A report that analyses the state of children and women in Guyana was handed over to the government today. It was compiled by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection.
UNICEF Representative in Guyana, Ambassador Marianne Flach presented the report to First Lady, Sandra Granger and Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence.
Information for the report was gathered from all ten administrative regions in Guyana and will help guide social programmes up to 2021.
Minister Lawrence noted that the report comes at an opportune moment following the just concluded week of activities held in commemoration of child protection week.
She said it will be critical in mapping strategies to enhance the wellbeing of women and children in Guyana. “It focuses on the possible cause of the problem along with an assessment of the data and the bottleneck and barriers that have to be surmounted,” the Minister stated.
According to Lawrence, the situation analysis of children and women sets the way forward for the development and implementation of strategic developmental plans and programmes for women and children. She said it would allow the Ministry of Social Protection to work with precision as it shows a vivid picture of what is taking place across the country.
“With this information and the demographics outlined therein we have directives that can give us and guide us to those areas that need to be emphasised in order to make significant inroads,” Lawrence explained.
The social protection minister is advocating for a multi-sectorial approach in order to effectively tackle the issues facing both women and children in Guyana. The Minister stated that, “the information in this document must be shared, disseminated and used by all stakeholders in collaboration … stamp out the ills that are in our society.”
Acknowledging that poverty and the absence of relevant policies and programmes contribute to the abuse of children and women, Lawrence said that for 2017, special focus would be placed on domestic violence, child abuse, teenage pregnancies, child labour and juvenile rehabilitation.
“We have to reinforce our training and knowledge base, our curriculum and other alternative ways of dealing with our children who are in conflict with law,” the Minister stated.
First Lady Sandra Granger in thanking UNICEF for compiling the report noted the paucity of data on issues affecting human lives, particularly those of Guyanese women and children. “In this age of technology, Guyana cannot afford to lag behind not only in the compilations but also in the dissemination of data,” the First Lady said.
She added that the analysis will guide Guyana’s actions in seeking to address burning issues such as domestic violence and violence against the person, unemployment, health, trafficking in persons and suicide.
UNICEF Representative, Marianne Flach said that the analysis would be used to guide UNICEF’s country programmes from 2017 to 2021. Safety and justice, lifelong learning and social inclusion and child right monitoring are among the areas of focus. “We will scale up our focus on child protection to ensure that violence, abuse and neglect of children are sufficiently addressed” Flach said.
According to Flach, over the next five years, UNICEF will continue to partnership with Guyana to support national strategy plans on equity, children with disability and the hinterland. (GINA)