The Education Ministry on Friday awarded grants to 25 groups that proposed innovative project ideas to be implemented within their communities as a part of the first ever Innovation Programme of Guyana, launched earlier this year.
This was as the Ministry celebrated Education Day 2017 with a grand education rally and innovation fair.
This initiative kicked off in May of this year and sought to provid the opportunity for
Guyanese to design, develop and produce innovative ideas to combat challenges they face within their communities. Stemming from that, citizens were called upon to submit proposals of their service projects which are to address the concerns facing communities throughout the country.
Following a month-long procurement process, 25 of the proposed initiatives were shortlisted and will now receive funding, allowing for the awardees to execute their service projects within their communities.
In addressing the gathering at the Education Day event, Education Minister Nicolette Henry revisited the launch of what was initially the Youth Innovation Project (YIPOG). In doing so, she indicated that as a result of the tremendous response received, the organising body was forced to extend this opportunity to the general public.
“The response to this invitation has been overwhelming and has propelled us to re-organise YIPOG into the Innovative Programme of Guyana (iPoG),” Henry stated.
After taking on the new approach, the iPoG initiative managed to secure a number of outstanding proposals that reflected the creative ideas of community members in targeting issues affecting of their fellow residents.
On that note, the Minister outlined, “We have been inundated with solutions to the challenges of flooding, overcrowding, school dropout, and illiteracy; the issues of mental health, gender discrimination and sexual and reproductive health; the problems of bullying, poverty, and food insecurity.”
The list winners comprise of groups emanating from secondary schools, the University of Guyana, community circles, faith-based organisations among others. This 25 included groups from Regions One to Nine, with Region Four recording a total of 14 awardees.
The Government has plugged some $50 million into the execution of this programme and more so the implementation of the individual projects. As such, the groups will now cash in on a grant from the Government which will be directed towards offsetting the overhead costs of their projects.
Speaking with <<<Guyana Times>>> during the Innovation Fair on Friday were some of the recipients of the iPoG award and project grant. The awardees indicated that they are honoured to be the beneficiaries of this venture and went on to outline how their efforts will be of benefit to their community.
Anthony Stanislaus was among the group that proposed the building of a community centre ground in Non-Pariel, using waste materials that have been polluting their community for a number of years. The young innovators will capitalise of plastic bottles and tires thrown around the village and utilise these waste materials in the building of the foundation of the centre. Once completed, the facilities will provide capacity building opportunities for those living within the areas, as it is set to house a series of training sessions targeting school dropouts and those who wander the streets.
The young man indicated that the process of preparing their proposal as a submission in this programme was a tedious one but they were assisted by the Ministry. As such, he extended gratitude to the organising body and expressed excitement as they move forward with realising their project.
The $50 million investment which materialised as iPoG, is as a result of the Government’s intention to promote the use of innovation. As such each of the winning projects incorporated the use of science, technology, engineering, agriculture, anthropology, architecture, archeology, arts, Mathematics and spirituality, otherwise known as ‘STEAMS’.