…partners with US University to develop programme in Guyana
On Wednesday and Thursday last, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, met with the faculty at Lesley University and staff of the Margaret Clemons Foundation to explore the possibility of creating training programmes for social service workers in Guyana.
Manickchand is of the opinion that the training programmes, which could include Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes and certificate programmes in counseling and expressive therapies, would help to further professionalise social services in Guyana and would be initially targeted at social service providers working with children and women.
The training programmes would build on cutting edge expressive art therapies approaches in which counselors engage clients in the healing process through the therapeutic use of the arts.
On Wednesday last, Manickchand observed a Lesley University Masters-level course designed to train counselors in expressive art therapy and to address issues of power, privilege, and culture in counseling.
She then joined Lesley University Provost, Martha McKenna; Lesley University Undergraduate Dean, Mary Coleman; other Lesley University faculty; and the president and staff of the Margaret Clemons Foundation in a series of meetings to explore possible options for the design of counselor training programmes in Guyana.
Minister Manickchand described Guyana’s social services and the interests of the Guyana Government in training social service staff.
She also articulated the requirement that any training offered in Guyana be culturally relevant and effectively attend to the needs of Guyana’s citizens.
Lesley University leaders shared the academic expertise that the University could offer to the design and implementation of the training programmes.
Staff of the Margaret Clemons Foundation, who introduced leaders in the Guyana Government to leaders at Lesley University, reiterated that is would continue support of this emerging partnership and other activities that could help to end violence against women and children in Guyana through the arts.
Later in the day, Minister Manickchand met with the President of Lesley University, Joseph Moore, who reconfirmed the University’s commitment to partner with the government of Guyana.
Also in attendance was Marjorie Jones, formerly the Vice Chancellor and Dean of Education at the University of Guyana and now a professor of education at Lesley College. The following day Manickchand, continued conversations with Lesley faculty about the design of training programmes for Guyana’s social service workers.
In particular, she heard from the faculty which helped to develop a similar training programme for counselors in Israel, which now has a 30-year track record of success.
Importantly, the training programme in Israel was designed a train with the trainer model—that is, it prepared alumni going through the programme to become teachers in the programme to train subsequent classes.
Minister Manickchand intends that any training programmes created with Lesley for Guyana’s social service staff also have a train the trainer component so that capacity is built within Guyana to deliver and sustain training for the future.
She also observed workshops offered as part of a conference currently happening at Lesley University focused on “Arts and Activism,” including a session designed to train youth workers to use the arts as a vehicle to help young people develop important social and emotional competencies.
Minister Manickchand subsequently met with Hugh Masakela, a South African artist and civil rights leader.
Both Minister Manickchand and Masakela are being honoured at Lesley’s Arts and Activism conference for their leadership to foster civil rights. On October 15, Minister Manickchand delivered the keynote speech at this conference.
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