The European Union [EU] today signed two grant contracts that will see a total of five Civil Society Organisations [CSOs] benefitting from grant funding from the thematic line Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (CSO LA) programme. Introduced in 2007 the CSO LA is a development policy instrument which builds on important programmes and policies such as the “The Structured Dialogue” process, the Agenda for Change and the Busan Partnership for development cooperation.
Commenting at the launching, EU Ambassador to Guyana Jernej Videtič highlighted that, ''this is an unprecedented support for civil society in Guyana and shows the importance the European Union attaches to civil society and their role in democracy and human rights. He further added that, ''there is a strong partnership between the European Union and civil society.''
The first grant of GYD 87.9 million has been signed with Youth Challenge Guyana in partnership with Merundoi and Family Awareness Consciousness Togetherness (FACT). The 36 month project aims to increase the supply of protective services for people at risk of suicide through a collaborative network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) currently engaged in communities across the country providing health and social services. It further aims to establish protective services centres across the country which will include counselling, life skills, support groups and case navigation to improve the existing psychosocial support systems to deliver targeted services to vulnerable communities. Social workers, counsellors and life skills mentors will be deployed under the project to reach targeted populations via the utilisation of radio serial drama, street theatre, mass media social marketing and social media marketing to change perceptions and beliefs about services such as counselling, support groups and other protective services. The protective services that will be executed by this action will complement existing Government services and conduct case navigation of clients who require support from Government services.
The second grant of GYD 94.5 Million has been awarded to the Forest People's Programme [FPP] who are partnering with the Amerindian Peoples’ Association [APA] in the implementation of the action entitled; Promotion of equal rights for and the fight against discrimination: Promotion and Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Guyana. This project aims to correct discrimination against indigenous peoples, to secure and equally protect their human rights in law, policy and practice, and to strengthen the capacity of indigenous peoples in Guyana to effectively participate in decision making on land tenure, environmental, livelihood, and poverty reduction issues.
The European Union (EU) has a long-standing relationship and cooperation with non-governmental and other civil society organisations as well as with local and decentralised authorities in the field of development. The EU's commitment to fighting poverty and promoting the rule of law and adherence to fundamental freedoms is set out in Article 177 of the European Community Treaty.