Georgetown, Guyana – (January 10, 2017) The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) through funding to the tune of US$15,000 from the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) has commenced the implementation of the pilot Youth Engagement for Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) Project in three regions across Guyana. The project, which is geared towards promoting disaster risk management awareness among youths while ensuring their active involvement in DRM, will focus on a total of three secondary schools in Demerara- Mahaica (Region Four), East Berbice- Corentyne (Region Six) and Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).

The first implementation is being done with 30 Grades Seven to 10 students from the St. Ignatius Secondary School, Region Nine from January 9 to 12, 2018. These students represent 15 indigenous villages in Region 9. The St. Cuthbert’s Secondary School in Demerara-Mahaica and Vryman’s Erven Secondary School in East Berbice- Corentyne are the other schools that will benefit from this project, which is expected to run throughout 2018.

The training places focus on the training of facilitators, an in-school training programme with selected participants and the implementation of a micro-project.

Acting Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, in an invited comment, said that the two agencies recognised that much education and awareness can be achieved through the tutelage of youths and as such, the idea for the training was born.

Mr. Craig said that it is the expectation that those exposed to the training can become agents of change for the organisation as Guyana, the Caribbean and the rest of the world continue to grapple with the effects of climate change, global warming and an increase in natural disasters.

“As it relates to the conducting the disaster risk management activities in the schools, it is a part of the bottom- up approach to promote disaster risk management across the various regions in the country. We believe that children are important in this process because they are agents of change and not just change but constant change. So we are targeting them with the hope that they can take that education home and share it to effect change in the way we do things including the disposal of our garbage and treatment of our environment,” he said.

Coming out of the training sessions, Mr. Craig said that each of the targeted schools is expected to implement a disaster risk management project at the end of their training.

He noted too that while the project is a pilot one, there is an intention to train volunteers from the Commission based in the ten Administrative Regions in the various areas so that they can become trainers in this area.

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