Residents in hinterland, poor and remote communities are now expected to benefit from improved and increased internet access and telecommunications services through the Hinterland E-Services, E-Access Project.
This programme will be executed under the US$17M Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) and managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Department of Public Information (DPI) has reported.
According to Public Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes, the ultimate goal is to improve telecommunications and internet access in communities and more so, to bring services to communities that are without.
The Minister explained the project has the solar panel and training components and also entails topics such as steps to using a computer, how to send email, create a Facebook page, among others.
During a meeting with the regional administration in Lethem on February 15, 2018, concerns were raised by Region Nine Chairman, Brian Allicock that when computers are distributed, there is limited to no training provided and the devices are often not utilised in many instances.
According to DPI, Minister Hughes assured that basic and advanced training will be conducted under the GRIF-funded project.
There are numerous possibilities for families to communicate, the minister highlighted, citing the example of parents being able to contact their children who may be in residential schools and residents in far-flung areas being able to contact relatives in Georgetown or even in other countries.
Minister Hughes pointed to the benefits to be accrued by the economy, education, health and importantly entrepreneurship, as a result of improved internet access.
“Improved and increased internet access to any individual or any population has a direct effect on the functioning of the country, your Gross National Product and that is because it allows individuals to benefit from learning opportunities. Distance learning in the areas of health, there is telemedicine.”
Minister Hughes and her team which included Chairman of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) Floyd Levi, Director of Community Development and Social Management, Phillip Walcott of the NDMA, Outreach Coordinator Donnella Collison and Technical Officer, Catherine Martin of the Public Telecommunications Ministry conducted a three-day outreach in several communities in the region and Fairview in Region Eight.