The Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme will apply a three-pronged tactic to encourage youths to take up ground-breaking business initiatives.
This method is to inspire young people to come up with pioneering ideas. Thereafter, they will seek technical assistance from the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), and the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA). Once these proposals are feasible, provisions will be made to implement and bring them to fruition.
SLED’s Coordinator, Jason Fraser said the programme ranges from agro-processing to youth developmental skills. He said it helps the youths “to find a vocation what they like to do, and have them trained in that, including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills, agriculture and livestock, bee-keeping and added value products among others.”
The SLED programme will enable young people to form cooperatives and establish business ventures and partnerships to become self-sufficient. Fraser said the groups must be registered and checks will be done to ensure that groups comply.
“As long as you have an organised group or association, we meet with the beneficiaries, and once we see they have enough information at hand, we establish a special account with both signatories, the Government of Guyana and the beneficiaries, and we work by deliverables,” Fraser explained.
The groups are then carefully monitored to ensure the money is spent accordingly, after which training and other services in market support will be provided. Fraser noted that the programme has seen many successes thus far. These include the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project, which has seen about 90 youths being able to start their own business. The Swine Producers Association and several other projects including the Women for Change have also been fruitful. “You’d be amazed at what money and mentorship could do,” Fraser said.
Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence during her 2017 budget presentation said that the SLED initiative, along with several others are all designed to ensure that young people are better prepared to take their rightful places in society as they embark on the good life, and prepare a better life for the succeeding generation.
Minister Lawrence added that the Social Protection Ministry is considering entering into partnership with the Ministry of Business to facilitate exportation of produce, fostering entrepreneurial activity, self-confidence and self-esteem.
The SLED programme which now falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection has been allocated $100M for its continuation in 2017.
By: Ranetta LaFleur | GINA