Helping to meet the challenge of youth

Guyana Chronicle
June 22, 1999

THE latest batch of young people in the ambitious Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG) scheme is about to embark on this year's project, the 16th programme here.

The YCG mission statement says its vision "is to foster youth development and community development."

"Our mission, through the responsible collaboration of local communities and Youth Challenge participants, and with the support of government, NGO's (non-government organisations) and Youth Challenge International partners, is to act as a catalyst for implementing locally identified projects", the statement adds.

YCG says it offers young people from Guyana an opportunity for personal development in global issues, leadership skills and problem solving experience.

It also "encourages the transfer of these new skills and understanding into a positive civic action in home communities of each participant."

Youth Challenge has since 1990 been promoting international cooperation and understanding through "dynamic living and working exchanges between people and cultures of different nations."

YCG, based in Georgetown with partners in Australia, Canada and Costa Rica, combines community development with health education and environmental research in adventurous projects conducted by international teams of volunteers between 18 and 25 years and led by group leaders.

Other organisations here have also put on equally ambitious schemes aimed at helping young people shape careers and generally better prepare them for more fruitful lives.

But programmes like the YCG scheme, which feature exposure to the interior of the country and emphasise youth and community development, seem to be more in line with the needs of this young nation whose future is so tied up with its still to be exploited hinterland.

Youth Challenge has to date participated in projects in all 10 administrative regions of Guyana and this year's programme continues the emphasis in this direction.

The 13 young Guyanese in the 1999 project are to be joined by 28 Canadians and two Australians on assignments in rural, urban and remote areas of the country, alongside Amerindian and coastland communities.

The participants will work on efforts as diverse as constructing community infrastructure, doing environmental work with the Guyana Forestry Commission, and conducting education and awareness programmes in the areas of HIV/AIDS, health and literacy.

The group is also expected to facilitate a youth conference to promote life skills, leadership and personal growth.

We salute the determination of the organisers in keeping the scheme going, especially considering that the programmes depend heavily on the generosity of the business community and sponsors and that Challengers have to help raise funds for their stints.

Guyana needs more such efforts to help its young people gear for national development and to meet the challenges of the new century.

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples