It is my pleasure to represent the United States Government at today’s launch of the “Local Capacity for Local Solutions” Project.
This U.S. Embassy-supported US$8 million dollar initiative represents an ongoing partnership with Guyana and the nine other countries of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region. It also demonstrates our collective commitment to promote more resilient and prosperous communities in which Government and Civil Society work hand in hand to develop sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges.
Since the late 1970s, NGOs and Civil Society Organizations have played an increasingly critical role in the development sector, contributing primarily at the grassroots level, and often working with the marginalized and forgotten among us.
Over the past five years, the region has witnessed an expansion of NGOs working in advocacy as well as service delivery at the community level. Guyana is privileged to boast a very active NGO presence and I am happy to report that the U.S. Government has enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership with many local NGOs, including the Guyana Red Cross, Lifeline Counselling, and the Volunteer Youth Corps, to name a few.
Under the Embassy’s health portfolio, USAID’s Guyana Civil Society Leadership Project, implemented through the Volunteer Youth Corps, worked to strengthen the National Coordinating Coalition, a network comprising 20 local organizations that support the national HIV/AIDS response.
Although Governments lead national development, it has been proven that the NGO sector is a necessary factor in contributing to a country’s economic and social progress.
It is our belief, and that of our partners, that by investing in building the capacity of NGOs to make them more efficient, effective and sustainable – we can better harness individual commitment to tackle the issues that threaten the stability and security of our partner countries.
The United States Government is proud to continue its long history of partnership with the people of Guyana and throughout the region, an investment in strengthening the managerial, organizational, and administrative capacities of NGOs, including the 25 organizations that received scholarships through the program to be here today. Through the program, 130 NGOs across the region participated in a Market Assessment to gauge the needs of the regional NGO sector and seventy-five organizations participated in focus groups which formed part of the assessment.
Further, the program will support NGOs to create, improve, and implement policies, systems, and practices to boost performance and ultimately contribute to the achievement of national development goals. We recognize that forums, such as this advocacy workshop, will improve their engagement with policy makers as well as each other, particularly in terms of peer-to-peer exchanges and learning across the region.
Over the next few days you can expect to share best practices and develop strategic and innovative partnerships at national and regional levels to advance your advocacy goals. I look forward to learning more about the outcome of this workshop and seeing the impact of this project in Guyana and across the region.
Thank you for joining us this morning.