Community Action Component
Ministry of Home Affairs Guyana

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
An initial assessment of the crime and violence problems of the five (5) selected communities revealed the following: a) Agricola/McDoom, Greater Georgetown had a history of gun and gang violence. The project was a timely one for this community as it was attempting to reestablish cohesiveness and accord. There was evidence of partisan conflict within this community; b) Plaisance-Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara was a community that had inconsistent occurrences of crime and violence. The community revealed that many of the occurrences were due to the breakdown of the social fabric of the community, particularly in reference to low-income earning families resulting in young school leavers and teenage pregnancy; c) Kilcoy/Chesney/Fyrish, Corentyne, Berbice was an area of growing concern for community leaders and residents over the past few years. It was observed that more children were not attending nor completing school, and were seen gambling and loitering during school hours; d) Angoy’s Avenue district, Greater New Amsterdam, Berbice was an area revealed to have a social stigma attached. Sections of this area were disadvantaged economically and many children were sent by their caregivers to steal food to eat. There were a few non-government organizations that flourished over the years to keep youths engaged in meaningful activities such as athletics, computer literacy, and positive parenting classes. However, the area was quite large and not all residents were able to attend sessions; and e) Overwinning-Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice was an area that was not notable for crime and violence; however, the social concerns prevailed as in all of the other communities. The community revealed that there were instances of domestic violence and child abuse as well as alcohol and drug abuse amongst young people. All of the communities had instances of domestic violence and child abuse of varying degrees. However, reporting of such incidences rarely took place. Residents tended to work out matters amongst themselves and did not attempt to involve the police unless the situation became extreme. The other five (5) communities, which were belatedly added met much of the same criteria as the former five (5).

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Community Action Component (CAC) was the third component of the Citizen Security Programme and was designed to facilitate the empowerment of communities in Guyana. It was a social component. The first and second components were the Institutional Modernization of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Institutional Modernization and Capacity Building of the Guyana Police Force, respectively. The CAC was funded through a loan provided by the Inter-American Development Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Given evolving trends of crime, it was necessary to resign and renegotiate this component to include skills training of at-risk youths within at risk communities. The statistical and empirical results from the thirty-one (31) month implementation of the project were intended to be used to inform policy making with regard to the implementation of future similar social development interventions that would prove even more successful towards the reduction of crime and violence in Guyana. SUBCOMPONENTS The Community Action Component was made up of the following sub-components: 1. Mobilization of communities in building social cohesion 2. Violence Prevention Services 3. Strengthening of community based multi-purpose Centres Mobilization of communities in building social cohesion The CAC offered a second opportunity for those young people of the target communities who would have dropped out of school or never attended. The aim was for over fourteen hundred (1400) young people to benefit from training in a number of areas that would see them gain employment and becoming productive citizens. Violence Prevention Services This Programme was intended to realize a menu of prevention activities in the selected communities that would address crime and violence problems identified in the community assessments. a) Child Abuse b) Youth Violence c) Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence d) Personal Development Strengthening of community based multi-purpose Centres (Rapid Impact Projects) It was planned for each community to benefit from a scheme that would strengthen community based multi-purpose centres, which would serve to house community activities within existing, under-utilised or unused facilities. The overall objective of the Citizen Security Programme was to enhance citizen security and co-existence by contributing to the reduction in levels of crime, violence, and insecurity in Guyana. In response to the above, the specific objectives of the CAC included: (a) To identify, prevent and counteract risk factors and increase and promote protective factors in communities, families, and individuals; and (b) To strengthen social cohesion within communities and their preventative capacity The Project Action Plan (PAP) explained that the particular objective of this component was to implement social development interventions addressing crime and violence prevention in disadvantaged, low-income neighbourhoods of Regions IV and VI. The Loan Agreement identified the five (5) initial communities within these Regions based on previously agreed upon criteria, and based on the Eligibility Criteria presented in the Operating Regulations & Guidelines, the Project Coordinator and Community Action Specialist (CAS) identified the remaining five (5) communities.  Defining the extent of the change proposed Throughout the project implementation process, it was important for the CAS to be continually observant of what was trying to be achieved with the resources available. Listed below were the anticipated outcomes of the CAC as outlined in the PAP and were the key motivators for the implementation process: a) More youths under the age of 25 are engaged in meaningful and gainful employment as a result of the vocational training received; b) More youths under the age of 25 are owners of their own small businesses; c) Improved relationships between normal academic achievers and persons who were deemed ‘at risk’/school ‘drop outs’; as a result of greater dialogue and interactions arising from the implementation of the mentorship programme in the community; d) Increased instances of positive participation in community social, educational and other programmes, thereby fostering social cohesion and inclusion; e) Strengthened mutual trust within communities at the individual and collective level, manifested in a reduction of instances of conflict and violence; and, f) Increased understanding about and use of existing community support to deal with conflict and grievance within the law, without resorting to violence. It was recognized by those who finalized the PAP document that impact was usually measured two to five years after a programme of this nature ended. However, it was also accurately noted that emerging benefits in several instances could be discerned from those anticipated outcomes.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The program had a two pronged strategy: (i) a short term strategy of actions at the community level promoting social cohesion and resident participation with immediate effects, and (ii) a medium term strategy based on data collection, analysis and evaluation of violence-based interventions. The latter developed evidence-based crime and violence prevention strategies and monitored trends through the development and implementation of an integrated information system to address critical gaps in knowledge. Enhanced information assisted in the implementation of well-designed prevention initiatives built on three inter-related pillars: (i)the incorporation of developmental prevention strategies that addressed factors leading to violent offending; (ii)situational crime prevention strategies which diminished opportunities for crime by modifying the situation in which offending occurred; and (iii)community strategies which involve joint ownership by local residents, national and local governments and civil society of crime and violence prevention. An important part of the strategy was the involvement of communities, which are increasingly viewed as a critical avenue for prevention. The programme was a pilot phase focused on covering communities in Regions IV and VI; which were the most populous and had high rates of crime, violence and school dropouts, a high youth population and single parent families.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The focus of the Community Action Component was on building cohesion within ten (10) at-risk communities in Regions Four and Six, with the former five (5) being identified based on agreed criteria in the loan and the latter five (5) identified based on eligibility criteria presented in the operational regulations and guidelines. This Component made provision for community violence prevention services which addressed crime and violence problems in these communities. The preselected Communities were as follows: 1. Buxton/Friendship 2. Annandale/Lusignan/Good Hope 3. Sophia 4. Rosehall Town/Williamsburg 5. Port Mourant These were followed by: 6. Agricola/McDoom 7. Plaisance/Vryheid’s Lust 8. Kilcoy/Chesney/Fyrish 9. Angoy’s Avenue (including Smith’s Field, Vryman’s Ern and Mount Sinai 10. Overwinning/Glasgow/Edinburgh MoHA initially conducted a workshop for prospective communities. The Workshop included an overview of the Citizen Security Programme and Community Action Component; the criteria for community selection, and a presentation on the mobilization and planning requirements and assessment steps needed. Workshop participants had an opportunity to engage in a local violence analysis and planning work session facilitated by the PIU. Each participating community was represented diverse teams of individuals who served as part of the CAC. Community Action Officer (CAO) candidates were also identified at this stage and were contracted by the PIU for each selected community. CAOs facilitated the project preparation activities related to the CAC, liaised with and served as the local focal point for their communities, and established formal and informal linkages with community- based associations and organizations. The CAOs and CACs were trained to: a) help each community articulate and prepare a proposal for a rapid impact projects (up to US$5000 per community); and b) identify and prepare community violence prevention services proposals from the priority crime and violence problems identified in the needs assessment. CAOs worked jointly with CACs, PIU and Community Action Specialists and experts to select priority projects. Following are activities which were conducted during project implementation:  Meetings to sensitize and to distribute ‘Safe Neighbourhood Road Maps’ were held in all ten (10) communities by either the Project Coordinator or the CAS accompanied by the Community Action Assistant (CAA). Prior to the distribution of the Road Maps, the document was first forwarded to the CAC Advisory Board for consideration. Each community had its own specific Road Map which detailed the crime statistics and the indicators for peaceful coexistence in their respective communities. The crime statistics were compiled by the Crime and Social Observatory (CASO) and indicators for peaceful coexistence were achieved by conducting community assessments. Persons invited to the Meetings were the CAOs, the Community Action Councils, Religious Leaders, Private Sector Leaders, Head Teachers, School Teachers, and other Community Members and Leaders. The CAC Advisory Board members were also invited to attend these Meetings. Newspaper articles were published in two (2) subsequent weeks in October 2012 on the Safe Neighbourhood meetings and the ongoing initiative.  A Community Fair was held on Sunday, August 5, 2012 at the National Stadium Tarmac, Providence, East Coast Demerara. Each community was successful in performing at least one item representing their culture, a social situation, or a sports club in the community.  A Youth Life Skills/Vocational Training Programme was held.  As part of the Rapid Impact Projects (RIPs), a number of Community Centres were refurbished/built and commissioned, including: i) Sophia’s RIP Commissioning for Equipping of the Cummings Park Multi-Purpose Centre, Section E, and the Community Day Care and Community Centre, Section A; and ii) Buxton/Friendship’s RIP Commissioning for the Basketball Court (Phase I) and the Fencing and Bridge around the Basketball Court (Phase II), and the Rehabilitation of Buxton Playfield Pavilion.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The stakeholders involved in the design and/or implementation of the initiative were as follows: Government Organizations/Departments - Ministry of Home Affairs - Ministry of Labour/Board of Industrial Training - Ministry of Human Services and Social Security - Ministry of Education - Ministry of Health - Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport - Citizen Security Programme, Ministry of Home Affairs - Guyana Police Force - Community Policing International/Regional Organizations - Inter-American Development Bank Public Institutions - Regional Democratic Council – Region VI - Mon Repos/La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council - Port Mourant Neighbourhood Democratic Council - Edinburgh/New Doe Park Neighbourhood Democratic Council Community Groups - St. Francis Community Developers, Rose Hall Town & Fyrish - Plaisance-Goedverwagting-Sparendaam Community Development Associaton - Ambassadors of Christ Church, Buxton - Buxton Playfield Management Committee - Glory Light Tabernacle, Plaisance - Agricola Restoration Association - Agricola United Prayer Rally - Agricola Community Centre Management Committee - Residents of each Community in which the project was implemented Non-Governmental Organizations - Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association - Guyana Red Cross - Child Link - Help & Shelter
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The total cost of the Citizen Security Programme was estimated to be US$22 million of which the Bank financed US$19.8 million (90% of the total) while the GoG will provided US$ 2.2 million in counterpart financing. The Bank resources financed a combination of consultancy services, materials, equipment, training, infrastructure rehabilitation, financial expenses during execution and unallocated expenditure. The Community Action Component comprised US$3.4 million out of the aforementioned total investment. The component will finance for those communities selected technical assistance and equipment and minor rehabilitation in the following areas: a) Mobilization of communities – Investment of US$620,000 Experts in resident engagement and mobilization were contracted to assist in: (i) development, and implementation of actions for engaging the community; (ii) conducting assessments; and (iii) monitoring project performance. These experts also trained local voluntary workers to develop Community Promoters for Citizen Co-existence and to address the shortfall of trained professionals. Training was also provided on core competencies in violence and crime prevention, community organizing, basic crisis intervention, resident engagement, advocacy, fundraising and evaluation, and how to build local infrastructures of expertise for collective violence prevention activities. b) Community Violence Prevention Services – Investment of US$2.7 million The investment financed a menu of prevention activities in the selected communities of Regions IV and VI that addressed crime and violence problems identified in the community assessments such as: (i) factors leading to child abuse, dating violence and delinquency and violent offending and intimate partner violence; (ii) situational crime prevention (such as the creation of safe community spaces, community gardens, exterior lighting, among others.); and (iii) improvement of formal services provided by various sectors (such as health, education, human services, youth and sports and local government, private sector and police). Activities funded targeted individual, relationship, community and societal level contexts. c) Strengthening community based multi-service centers – Investment of US$ 150,000 These centers were hubs to house community activities within existing, or underused or unused facilities. They were being used to house materials and to serve as a meeting space and coordination site for community and other participants. The Centers were staffed by community residents in partnerships with Ministry of Local Government, hired on a stipend basis. Loan resources also financed computer equipment and a crime and violence prevention library.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Five concrete outputs that contributed to the success of the initiative could be seen as follows: (i) Community Action Councils (CA Councils) were established and functioning in all ten (10) communities for the duration of the project and Community Action Officers (CAOs) were contracted and functioning in all ten (10) communities for the duration of the project; (ii)The Youth Life Skills/Vocational Training Programme graduated 1,377 youths out of the target of 1,400 youths, which was 98.3% achievement of the target and the Violence Prevention Consultancies (Child Abuse Prevention, Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, Youth Violence Prevention, and Personal Development) were functioning in all ten (10) communities until the project end and achieved the socio-cognitive goals that were initiated; (iii)All thirty (30) Rapid Impact Projects (three per community) were identified and twenty-eight (28) were completed by the project end date and two (2) Multi-Purpose Centres were constructed and were operational; (iv)Community Engagement Activities were accomplished in nine (9) communities. All of the communities, within their respective Regions, participated in exhibition booths set up at the Berbice Trade & Fair Expo 2011, GuyExpo 2011, Youth Impress Expo 2011, National Road Safety Conference 2011, and Ethnic Relations Commission CultureFest 2011; and (v)The Media Campaign was ongoing and the Citizen Security Programme (CSP) Guyana Facebook Page has continually been gaining popularity.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Policy and Research Unit was in charge of monitoring the performance and progress of the programme implementation. Programme monitoring was based on the implementation of annual operating plans. The monitoring of the program evaluated the extent of the implementation of the agreed chronogram of activities, as well as contractual conditions and indicators included in the Logical Framework. The monitoring and supervision system entailed the following: (i) collect and systematize information regarding the progress implementation of activities and availability of funds; (ii)maintain up to date information regarding the implementation of the Programme’s activities; and (iii)systematize the information emanating from the different evaluations of programme’s activities. The Policy and Research Unit received specialized training to take on the responsibility for conducting impact evaluation during the project. Loan resources financed technical assistance for the final design and implementation of the evaluations. A project launch workshop was held to re-familiarize all parties engaged in program execution with their responsibilities, the program’s goals, the implementation plan, execution procedures and evaluation framework. During programme implementation, the Project Implementation Unit presented to the IDB semi-annual progress reports summarizing the execution and financial highlights of the period. A mid-term evaluation review was undertaken after the Crime Observatory was operating for one year; MoHA developed its strategic plan; GPF elaborated a new organizational structure and revised its manual for internal and external accountability; and community assessments were completed. A mid-term review mission discussed with MoHA the results from the implementation of each component and reviewed the plan of the activities for the surveys that would be conducted in the second part of the project. A final evaluation comprised of impact evaluations as well as process evaluations. It was financed with project funds and took place after 95% of loan resources were disbursed. The evaluation assessed the implementation of the project and documented outcomes in participating agencies and communities. In the final assessment the Project Implementation Unit collected, stored and retained all necessary information, indicators and parameters, the mid-term review, and final evaluation, to inform the Bank. The Project Implementation Unit was responsible for the external financial audit presented to the Bank annual audited financial statements of the programme. The audit costs were financed through the loan.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Community Action Councils During the course of implementation, there was evidence of internal conflict within the CA Councils. The CAS counseled members of the CA Council on how to resolve their conflicts on their own. If a conflict could not be resolved internally, the CAS made request if outside assistance was required. In one such case, the Project Coordinator and the Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission, at the time, met with the CA Council and assisted in the resolution process. Youth Life Skills/Vocational Training Programme After the completion of the first batch of the training programme, there was a recorded ten percent (10%) of drop outs. To alleviate this, the CAS responded with a five-step process for youth intake. This process took approximately two (2) months from the first step (interest of the youth) to the fifth step (signing of the Memorandum of Understanding). The CA Councils informed the youths and parents/guardians of the time frame. During this time both the applicants and the parents/guardians had enough time to contemplate and discuss their commitment to the programme. Trainers There was one situation where the credentials of one Trainer were outstanding. She was a teacher for nearly fifteen years and owned a salon, however, it was learned during the course of training that she lacked the capacity to train ‘at-risk’ youths. After a number of meetings, it was deemed the trainer would need to be replaced. Another Trainer was identified and the Trainees were able to transition well to the new Trainer and training site. This incident highlighted the need for further screening of Trainers before they were accepted as Trainers in the programme.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Community Action Councils The formation of the CA Councils proved to be a necessary structure within project implementation and for the creation of safe neighbourhoods. The CA Councils were successful because they were guided by a Charter to clarify the roles and responsibilities of members and were guided by the PIU for project implementation, thus their purpose was clearly defined. All ten (10) CA Councils were formed and all were functioning throughout the duration of the project. Many of them are still connected in other community groupings within their communities. Community Action Officers The CAOs were necessary “managers” of project implementation in their respective communities. One aspect of creating safe neighbourhoods is having a network of managers who are leaders and movers within their communities. One-hundred percent (100%) of the goal was achieved by implementing CAOs in all ten (10) communities. Community Engagement Activities The Community Engagement Activities were successful in promoting and strengthening social cohesion. It could be stated, however, that in light of the fact that nine (9) out of the ten (10) communities accomplished an activity and the Community Fair was executed successfully, the project accomplished ninety-one (90.9%) percent of its goal. Youth Life Skills/Vocational Training Programme This programme was deemed to be successful as there were a total of twenty-four (24) competency areas that youths were trained in. Cosmetology was the most popular competency amongst the females while for the males, the most popular competency was auto-mechanic. Violence Prevention Consultancies All Consultancies were functioning in all ten (10) communities during their respective implementation periods with few exceptions which were rectified during the course of implementation thus every community benefited from sessions described.  Child Abuse Prevention In Region IV, the following results were recorded: • 19 reported cases of child sexual abuse (1 male & 18 female) • 5 youths shared their experiences of being emotionally abused (privately with the Consultant) • 2 youths shared of being in domestic violence relationships • 5 youths shared their experiences of being physically abused In this Region, the total attendance for the implementation period recorded 2,785. Of this total, twenty percent (20%) were males and eighty percent (80%) were females. In Region VI, the following data was recorded: • The total number of participants in the programme = 557 • The total attendance for the programme = 1,666 • The total number of youths who completed the Training of Trainers = 51 • The total number of adults who completed the Adult Training = 71 The number of youths who registered for the Training of Trainers was one-hundred forty-four (144) which resulted in thirty-five percent (35%) retention for those who intended to train others in Child Abuse Prevention.  Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence Prevention In Region IV, the following data was collected: • The total attendance for the implementation period = 2,486 • The total attendance for the school-based violence prevention sessions = 2,115 For the school-based violence prevention sessions: • The total number of males = 1,138 or 54% • The total number of females = 977 or 46% The following data was collected in Region VI: • The total attendance for the implementation period = 5,007 • The total attendance for the school-based violence prevention sessions = 210 • The total number of participants who completed the Training of Trainers = 57 Of those participants who completed the Training of Trainers: • The total number of males = 6 or 10.5% • The total number of females = 51 or 89.5%  Youth Violence Prevention For Region IV, the following data was collected: • The total number of youths (inclusive of the Vocational Training Programme) who participated = 1,757 From the above total: • The total number of male participants = 506 or 29% • The total number of female participants = 1,251 or 71% Personal Development In Region IV, the following data was collected: • The total attendance = 2,632 • The total number of participants = 265 From the above data: • The total number of male participants = 111 or 42% • The total number of female participants = 154 or 58% In Region VI, the following data was collected: • The total attendance = 3,952 From the above data: • The total attendance from males = 1,459 or 37% • The total attendance from females = 2,493 or 63%

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Sustainability strategies were initiated prior to the project end date resulting in Skilled Trainers taking on youths on their own, and communities taking the initiative to maintain the mentoring programme and/or the violence prevention sessions in their communities even merging with other neighbouring communities and other existing social groups from other communities. Graduate Tracking was done to determine the number of graduates who had since obtained jobs or had started businesses. This was estimated at 50%, at the time of submission of the final report with many others actively seeking employment. The distribution of the road maps towards the creation of safe neighbourhoods received a very positive reaction from community members. They felt that the project was not coming to an end with this initiative and were very pleased with the structured information and guidance that the document provided. It was encouraging for the communities to know that the efforts made over the thirty-one (31) months of CAC implementation would not be abandoned. The CAC participants would continue to build on the skills, knowledge, and confidence of the community members, helping to influence and shape the decisions that affect their daily lives. Triangulation was the principle of increasing the validity of the data by looking at different data sources or by going back to the same subjects at different periods of time and asking the same kinds of questions. The purpose of triangulation was to improve the validity of one’s findings. This was the method suggested to be used to ensure the project’s sustainability. Triangulation would be a strategic method in following up with the Graduates of the Youth Life Skills/Vocational Training Programme and even those persons who completed the Training of Trainers in the Violence Prevention Consultancies. Completing triangulation over a three (3) year period post project implementation would be effective in documenting what kind of affect this programme had on the beneficiaries. This would assist policymakers in the formulation of future initiatives to lower crime and violence amongst young people.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The overall effects and outcomes of the CAC made a tremendous impact on the lives of the citizens within the communities targeted. The key positive outcome of the project implementation could be said to be the active community involvement. Many of the CAOs and CA Councils bought into the need for this type of project and sought to benefit from it as best as they could. Another positive outcome was negative behaviours of the young people affected by the programme were curbed. When people would feel empowered they would then gain a sense of responsibility to their community. It was noted that ten (10) communities in two (2) Administrative Regions only represented the tip of the mountainous effort it would require to implement the type of initiative to change the behavioural patterns and attitudes of the entire country. However, beginning the effort was a movement in the right direction. As progress was made in one initiative, momentum would carry it through the other initiatives once there was consistency. Young people were constantly challenged to live a certain way, but they often did not have any model by which to do that. The initiative was successful in curbing this position. The following were recommendations emanating from the implementation of the initiative that could be used to guide future decision making: Community Action Officers CAOs should be hired on a full-time basis to implement the project in the communities. If the project expands, a full-time CAO would be able to take on multiple neighbouring communities dependent on the size of the community. Liability/Accident Protection Although the project was fortunate not to have any instances of Trainees or Trainers becoming injured during the course of the training programme, liability/accident protection would be an appropriate contingency. Many of the Trainers did have accident coverage for their employees but for Trainees. Vocational Training with the Board of Industrial Training (Ministry of Labour) The MoHA could collaborate with the Board of Industrial Training (Ministry of Labour) in order to maintain the combination of violence prevention/socio-cognitive training with the vocational skills training. Provisions could be put in place where professionals could be present for monitoring the Individual Empowerment Plans. Community Policing It was recommended that, given the relationship between Community Policing groups and the communities, these groups could have structured Violence Prevention Trainings as was implemented for the CAC communities. Anti-Bullying Campaign It was recommended for an Anti-Bullying Campaign to be included within the Violence Prevention Awareness programme at the Government level. Media Campaign One method of crime reduction would be to publish crime statistics in the media. For example, it would assist citizens to make better choices towards their own personal safety if they knew when burglars were most likely to enter their home. School-Based Violence Prevention Programmes Sessions could be held that include drama, role play, edutainment, informational videos, and even movies with guided discussion. School Teachers should be included in the training.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Home Affairs Guyana
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Angela Johnson
Title:   PS, Ministry of Home Affairs Guyana  
Telephone/ Fax:   592 226 2444
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   6 Brickdam
Postal Code:  
City:   Georgetown

          Go Back

Print friendly Page