Guyanese duo for CUSO-VSO training in Canada


DIRECTOR of Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Health, Barbara Lawrence and Community Trainer with the Kanuku Mountains Community Representative Group (KMCRG), Nicholas Fredericks left here yesterday for training at the world-renowned Coady International Institute, a centre of excellence in community-based development and leadership education for development professionals.
The trip is being made possible by a partnership between CUSO-VSO (Canadian University Services Overseas-Voluntary Service Overseas) and the Coady Institute to build the capacity of CUSO-VSO partners from around the world.
On completion of their three-week courses, the pair will be hosted by CUSO-VSO on a week-long speaking tour through Ontario sharing their insights with university students in International Development learning and Environmental Studies, CUSO-VSO volunteers, high school students, and members of the Guyanese Diaspora in Toronto.

Said Jessica Dubelaar, Public Engagement Officer – Ontario, Nunavut, & American Mid-West, CUSO-VSO: “Lasting change requires not just a financial investment, but also a human investment. That’s why CUSO-VSO focuses on strengthening individual and organization capacities. We do this through sending skilled volunteers to work in the developing world and by supporting the capacity development of our local partners.”

CUSO-VSO’ s Jessica  Dubelaar

Lawrence, who holds a Master’s in Public Health, has a long and distinguished career in the Physical Therapy field, working her way up the ladder and taking every opportunity for academic upgrading.  She is a member of numerous organizations as a representative of the Ministry of Health.  She also serves in the Guyana Physiotherapy Association and the Guyana Association of Rehabilitation Practitioners.
Fredricks is a community leader and environmental educator who has worked to advance the application of traditional attitudes and customary techniques to community-based natural resource management in the South Rupununi region. He is experienced in nature conservation, eco-tourism, community development, GIS mapping, ranching, and several native cultures. A councillor on the Shulinab Village Council, he also serves as the Field Coordinator to the South Central People’s Development Association (SCPDA), Secretary of the South Rupununi Conservation Society, and a Committee member of the Kanuku Mountain Community Representative Group (KRCMG).
A unique initiative of CUSO-VSO is their Diaspora Volunteer Programme (DVP), which  provides Diaspora communities with the opportunity to volunteer and help overcome poverty in more than 40 developing countries, including their place of heritage, bringing change not only to developing countries, but also shaping change back in North America through the awareness built by the programme.

Through its DVP, CUSO-VSO, which turns 50 next year, is enabling many in the Diaspora who have been thinking of paying back their country of birth with a way of doing so by lending their acquired skills to those countries development.

The objective is to ease the crushing impact of the brain drain caused by the migration of large numbers of the skilled citizens from the developing world resulting in shortages in the most essential sectors such as health and education.

The DVP engages members of the Diaspora, and provides placements in their countries of origin by partnering with local organizations such as the Canada-Guyana Teacher Education Project (CGTEP) and others in the case of Guyana.

Dubelaar, who was charged with leading efforts to raise awareness of development issues in Ontario, said that Barbara and Nicholas’ visit is creating awareness of the important work that CUSO-VSO is supporting in Guyana, and that on their return they will able to apply best practices from their study at the Coady Institute as they continue to work hard to support the communities they serve.
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