With the idea in mind that “suicide prevention is everybody’s business”, Caribbean Voice will soon honour the persons who toil day and night to curb suicide in Guyana when it hosts its El Dorado Awards on August 22.
The awards were recently launched by the New York-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO) and will see advocates, activists and affirmation agents being rewarded for their hard work.
Over the years, the suicide epidemic has been sweeping the nation, but a number of groups have decided to not sit by idly and have been fighting back in their own ways against suicide.
This year’s honourees are made up of individuals and organizations drawn from throughout Guyana and the Diaspora. They will be honoured for activism, advocacy and affirmation efforts based on a number of categories.
Eight awards, which have been named after important Guyanese symbols, landmarks and icons, will be given out this year.
The categories are Lifetime (Pakaraimas Award), Public Service (Kyk-over-al Award), Private Sector (Canje Pheasant), Humanitarian (Victoria Regia Award), Culture (Maticore/Queh Queh Award), Community Building (Umana Yana Award), Business (Greenheart Award) and Youth (Arapaima Award).
But the awards will not only be about honouring persons on the social landscape. According to Caribbean Voice Managing Director Bibi Ahamad, the awards will aim towards building connections between these individuals and organisations and the business and professional community. Further, the awards will foster collaboration and a concerted approach to tackling a number of issues such as suicide, abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse and sex crimes.
“The reality is that there is a plethora of individuals and organizations, local and Diaspora, engaged in making a difference and qualitatively impact the lives of Guyanese, especially the powerless and disadvantaged, while tackling the social issues that negatively affect lives. The El Dorado Awards provide a space to recognize the efforts of those so involved, so that they can connect with each other and begin a conversation that would enhance the collaborative approach within a national framework,” Ahamad said.
Ahamad shared that the awards event will be in the form of a cocktail reception and will have a cultural interlude along with the presentation of awards.
The First Annual El Dorado Awards will be held at Cara Lodge in the Woodbine Room from 3pm to 7pm. Ahamad stressed that a limited number of tickets are being sold at $7,000 each and could be purchased from her. Interested persons are urged to contact Ahamad via email at [email protected] or call 621-6111 or 223-2637.
She further said that the event is being sponsored by members of the business community such as Sueria Manufacturing Incorporated, Metro Office and Community Supplies and Cara Lodge. She said that, through their sponsorships, these businesses have joined the fight against suicide in Guyana.
The news of the awards comes even as Caribbean Voice is preparing to host a national stakeholders’ conference on August 21.
The one-day conference, which is scheduled for the Cara Lodge, is expected to bring together civil society, the private sector, Government and religious communities in one venue to discuss suicide prevention in Guyana. The conference will also examine Guyana’s difficulties in dealing with suicide and is a part of Caribbean Voice’s five-year strategic plan.
Additionally, Caribbean Voice hopes to formulate a final document highlighting the different inputs made during the conference from the stakeholders. Ahamad said that this comprehensive document, once formulated, will be presented to the Government to either input or use as a guide in dealing with suicide.
Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Guyana as the country with the highest estimated suicide for 2012. According to that year’s report, Guyana suffers 44.2 suicides for 100,000 persons per year. This figure is almost double what it was less than 10 years ago.
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