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NGO helps improve livelihood in Pomeroon community

Some of the houses constructed under the Akawini Community Development Project (GINA photo)

The almost 1,000 residents of Akawini, Pomeroon River are benefitting from a GUY$42 million community development project that includes improved housing, better transportation and a boost to small business.

The initiatives in the Region Two community were funded by the non-governmental organisation, Food for the Poor.           

The project, which is the brainchild of the former Toshao of Akawini, Rudolph Wilson, saw the construction of 27 houses, the provision of four cassava mills and two cargo/passenger boats complete with engines to further enhance the lives of the almost 900 residents.

In her presentation, Junior Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe explained that it is not often that an indigenous community benefits from such a project. She commended the management of Food For the Poor for embarking on such an initiative and the Toshao and residents for making it possible.

akawani cassava“This is not the first time that Food For the Poor has assisted any community, they have assisted many communities across Guyana and the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs is grateful,” Minister Lowe was quoted by the Government Information Agency (GINA) as saying.

In her overview of the project, Senior Projects Manager of Food For the Poor, Andrea Benjamin explained that the needs assessment for the project was done in late 2013 into 2014 after a request was made by the former Toshao. Benjamin said that this project is seen as an investment in the community to enhance the lives of the peoples and as such, she is urging that efforts are made to sustain the project.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Food For the Poor, Kent Vincent, his organization is happy that it has contributed to the improvement of the living standards of the community adding that his organization will continue to embark on similar initiatives in other communities.

He urged the residents to work, take care of the boats and effectively manage the operation of the cassava mills to get the maximum benefits.

Recently appointed Regional Chairman, Davenand Ramdatt also congratulated and expressed gratitude to the management of Food For the Poor for investing such resources into the Akawini community. He said that, “it is partnerships like these which have a direct impact on the lives of the peoples and communities and it fits firmly in the overall developmental thrust.”

The Regional Chairman further noted that development cannot or should not take place within communities without firstly consulting with the people to determine the immediate needs adding that, this is the approach of the Government and that of the Regional Democratic Council.

He committed to reaching out and to provide any further assistance needed in improving the lives of the men, women and children of the community.  

Recently appointed Toshao David Wilson in his remarks expressed deepest gratitude and appreciation to the management and staff of the NGO for making the dreams of many within the community a reality. He committed to oversee the effective management of the resources given to the community.

Food For the Poor began working in Guyana in 1991, delivering food and other basic items to under-privileged people in Guyana. It is now the leading non-governmental organization providing relief to the people of Guyana. In 2014, Food For the Poor shipped 196 containers of goods to Guyana. Shipments to Guyana include goods that serve basic needs, as well as food, medicine, health care items, and educational supplies.

Minister Lowe expressed satisfaction on the level of cooperation between the Toshao and the residents adding that the leaders of the community are really working for the enhancement of the lives of the peoples. This she said has resulted in a very fruitful partnership between the community and Food For the Poor.

“You have strong leaders. I know the pride that flows through the veins of the peoples. I see it in the faces of all of you today, therefore I am confident that you will not take this opportunity for granted. Houses are a necessity, they will bring you comfort and keep your families safe. The boats and cassava mills are tools to make your lives better,” the Minister told the residents.

She explained that the project has given the residents the opportunity to be more self-sufficient urging them to take it to the next level by allowing the items to benefit all of the community.

The meeting was told that the Government does not see race, gender or class and it is of the firm belief that moving forward can only happen if all Guyanese work together for the common goal.