Yesterday, representatives from Monique’s Helping Hands attended a workshop presented by USAID’s Governance Executive Program, which will provide a $20,000 USD grant each to select organizations with adequate proposals. The purpose of the programs for which these grants will be used is to promote educating voters about presidential candidates’ stances in Guyana’s upcoming election in order to ensure that voters are not blindly making candidate decisions in the election process.
If this type of programming becomes more pervasive in the Caribbean’s non-governmental organization world, then politicians will ultimately be accountable for campaign promises, which will increase the effectiveness of their initiatives when in office. What does this mean for organizations like Monique’s Helping Hands, which seeks to improve the quality of life and understanding of sexual health for men, women, and children in Guyana? If non-governmental organizations with objectives like those of Monique’s or even CPIC as a whole structure programs to educate voters about the issues during the election process, they will inevitably ask what the politician’s proposed resolutions to the increasing trend of STIs, domestic violence, and sexual assault in Guyana are. As a result, the organizations that seek to correct these issues in Guyana will, in their programming, force politicians to draw solutions to rather than simply acknowledge these problems. That’s not to say that the government doesn’t already have programs in place, but placing these issues in the national spotlight will consequently improve the quality and effectiveness of new and existing programs (at least, over a span of presidencies and attempts at implementing the programs proposed during campaigns).
Therefore, this is a long-term dream- not a quick-fix phenomenon, by any means- but it is enough to at least spark hope that the disenfranchisement some voters feel from the government in Guyana will disperse alongside the much-needed process of educating them not only on the positions of electoral candidates, but also on the issues surrounding sexual health in the Caribbean.