UNDP’s HIV/AIDS Initiative Programme ends
Performance of Guyana team highly rated
By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
June 1, 2003

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THE third and final phase of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) ‘Caribbean Leadership for Results’ (HIV/AIDS Initiative) Programme has just been completed, and the performance of the Guyana team of 49 has been highly rated among the seven participating regional countries.

Guyana held its final three-day In-country Workshop last week, from Sunday May 18 to 20 at Lake Mainstay Resort, Essequibo, and on May 21, the local Group of 11 Change Agents and 38 Facilitators, held a presentation at the Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal, at which they replicated and showcased what was taught them over the last five months.

It was the last of three workshops in `Leadership for Results’ which saw scores of Caribbean nationals being trained in the broad aspects of `Emotional Intelligence’ Methodologies.

`Emotional Intelligence’ has to do with the way a leader handles his emotions and the emotions of others, with the aim of effecting ‘resonant leadership’ - a prerequisite for motivating positive results and/or behaviour change for the better.

Commenting on Guyana’s performance at the conclusion of the first In-country Workshop at Lake Mainstay, Dr. Michael Mc. Elhenie, Consultant from Teleos Leadership Institute, Philadelphia asserted: “I feel extremely good. There’s a warm place in my heart for what the people of Guyana have embarked upon. I would say that so far, this is the most successful programme, because of the depth of understanding that Eddy and I feel the participants have received from this workshop.”

He described the experience here in Guyana as being unique in that it very much highlighted the importance of relationships to the work that’s being done.

“We’ve seen incredible depths of relationships…It’s [the training undergone] laying further ground for the seeds that you are,” he said, adding, “I think it’s true of the Guyana culture to be in relationships - to work in communities to solve problems, and I think the solutions we found here have reflected that.”

Mc Elhenie also noted a very high level of participation from the Change Agents and other local leaders drawn from diverse groupings, and admitted being impressed with the commitment, dynamism and determination to work to make the difference in the lives of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and to help roll back the epidemic.

He added: “I think people are going to return to their communities and connect at a deeper level, which certainly is inspiring to the people here, but more importantly, is going to be infectious and is going to cause some benefit to the society.”

Senior Consultant, Dr. Eddie Mwelwa was of the view that what was started through the programme would ‘energise’ people to look at aspects of their culture that would interfere with productive development.”

Born in Zambia, and on his first visit to here, he said Guyana was very much like home to him.

Phase I of UNDP’s five month Leadership for Results training programme commenced with a five-day Workshop for 50 regional participants in Port-of Spain Trinidad in January, and two follow up In-Country Workshops in the months of March and May. The countries involved in the five-month initiative are Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, the Dominican Republic and St. Kitts/Nevis.

Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy (at right) in discussion with UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Thomas Gass (third from left) and Teleos Institute Consultants, Drs. Michael Mc Elhenie and Eddy Mwelwa.
Topics covered included: The basic competencies of Emotional Intelligence; the Leadership Repertoire; the Dynamics of Effective Change; Project Development Benefits; Project Temperature Taking; Smart Goals; Planning Matrix; Responsibility Charting; the Dynamic Enquiry Process and Envisioning a Country scenario in relation to HIV/AIDS epidemic among others.

The participating countries held In-country Workshops, the first of which had as its trainers, Consultants from Teleos Leadership Institute, Philadelphia. Dr. Michael Mc Elhenie, Executive Coach and Consulting Organisational Psychologist, and Dr. Eddy Mwelwa, Senior Consultant.

At that second round of training, in each of the countries, other stakeholders were brought on board for training. They were drawn from among the ranks of advocates from government, civil society, the private sector, Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, and key vulnerable groups with skills and the opportunity to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS through strengthened, a coordinated multi-sectoral response with pro-active leadership at its core.

The third workshops in the host countries were conducted under the guidance of the initial team of Change Agents. The Guyana team comprised: Dr. Brian O’Toole and Ms. Kala Seegopaul of Varqua Foundation; Ms. Margo Singh - UNDP (Guyana); William Skeete - University of Guyana; Jimmy Bhojedat of Life Line Counselling Services; Winston Beresford - Private Sector; Lorna Mc Pherson - Family Health Education; Shirley Thomas - Journalists Against HIV/AIDS (Guyana); Earle Waldron - Counsellor G+; Deborah Succes Hall - Counsellor GUM Clinic; and Dimitri Nicholson - Youth Challenge International.

Over the last several weeks, three months, the Change Agents worked alongside the 38 local Facilitator to conduct Action Learning Projects in several Regions countrywide. The group also conducted HIV/AIDS Awareness Workshops with three pilot schools in Georgetown - Christ Church Secondary School; Richard Ishmael and Alleyne’s High School.

The team was heartened at the enthusiasm and high level of performance of the students from the schools involved in the programme, and especially grateful to the Head Teachers and teachers for their cooperation.

Unfortunately, because of the suspension of classes leading up to the end of the Easter Term, the Awareness Programmes have had to be put on hold until later.

The UNDP Change Agents and Facilitators have also acknowledged the cooperation of the Management and Staff of Guysuco’s Blairmont and Rose Hall Estates The group is particularly grateful to Mr. N. Hakh and Golden Fleece Rice Investments - both of Essequibo; Mr. Chris Fernandes of Bryden and Fernandes Ltd; Mr. Lowe of Demerara Power Company Limited and Mr. D. Fernandes of Bounty Farm Limited, Georgetown for their financial contributions.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, Mr. Thomas Gass, UNDP’s Resident Representative delivered the Welcome and Opening Remarks and gave an Overview of the `Leadership for Results Initiative’, in which he stressed the need for strong leadership at all levels to meet the goal of reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic which is overwhelming nations.

UNDP officials are of the view that the HIV/AIDS epidemic will not be halted soon enough without outstanding leadership teams, whether in Government, the UN system, or civil society. Those teams must be aligned in their mission, their values, the strategy and how to implement it together, they concurred.

Wednesday’s presentation at the Ocean View Convention Centre included:

· Lessons learnt from the Leadership Programme

· Results and outcomes of their Action-Learning Projects.

· Ideas for wider application of the approach

· Suggestions for the National response to HIV/AIDS

· Open Discussion: Questions and Answers

Among the invitees were representatives of Diplomatic Missions and key government functionaries.

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