UG launches “UG Cares” App to provide relief to flood-affected citizens

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The University of Guyana (UG), in collaboration with Unity.GY has launched an App titled “UG Cares” which seeks to match the needs of flood-affected persons to those who can meet those needs.

The App, which has the capacity to boost national disaster and response management systems, also caters for persons who may need counselling, educational and other forms of support.

The App, which is the first of its kind in Guyana, was launched last month.

The UG Cares initiative was birthed out of the desire to serve frontline workers in 2020 when Guyana began battling the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to frontline workers, UG pensioners, staff and students who were experiencing challenges were provided with various forms of support, including counselling services.

And following the recent floods which devastated several communities across Guyana, the University decided to partner with Unity.GY to initiate the “UG Cares” App which would now cater to provide material, educational, psychological, and emotional support systems to citizens across the country.

A team consisting of twenty-two UG Social Work Students, led by Lecturers Mrs. Shonnel Enoe and Mrs. Debbie Hopkinson from within the Department of Sociology, Social Work Unit, on July 21 journeyed to Kwakwani in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to distribute food hampers and other hygienic products to residents who were affected by the recent floods.

The flood relief exercise was conducted under the auspices of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE) and UG Cares in collaboration with the Guyana Defense Force (GDF).

Through a combination of personal donations and fund-raising activities by Second, Third, and Fourth-year Social Work students, contributions from members of the Business Community, and key Ministries, the project garnered items worth approximately two million ($2,000,000) dollars. A total of one hundred and fifty (150) hampers were prepared and distributed to families in the community. Each hamper was worth approximately $9,500 which included grocery items as well as cleaning supplies. In addition to the hampers, additional contributions of over one hundred (100) 10kg of rice, milk, chowmein, detergents and clothing were distributed at the shelters and among other affected residents within the community.

Additionally, the Social Work Unit, through PACE/UG Cares Hotline Service remains ready to provide psycho-social support and referrals to social services for specialised assistance with socio-economic/mental health needs of those affected. Further, student volunteers are eager to provide voluntary service where needed in collaboration with key partners such as the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

UG Cares Helpline Numbers – Powered by GTT are: 615-7829, 615-9727, 616-2576, 615-9730, 615-9482, 615-9704, 615-9990, 638-4394.

“UG Cares” was set up last year as a rapid response community relief intervention system for Faculty and students severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then deployed to alumni, civil society organisations, and other Government agencies that requested psycho-social and technical support as well as scientific inputs into emergency decision-making.