The Guyana National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held its End of Year Review and Reception yesterday at the Commission’s office in Queenstown, Georgetown.
Secretary-General of the Commission Ms. Patrice LaFleur in her presentation said that the UNESCO Commission is pleased with the efforts of the Ministry of Education for its financial and other support to the Commission. Also, she said that financial support comes from the UNESCO Headquarters as well as the UNESCO Cluster Office in Kingston, Jamaica.
Some of the highlights for 2019 mentioned by Ms. LaFleur was the planning and execution of two educational workshops held on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for participants from low income communities in Georgetown and New Amsterdam.
She said that during those workshops, emphasis was placed on certain goals which the Commission felt were important to low income communities so that they can advance their thinking and participation to ensure that they are not left behind.
On the level of technical and financial support, Ms. LaFleur said that UNESCO supported with consultation with its office in Kingston, Jamaica, the consultation for Guyana’s national sports policy with the hiring of a consultant from Trinidad and Tobago.
She said that support was also received from Kingston, Jamaica on the National Cultural Policy whereby another consultant was contracted from Jamaica who spent three days working in Guyana.
Moreover, the Secretary-General said that finances were also received from the UNESCO Paris Headquarters to support several projects in Guyana.
The UNESCO Commission comes under the Ministry of Education in Guyana. Minister of Education, Dr. the Hon. Nicolette Henry in her remarks said that the National Commissions are set up by their respective governments in accordance with the Article VII of the UNESCO Constitution.
Minister Henry explained that the National Commissions operate on a permanent basis, for the purpose of associating the government and non-governmental bodies in education, sciences, culture and communication with the work of the organization.
She said, “The Charter of National Commissions stipulates their purpose and functions, their role in the relations with Member States, the services rendered by them to UNESCO, the responsibilities of Member States towards National Commissions and those of UNESCO towards them. Hence the Commission’s Programme will reflect the mandates of UNESCO and the Government of Guyana.”
Moreover, Minister Henry said that the Government of Guyana is pleased to be a member state of UNESCO and is appreciative of its support to the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO.
During the review, several representatives of several initiatives that received support from UNESCO made presentations.
Professor Michael Scott of the University of Guyana spoke about UNESCO’s support towards the launching of the Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning on February 13, 2019.
He said that the initiative is one that allowed for the recognition of the pivotal importance of quality delivery and student success concerned with the issues that affect both teaching and learning.
Representing the Women and Gender Equality Commission was Ms. Diana Swan-Lawrence who said that the Commission convened its first workshop for women leaders in the Regional Democratic Council, Neighbourhood Democratic Council and the Community Development Councils of Region Four in April 2019.
She explained that participants were expected to among other things, understand the framework of gender development, demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in gender planning and evaluation.
The Mother’s Union was another beneficiary of support offered by the UNESCO Commission whereby during this year the union held a woman’s conference in Georgetown in July which was based on UNESCO’s advocacy for women’s rights.
Among the objectives of the conference was to raise awareness and educate participants on issues affecting women, children and families in an effort to address troubling issues highlighted at the conference.
Updates were also given on initiatives such as Puppetry: A viable industry for social change which was presented by Ms. Margaret Lawrence and team. She said that through the grant from UNESCO, Merundoi Inc. was able to enhance its entertainment strategy by introducing puppetry which she said can address issues such as racism and gender issues.
Assistant Director of Sport, Ms. Melissa Dow-Richardson gave an update on the Sports Policy. She said that the draft policy is available to the public and has been accessible online since 2018. She said that the process leading up to having a draft policy recognized that Guyana has 40 active sporting disciplines. She thanked the UNESCO Commission for its support since the finished product will bring ease to the sports community addressing needs of good governance, favouritism and incentives for national and international Guyanese sports men and women.
Updates were given on the creation of an online catalogue and web-portal for the National Archives of Guyana, the National Cultural Policy and Capacity building for adolescents and youths within the Kwakwani Community.
Also present at the event was First Lady, Her Excellency, Ms. Sandra Granger, UNDP Resident Representative to Guyana, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka and UNICEF Country Representative to Guyana, Ms. Sylvie Fouet.