UNICEF and the Canadian High Commission here have signed an agreement to support a $498,574,213 project to address issues in the Region 1 (Barima-Waini).

On Tuesday 23rd March, 2021, High Commissioner Mark Berman, UNICEF Representative Nicolas Prom and their teams held several meetings with the Region 1 authorities during a visit to Mabaruma, to better understand the living situation of children, women, other residents and migrants in the area.

Discussions were held with Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley and heads of various agencies in the region, as well as with Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mabaruma, Chris Phang and Carolyn Robinson and their officers. The Canadian and UNICEF teams also met with Regional Health Officer Dr. Steven Cheefoon and Deputy Chairman of the Khan’s Hill CDC, Sharmaine Smith. The officials shared some of the pressing issues they face in the Region including the influx of Venezuelan migrants, access to the public health system, solid waste disposal, unemployment and the resuscitation of agriculture.

The project funding will be provided to support health, education, and other services in the communities in Region 1 and other regions, a release from the Canadian High Commission said.

In his remarks during the signing ceremony, High Commissioner Berman stated: ”We are delighted to partner with UNICEF on this project which will help to address some of the issues raised with us during our recent trip, including helping to build community, childcare and education services and facilities, in an effort to ensure those facing increased vulnerabilities do not fall further behind in recovering from the pandemic”.

UNICEF Representative Pron remarked, “This partnership with the Canadian High Commission comes at a critical time as we work together to ensure that no one is left behind as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2018, UNICEF has been supporting authorities on the ground under the Emergency/Migrant Response programme and there have been positive results. This project will ensure that the most vulnerable, including children, have access to key services; together with the Region 1 authorities, we are building a better, safer, and healthier future for everyone and every child.”

The UNICEF Guyana and Suriname Country Office and the Canadian High Commission had previously collaborated on the distribution of female orientated family hygiene kits and hygiene promotion activities in the Region as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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