55,000 Amerindians targeted in Amazon poverty alleviation

Guyana Chronicle
June 25, 1999

GUYANA and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have agreed the details in Phase Two of the Amazon pact which targets Amerindians.

Under the arrangemts, access to basic education and reliable water supply for the indigenous people should increase by 50 per cent in another three years.

And deaths from diarrhoeal and parasitic diseases, are expected to fall by 80 per cent while sanitation services improve by 15 per cent through the 625,000 pounds (Sterling) five-year project.

The `Escuela Neuva' (New School) strategy, first developed in Colombia, will be utilised to meet the learning objective.

A team of British experts are coming to sink wells in Amerindian communities and Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) will lay the pipelines to bolster water distribution.

This programme, the second to be brokered with UNICEF and under way since January, is for the direct benefit of 10,000 people in Regions One (Barima/Waini), Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).

"The success of the project...depends on the ongoing commitment of the Governmenet...to support a participatory process of development in the Amazon Region," a memorandum said.

"Given the stated commitment of the Government in agreements with UNICEF and general policy and planning papers, such as the National Development Plan (Strategy) or NDS, the risk of Government support being withdrawn is low," it added.

The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs is the executing agency for the plan which is aimed at general transformation of the living conditions of Amerindians and eradication of poverty among a population of some 55,000, particularly women and children.

Shulinab, Potarinau, Rupertee and Surama, all in Region Nine, benefited from the pilot scheme in which the target number was 15,000.

In this extension, there will be a capacity strengthening drive for the Amerindian Affairs Ministry in the Office of the President (OP).

A programme co-ordinator was identified to manage the enterprise and other ventures to be undertaken will include technical training to improve planning, coordinating and monitoring skills of key Ministry personnel.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) will also be coursed in malaria detection/prevention, maternal nutrition, promotion of breast feeding and reproductive health, with special emphasis on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and immunisation.


Day 1 - Signing of agreement

Day 6 - Full resumption of work

Day 10 - Appointment of tribunal

Day 70 - Submission of arbitration award

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples