$5M budgeted for each Amerindian village – launch of ADF Phase 1 will see funding for 27 pilot projects

Government has budgeted for $5M to be allocated to each Amerindian community in Guyana for the development of their chosen project towards socio-economic development.
This announcement was made by President Donald Ramotar today at the launch of the Inception Phase of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) Amerindian Development Fund (ADF) Project under the Guyana Redd+ Investment Fund (GRIF).In the keynote address, His Excellency urged the Toshaos and villagers to grasp the opportunities made possible by the GRIF and to increase the opportunity for greater exchange of goods and services within the villages and further afield in the enhancement of village resources and assets.The launch will see the funding of 27 pilot projects selected under the ADF/CDP, with projects that include six non-farming, six farming, four poultry and three aqua farming projects.


Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai called on Amerindians to recognise the potential existing in their villages and for Amerindian youths to become the agents of progressive change now and in the future.
Speaking about her call for more youth involvement at the event at the Princess Hotel, East Bank Demerara, she stated that, “They must examine the options of remaining in the village and developing enterprises that are relevant to their localities. Consideration must be given to less benefit of earning an income at home as well as stabilising families and community food security as opposed to seeking fortunes elsewhere,’” the Minister said.
Whilst acknowledging that nothing is wrong with the latter option, she urged that good sense should prevail “as such investment back in the villages might be beneficial in the long- term by those who choose to do so.”
The Amerindian Affairs Minister highlighted government’s recognition that the major stumbling block for village development “is the challenge of expediting improvement in the primary road network through most of the remote villages. The cost of freight and transportation and the issue of the production of primary products which are mostly perishables are still limiting factors that need to be overcome and of course, a reliable and efficient communication system for sourcing markets.”
She stated that the launch of the GRIF Phase One is a clear indication that economic initiatives spearheaded by Amerindian Village Councils on behalf of their people should be supported.
UNDP Resident Representative (Ag.) Ms. Chisa Mikami commended the implementation of the project and highlighted the journey towards this achievement. She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to cooperation on the project.
Head of the National Toshaos Council, Derrick John pointed out that the funding from the Kingdom of Norway through the GRIF was not a gift to the Amerindian people of Guyana, but “a reward for good stewardship”. John reminded the gathering of the traditional focus of Amerindians on forest sustainability as a way of life.
The ADF of the LCDS will be done in two phases, an initiation/pilot phase spanning nine months, to be followed by a second phase. During the two phases, 180 commercially viable community driven projects will receive grants of US$25,000 each.

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