National Youth Week 2020 commenced yesterday, and will run until May 30, 2020.
Due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, the Ministry of the Presidency, Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport has been forced to suspend most of its programmes and activities that require mass gatherings and physical social interaction.
However, given the significance of National Youth Week, a calendar of activities has been compiled and will be executed virtually, and in accordance with the national guidelines for the prevention and elimination of COVID-19.
“Apart from offering online skills-building initiatives such as the Financial Literacy and Small Business Training, the Ministry has also crafted a programme which seeks to ascertain the impact that this pandemic has had and continues to have on Guyana’s youth population,” Assistant Director of Youth, Ms. Leslyn Boyce noted.
She explained that by utilizing various media platforms, the Department of Youth is gearing up to provide psychosocial support to vulnerable and at-risk youths.
“More specifically, the Department is pursuing collaboration with MissionPsych 592 to provide 24-hour counselling and mentorship services to young people throughout Guyana,” Boyce said.
It was explained that these services will be offered via a customized online application which is currently being tested, as well as phone (text and/or call).
“The MissionPsych 592 is a group which comprises psychologists and social workers. The group has been the beneficiary of funding from the Youth Innovation Programme of Guyana (YIPOG),” Boyce Noted.
Additionally, the Department will also be hosting a number of interactive panel discussions on May 27, 30 and June 3 at 13:00hrs; discussions will be focused on topics such as Entrepreneurship and Employment; Leadership and Life Skills Development; Good Health and Well-being among other topical issues. These sessions will be streamed live on National Communications Network via radio, television and social media, providing the opportunity for young people throughout Guyana to call and join in the dialogue.
“In the meantime, the Department of Youth continues to reach out to other key stakeholders capable of providing the critical support required for our youths to emerge from this pandemic both psychologically and physically healthy,” Boyce noted.
Boyce said that even though this year’s National Youth Week celebrations will not be as jubilant as previous years, it will provide safe outlets for Guyana’s youths to address a myriad of concerns.
The Assistant Director further disclosed that recognizing young people who have done outstanding work in the area of youth development is also key during this period. She explained that the Department of Youth currently has a call for nominations out which allows persons from indigenous village councils, youth, faith-based and community organisations as well as individuals, government and non-governmental organisations to submit nominations to the Department of Youth, the window for nominations closes May 26,2020.
This year, National Youth Week is being observed as part of Guyana’s 54th Independence Anniversary celebrations, under the theme, “Celebrating Guyana’s 54th Independence Anniversary through the lens of Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability.”
Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton posited that the youths of Guyana are resilient, innovative, and very much conscious about the sustainability of all sectors of the country, especially our environment.
“This is why the Department of Youth remains committed to executing programmes and initiatives geared at enabling our young people to realize their true potential,” Dr. Norton said.
The Minister noted that the Department will also celebrate the young people of Guyana by featuring youths who have been excelling in various fields.
Dr. Norton warned that even though COVID 19 continues its wrath globally, Guyanese, particularly young people, must not allow the virus to keep them at a standstill.
“We must fight this virus not only by maintaining social distancing and practicing good hygiene, but by also refusing to allow it to keep us stagnant,” Minister Norton noted.
Minister Norton encouraged all Guyanese to take advantage of the available time by learning new skills and nurturing their talent.
Many of the virtual outreaches being offered by the Department of Youth will continue even after National Youth Week 2020 has ended.
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