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By Suraj NarineMinister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally, during her contribution to the 2017 National Budget Debates yesterday, disclosed that $90.1 M was budgeted to her Ministry.Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna AllyThis allocation, she asserted, will allow the Ministry to widen its scope to eradicate issues that are detrimental to the Ministry in carrying out its mandate which includes, strengthening its stance against prejudice and racism.Minister Ally outlined some of the Ministry’s plans for the New Year. These include a series of regional and national art competitions and exhibitions. This, she said, will play an integral role in sensitising the populace about the many contributions made by diverse groups in Guyana.The Minister said that these activities will be based on “cross-cutting themes” such as race,Jerseys From China, religion and gender and the aim will be to recognise and celebrate achievements of diverse groups to the development of Guyana. Students will also have an opportunity to be a part of these activities, she said.Community levelAt the community level, Minister Ally said that the sum allocated to the Ministry will be used to organise inter-village and inter-regional youth exchanges that will allow 250 young people from various ethnic backgrounds to come together for a multi-cultural youth exchange.This programme, she said, will also expose these participants to life skills and practical strategies for employment creation and information on further education with the expected outcome being, the assembling of a cadre of social cohesion ambassadors.“Budget 2017 will (also) allow the Ministry to organise a week of activities designed to take a stand against racism, prejudice and intolerance for diversities. It will allow the ministry to undertake social cohesion module projects and we will work to create an enabling environment to encourage activities within and across communities to facilitate healing and reconciliation.“It is expected that these programmes will result in improved dialogue at the leadership level in communities.”The Government Chief Whip said that the budgetary allocation will allow the Ministry to establish a Social Cohesion Community Grant Project and the access to this initiative will promote the development of small infrastructure programmes within communities.Ms Ally expressed her appreciation for the $250B National Budget that was presented to the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance,Jerseys Wholesale, Winston Jordan on November 28.Minister Ally congratulated the Minister and his team for the “well-crafted Budget”. She stated that it is no accident that the Coalition Government has managed to produce three Budgets in 18 months.She said that this reflects how proactive and committed the administration is in moving the nation forward.The Minister listed the achievements made by the Coalition Government since its assumption to office in May 2015. A few mentioned were the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission; the restoration of local democracy by holding Local Government Elections (LGEs) after more than 20 years; the establishment of three towns in Guyana – with more expected to be unveiled in the coming year; the establishment of two radio stations (in Lethem and Mabaruma); improved National Drainage System, roadways and general infrastructure within the State ; and the implementation of micro-economic projects to sustain the livelihood of the Indigenous peoples.Social Cohesion’s Five-year Strategic PlanComing under the list of achievements also, was the completion of a series of sensitisation and consultations that were held in all 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana to facilitate the development of the Social Cohesion’s Five-year Strategic Plan. This initiative was financially assisted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).The Minister stated that the plan is currently in its final stage of formulation and arrangements are being made to host a workshop early next year to unveil the draft strategic plan.Minister Ally said that the implementation of the plan will bring Guyana one step closer to achieving an enabling environment where persons are willing to embrace the unique diversities in Guyana.The Ministry, she said, will support key actions that will replace confrontation with cooperation; facilitate the reduction of inequality; and promote greater tolerance and acceptance; mutual respect and improved livelihoods for all.“The Ministry commenced its first phase of regional training in Diversity Education and Inclusion in October 2016 with the objective being to allow participants to explore some of the negative internalised attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes that may impact the way in which they perceived themselves and others.”The training, she added, also facilitates the development of cross-community understanding and helps participants to learn about changes and challenges that are associated with Guyana’s diverse heritage.The 5B’s ProjectPrior to 2015, many students, especially in the hinterland and riverain areas,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, were unable to attend school regularly and punctually because of the limited access to transportation or because of their parents’ inability to afford transportation services, the Minister said.However, since the Coalition Government took office in 2015,Cheap Jerseys, there has been an increase in students’ access to transportation services.Minister Ally said that President David Granger initiated the 5B’s programme because he strongly believes and recognises the importance of having an educated nation.“That simply means, access to education must no longer be seen as a privilege for some, but rather,nfl jerseys cheap, a basic human right for all our boys and girls,” the Minister said.She added that the 5B’s Programmes sets out to bridge the equality gap that exists in the Guyanese society in terms of access to education. She taunted the Opposition for not having the ‘insight’ to initiate such a project.The Minister also lauded the Ministry’s corporate partners whom she said,Cheap NFL Jerseys, have played a significant role in ensuring that every child can now have an education.“Our work is incomplete if we believe that we can just build schools; we have to find creative ways to get our children to access those schools; to receive a full course of primary and secondary education; that is the primary purpose of the B’s initiative.”Boats are currently servicing the lower and upper Pomeroon. Buses have been servicing several villages in nine of the 10 Administrative Regions while bicycles have been distributed in all ten districts.“In 2017, we intend to intensify our monitoring and evaluation efforts to measure the positive progress and the impact of the B’s Programme. The Ministry will seek ways in which it can further improve this programme.“I am extremely confident that we are on the right path to improve access to education under this programme and we will continue to develop and forge ahead with this initiative to ensure that we provide the right resources that will aid in successfully restoring an educated nation. Guyana will be restored to the 96 percent literacy rate we boasted of.”In order to foster social cohesion at the primary education level, Ally said that her Ministry has been collaborating with the Education Ministry to create a booklet on Civic Education.She stated that the content of the booklet is being finalised. It is expected to be distributed in all the Primary Schools throughout Guyana. The booklet, the Minister added, will educate young children on the value of being good citizens, to show love and respect; and inform them about Guyana’s multi-ethnic society.
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