YCG was founded in 1988 by a group of Canadian volunteers and sponsors with the initiative to start a field project in Guyana. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) endorsed the start-up capital and the first project consisted of Guyanese, Canadian and Australian volunteers. The project offered the volunteers an opportunity for personal development in global issues, leadership and problem solving through a range of diverse projects in hinterland communities. Out of these experiences grew what became known as the International Field programme and the start-up of Youth Challenge Guyana.
Current Programs at YCG
Right now there are several programs at YGC contributing to the development of youth and communities in Guyana. Since establishment YCG has exposed thousands of youths in all ten administrative regions of Guyana to challenging and worthwhile community service projects, ranging from health, literacy, environmental research, community infrastructure and HIV/AIDS/STI education through the following Programmes & Projects:
The Health Programme
The strategy for this programme includes the development of an Adolescent Health Unit, the expansion of services by a Mobile team and the planning and implementation of a range of gender focused projects including the HIV/AIDs project.
The HIV/AIDS project
This USAID funded project has worked with Youth Challenge Guyana many years in three different areas: A&B (Abstinence and Being Faithful), Other Prevention (like condom use) and Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). All activities are implemented in four regions of Guyana (regions 1,3,4,and 8) targeting specific groups: Amerindians, miners, sex workers, out of school youths, youth in school, and the general population in underserved communities.
The Education Programme
YCG contributes to the development of more and better education in Guyana by a range of projects. The goal of the programme is to improve the access to education by addressing the shortage of teachers in the hinterland regions of Guyana through the placement of Guyanese volunteer teachers.
The National Volunteer Teachers’ Project
The aim of this project is to address the shortage of teachers in the hinterland and river-rain schools as well as fill the gaps when regular teachers are absent from school attending training, meetings, workshops etc. The core concept is to reduce the loss of contact time (teaching time) in the hinterland schools by recruiting, selecting, training, managing and supporting volunteer teachers. About 70 volunteer teachers and more than 1900 pupils have directly benefitted from the National Volunteer Teachers’ Programme.
Life Skills & Livelihood Programme:
The goal of the Life Skills & Livelihood programme is to increase employment opportunities for unemployed, at-risk youths and women in the community.
Youth Employability and Leadership Project
This project enhances interactions among youth and government, civil society and the private sector by developing awareness and skills in mediation, negotiation and the peaceful transformation of conflict. The project equipped 74 young people from disadvantaged communities and different ethnic backgrounds with conflict transformation and employability skills. 45% of the trained youths were able to find employment within one month after completing the training.
Youth Challenge Guyana has some amazing projects currently taking place all with the aims of improved health, education, and employment opportunities with the Guyanese youth and community. I have yet to discuss The Women’s Entrepreneurship, I will leave you in suspense until then, and that project deserves an entire blog post of its own 🙂