Georgetown, Guyana – (September 6, 2018) First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger is collaborating with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Guyana to advance youth development through creating opportunities for young people to develop their capacity in Technology and robotics. The collaboration comes as a result of a new initiative to be launched by the United Nations (UN) and UNICEF.

The initiative, called the “Young Peoples Agenda” is a part of the United Nations new commitment to working with and for young people. It is also a part of a UN Youth Strategy and Generation Unlimited Partnership that will be launched at the UN Headquarters, New York at the 73rd UN General Assembly later this month. The First Lady will be attending the said forum.

Mrs. Granger met with UNICEF’s Resident Representative Ms. Sylvie Fouet today for a special meeting to discuss the First Lady’s involvement in the area of youth development relative to Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) and robotics, and ways in which her work in that area can be boosted through the UNICEF’s collaboration.

UNICEF, in a bid to meet its responsibility to youth, is building partnerships dedicated to supporting young people in the second decade of life – a young people’s agenda focused on every young person being in school, learning, training or employment by 2030.

The initiative will particularly be focused on the most vulnerable, including girls, the poorest and those with disabilities. It will also focus on: active citizenship, learning, employability and personal empowerment.

Ms. Fouet said the “Young Peoples Agenda” is aimed at preparing youth during their second decade (10-20 years old) to be able to access new jobs, since in coming years there will be more new jobs, many of which will be technological.

“It will be a digital world,” she said noting “it will be robots and it is how we can bring that to Guyana.”

The UNICEF Guyana Representative said the vision is to create a mini Silicon Valley in Guyana. Silicon Valley is a region in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California which serves as the global centre for high technology and innovation.

“We are working on how we can create opportunities for young people,” Ms.Fouet said while adding “a part of it is to find opportunities to give second chances to those who have been exposed to pregnancy or challenges of violence and also see how we can get young people to acquire new skills and a part of that is how we look in terms of digital technology and information and I know a part of the journey with the first lady is to have a space, maybe an ICT park or a training centre, where we could have those persons who may not have even had a first chance or a second chance – to prepare for business.”

Over the years, the First Lady has been collaborating with several organisations to host Robotic camps throughout the country and according to Ms. Fouet that work will be enhanced through collaboration with UNICEF. “It is to also scale up this initiative” she said.

The UNICEF Resident Representative said too that efforts will be made to increase business incubation centres and seek funding for young people who are talented, to turn their ideas into businesses. The First Lady met with Ms. Fouet during the first quarter of this year and has since partnered with UNICEF to address the issue of teenage pregnancy.

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