Guyana has been putting in place a number of measures to accommodate the growing influx of Venezuelans. One of the latest moves has been a
tactical partnership between the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund [UNICEF] and the Regional Democratic Council [RDC] of Region Four which will cater to the birth registration of Venezuelan migrants.
This partnership was brought to fruition through the recent inking of an agreement.
UNICEF also signed letters of partnership and exchange in advancing its work with Regions One and Four. The agreement will see the Region Four RDC working with a number of Non Governmental Organisations [NGOs].
At a press conference to announce the collaboration, UNICEF’s Representative, Ms. Sylvia Fouet, said that she was happy with the level of collaboration that her organisation has been able to establish with a number of organisations.
In fact, she noted that ensuring that births are registered among the Venezuelan migrants is important even as moves are made by UNICEF to expand its partnership to foster child protection.
Representatives of a number of partnering organisations also attended the press conference. Among them were Colin Marks, Coordinator of Help and Shelter; Josephine Whitehead, Director of Legal Aid Guyana; and Ayo Dalgety-Den of Blossom Inc.
“I am very excited because with this collaboration we have partners representing Government and Civil Society and the response is all-around child protection but more in particular, the reference service systems which would be done primarily between Regions One and Four and Blooms Inc. will do some work in Regions One, Two and Seven…” she said.
According to Fouet, with the strengthening of collaboration among various partners she is confident that the organisation’s goals and objectives would be achieved. She said too that the Region Four RDC has been leading the charge among the RDCs in terms of advancing the response to the Venezuelan migrant issues and with regards to addressing child protection matters which, she believes, will promote a more mutually beneficial relationship.
She added that with a number of other stakeholders, among them being Help and Shelter, Legal Aid and Blossom Inc., she remains confident that the lack of an effective and efficient response to the various challenges would be something of the past.
Marks, Help and Shelter Coordinator, commenting on his organisation’s collaboration said that the NGO is excited to be on board.
He said that it has been working over the years with many of the abused and vulnerable in society.
“In this particular case we would be focusing on children in the two target communities – Region One and Region Four. Also, we have always been advocating for the implementation of the laws that govern the response to these particular groups so we are excited to be working again in this particular area,” he said.
Legal AID Director, Josephine Whitehead, echoed similar sentiments, adding that her organisation has a long history of working along with UNICEF.
“We have had a long and strong relationship with UNICEF so we are happy to be working with them again…we are looking forward to being able to extend our reach beyond the places that we normally serve which are Georgetown, Anna Regina, New Amsterdam and Fort Wellington,” Whitehead said.
Managing Director of Blossom Inc. Ayo Dalgety-Den, added that her organisation is very excited with the collaboration, noting that it forms part of her organisation’s objective in advancing child advocacy centres.
“We are very excited to be working with UNICEF and we would be primarily working in the Child Advocacy centres. So we would be supporting the establishment of the centre in Region One and also UNICEF is supporting us to strengthen our centres in Regions Two and Seven in order for us to serve the wider community,” she said.
The Blossom Inc. Managing Director divulged, too, “We would be looking overall at abuse. Core social work in Mabaruma, Region One is part of what we would be doing.”
Meanwhile, Regional Health Officer [RHO] of Region Four, Dr. Quincy Jones, commenting on the collaboration, said that his department, and by extension the region, continues to benefit significantly.
“We at RDC Region Four are very happy to be collaborating with UNICEF to provide adequate response to sexual assault cases especially to children both in Region Four and our partnering sister Region, Region One, particularly at Mabaruma,” he shared.
The RHO noted, too, that such collaborations will aid, significantly, in addressing a number of child related challenges that are currently confronting the country.
Even as he made reference to the various stakeholders coming on board, Dr. Jones stressed the importance of forging a public-private partnership, which, he said, is important if holistic gains are to materialise.
Dr. Jones went on to express appreciation to UNICEF for taking the lead in the project. At this juncture too he divulged that his Regional Executive Officer [REO], Ms. Pauline Lucas, and her counterpart in Region One, along with their teams, are determined to have the project executed successfully.
“We will basically be gathering evidence for the judicial process and ensuring that our health care partners can respond to such a very sensitive issue in a manner that is in keeping with best standards,” Dr. Jones added.
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