Georgetown, Guyana (October 15, 2017) Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally, today encouraged the 92 graduates of the Ninth Module One Youth Leadership Training Programme to take up frontline leadership. Minister Ally gave this charge at the programme’s Closing Ceremony held at the Madewini Training Centre, which has recently undergone a $40M renovation and now has the capacity to house 210 students. A new girl’s dorm was constructed, along with two staff quarters. The boy’s dorm, four staff quarters, mess hall and the lecture hall have all been refurbished, allowing better living conditions for students and staff.

Speaking to the recent batch of graduates, Minister Ally said, “Now that you are equipped with the knowledge, the skills, etcetera, you have to now make good of applying them. I charge you to be visible in your organisation, in your community, in your region and, ultimately, in your country… Be part of community development groups. Subscribe to frontline leadership – I mean move forward and be recognised. Give leadership, don’t take a back seat. Use your communication skills to proffer your vision for success.”

Advisor on Youth Empowerment within the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Aubrey Norton said that the programme seeks to give youth a professional voice through which they can impact their communities. “This programme is in keeping with the National Youth Policy, which has as its priority the training of young people so that they can represent themselves in communities. It is a fact that we sometimes take too long to train young people and by the time they arrive in a [professional] position, they have little or no training. This programme is an attempt to change that,” he said.

Mr. Norton also said that the graduates must now actively work on ending some of the problems Guyana’s youth face. “You would agree that we cannot take young people out of the problem they are in if they are no youth leaders to do it. Therefore, the task devolves on you to go out there, work with young people, and help us to solve the many problems [they] face. The best person to deal with the youth is the youth. So, I will urge you to give of your best,” he said.

The programme, which is coordinated, and managed by Mr. Norton, is divided into two Modules. Module One introduced candidates to the basics of good leadership, management, decision making, and event planning. Module Two will offer a more in depth instruction of Module One’s syllabus.

Senior Training and Education Officer, Mr. Ronald Austin Jr. said that the programme was birthed as a solution to feedback from various youth leaders across the country, who identified a need for direction in order to make a lasting impact. “We discerned that there is a need for guidance among youth leaders with excellent potential and [absolutely] brilliant vision with honourable intentions. It’s just that they needed some kind of guidance to enhance their knowledge and skills,” he said.

Heavily impacted by the content of the programme, New Amsterdam graduate, Mr. Lawrence Cliff said his biggest takeaway was learning the difference between a leader and a manager. “Mr. Norton told us… a leader does not [apply] force. He [applies] influence, basic skills, and tactics [whereas] a manager [applies] force to get work done… I am planning to go back to my community and influence my peers… to come and be [leaders],” he said.

Speaking to the personal transformation that the programme has afforded him, Linden graduate, Mr. Orlando Roland, said that he is now emboldened to take risks. “As a leader, I’ve always wanted to launch out… I used to see the limitations, but this programme has [inspired] me to go out [and] launch out into the deep because as a leader we must take risks… we must go forward… the sky is the limit,” he said.

Linden graduate, Ms. Luela Figueira said that what Guyanese youth need the most from their leaders is a listening ear. “I believe [that] if they see someone that listens to them and [takes] their opinions and their feelings and experience[s]… and [in turn gives] them something that they really need… their more likely to [rally behind] that person… If we are fostered correctly right now, we have more of a fighting chance to succeed,” she said.

Since its start in 2016, the Youth Leadership Training Programme, with focuses on the development of leadership skills and policy making, and literacy and numeracy, has trained over 600 young people across all administrative regions of Guyana. The closing ceremony featured inspirational song and dance performances from the graduates.

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