– 45 children catered for

Eight residents of One Mile, Wismar and neighbouring communities of Linden are to be employed at the recently commissioned Early Childhood Development Centre.

The centre is one of six early childhood pilot projects co-funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government and implemented by Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF). It will provide care and educational services to 45 children under the age of five.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, in brief remarks at the commissioning, said the facility will be of immense value to the community, making it possible for parents, especially mothers to seek employment and increase their household incomes.

“The good life that we have talked and on which we successfully campaigned to become the government is not an esoteric story; its real and it’s not only for big people or matured people it’s for everybody and the little children can also enjoy the good life in the context of a good environment in which they can learn. I think in this simple project we can put parents’ minds at ease. They are assured that their children are in an environment that allows them to learn, develop their motor and other skills while their parents are free to do seek out training or job opportunities and make themselves productive citizens.”news 20180729 1

He also strongly advised the regional administration and other stakeholders to take good care of facilities given their importance to the communities they will serve.

Minister Jordan added:

“It’s little children who will be housed here so we don’t expect the roof to be falling in or the light fixtures to be disappearing … if the regional administration does not take full control of the facilities in terms of the security and monitoring the centre, it will deteriorate if the people we put to administer it don’t take pride and joy in this facility and endure that it remains in the pristine condition in which we are handing it over.”

Regional Executive Officer, Orin Gordon said systems are already in place for the construction of a security post, a management structure and the proper maintenance and management of the facility.

The construction of the One Mile ECDC commenced on September 4, 2017, and was completed on March 16, 2018. The centre was built at a cost of $39,483,782 by Faldhari Singh and Son Contracting Services, and the Design and Supervision consultant for the project was E&A Consultants.

The 3,200 square foot facility will accommodate infants to school-agers, eight caregivers/teachers and an administrator. This includes four care areas/classrooms, a sleeping area, sickbay, a staff room, an administrative area, storage spaces, a kitchenette, a laundry room, sanitary facilities, and an outdoor play area for the children.

In tandem with the construction of the building, eight young adults were trained as early childhood educators and successfully graduated from the programme. They will serve as teachers and caregivers at the centre. One of the graduates will attend the University of Guyana and receive their Level 1 certification in Early Childhood Development and will be expected to return to the One Mile Grove ECDC to serve as administrator.

The project is a collaborative effort between The Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment (YEU) in the Ministry of the Presidency; The Board of Industrial Training (BIT); and The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Unit of the Ministry of Social Protection.

According to former Presidential Advisor on Youth Development, Aubrey Norton, the programme was created following research and conceptualization of ways to provide inexpensive to possibly free early childhood education for the children in the community while at the same time releasing their parents to seek employment and providing jobs for persons within the respective communities

“It was aimed at creating employment for young persons in a particular category. We had done some research across the country and found that there were lots of young people with teaching potential, who had three and four CXCs, but they did not have math and English and so the decision was taken to train them and to have them involved across the country in all six centres. There would be nine persons trained for each. The hope is also that those young persons will go back to school,” Norton said.

He added, “from the batch, we have taken about 12 of them who are enrolled at the University of Guyana and we have organised scholarships for them. The hope is that every year, two of them will go on and improve their qualifications and become professional teachers.”

According to Youth Empowerment Advisor, the participants were also trained in leadership as a means of improving the condition of their communities.

Basic Needs Trust Fund is the flagship development programme under the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. For twenty-five years, the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Guyana office has been working to address poverty reduction by providing access to basic infrastructure and services in rural and urban communities, across the Caribbean. BNTF has completed close to 600 projects since 1992 and has 47 projects planned for its ninth cycle. This new cycle will focus primarily on projects related to livelihoods enhancement and human capacity development.