It is my pleasure to represent the United States Government at today’s Civil Society Leadership workshop hosted by the Volunteer Youth Corps Inc.
In recognition of the critical role that Civil Society Organizations play as first responders to community needs, USAID has over the past three years, supported the Volunteer Youth Corps in the implementation of the Guyana Civil Society Leadership Project.
This project is the local version of PEPFAR’s Local Capacity Initiative. Established in Guyana in 2015, this initiative aims to strengthen the sustainability of national HIV and AIDS responses, through increased advocacy by local Civil Society Organizations. The project directly supports 38 Guyanese Civil Society Organizations that advocate for key and vulnerable populations.
As we all know, local organizations like those present today often have greater access than governments to hard-to-reach or highly stigmatized populations. When properly trained and supported, these organizations often design the most culturally appropriate and responsive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment support interventions.
Today’s workshop is important since it builds on this collaboration. It provides our local NGO partners, the Government of Guyana and the Private Sector an opportunity to engage in collaborative dialogue. It also facilitates problem solving to ensure that, despite declining donor HIV/AIDS resources, community voices can continue to sustainably guide implementation of Guyana’s National AIDS Program.
I applaud all of your efforts to leverage the core strengths of each sector to maximize the impact of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in Guyana.
I wish you all what I anticipate will be a very focused, productive and spirited day.