab and Sand Creek villages applied for funding through the initiative. Community Development Officer (CDO), Vincent Henry confirmed that the ministry has approved all the projects. The groups will receive funding of up to $8M each to start their projects.

The Patarinau group project involves cattle rearing. They will receive funds to purchase 30 head of cattle at $70,000 each; build a ranch and construct a building for a snackette equipped with a solar system and freezer, and a water system leading to the facility.

Speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI), one of the members of the Patarinau Women’s Group, Mary Fernandes said they have already organised themselves and through self-help efforts prepared the land where the building will be constructed.

“This will be a great opportunity for the women…It will bring an income to provide for their families because many of them have kids attending the Secondary School at St. Ignatius.”

Henry explained that over at Mururanau, the women applied for funding to purchase a minibus and equipment for a farine factory. The bus will be used to transport their produce to the market.

The Sawariwau women will be venturing into a poultry rearing project to supply chickens to the villagers and the surrounding area. Henry said that women have already identified a building which is equipped with a solar system to power the building and a freezer.

Additionally, the women of Shulinab will be expanding their dried fruit project, while those in Sand Creek will be constructing a shade house and garden to plant various crops and plants.

The SLED initiative is designed to provide support for the expansion of the local economy in communities across the country and to aid small enterprises to stimulate youth employment.

The government allocated $100M for the project in 2017; $150M in 2018 and $250M in 2019. Thus far, over 20 groups have been created and registered under the Cooperatives Act 88:01.

Among projects executed by the groups include poultry, pig, and sheep rearing, garment construction centres, multipurpose complex, block making establishments, shade house cultivation and baking and catering establishments.

Synieka Thorne.

Image: Kennyann Bacchus.