Valini Leitch
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Programme History

PROGRAMME HISTORY, ACHIEVEMENTS AND ASSETS

ChildLinK’s origins dated back to 1995 and the registration in Guyana as a branch of the Christian Children’s Fund of Great Britain (CCFGB).  In 2002 CCFGB merged with the European Children’s Trust to form EveryChild, and the branch was re-named EveryChild Guyana.

During the 1990s, the programme approach was providing direct aid to children in need, mainly in Georgetown. During the 2000s, EveryChild Guyana, along with its parent organisation, adopted a rights-based approach to programming, and focused its attention on children separated from their families or at risk of being so. The change from direct aid to a rights-based approach introduced efforts to develop projects that not only changed children’s lives, but also resulted in the sustainable development of Guyana’s child protection system.

From 2003 to 2006 the programme focused on basic health care, primary education and orphans and vulnerable children, particularly those living with or affected by HIV and AIDS in Linden and Georgetown. The end of programme evaluation found that work with children, parents, caregivers and teachers had resulted in a significant reduction in abuse of children in the home and in school. Through listening to children, the programme had learned that the children’s priority issue was violence and abuse and a desire for emotional support to deal with it. A study to prepare for the next strategy period revealed a clear connection between family violence and children losing parental care.

From 2007 to 2011 the programme was implementing EveryChild Guyana’s final Country Strategic Plan. Part of the plan concerns Evc UK’s strategic withdrawal from Guyana in March 2011 and the handing over to ChildLinK.   The legal winding up has been undertaken by EveryChild Legal Representative and ChildLinK as ChildLinK absorbed the programme and all its resources including the Human Resources.  The strategy of 2007/2011 delivered through four main projects: OneLife, Pickney, Every Child Counts and Partnering with MHSS Piloting Foster Care – alternative family based care and HUG.

  • In the OneLife Project 1,600 parents and caregivers in Linden and Georgetown have participated in parenting skills training to help them to improve their relationships with children in their care and create safer homes for their children. Four partners inclusive of MHSSS – CCPA, Linden Care Foundation, Ruimveldt Children Aid Center and Dorothy Bailey Municipal Center implemented this project.
  • The Pickney Project facilitates linkages between families, community representatives, faith-based organisations and government services (health, education, police, courts) in three communities to strengthen the child protection system.
  • The Every Child Counts Project serves communities in Georgetown renowned for high levels of crime and violence. 1,150 primary and secondary school children have participated in regular education and information sessions on children’s rights. Caregivers have been trained in caring for children without using violence. Teachers have been trained in child protection and child-centred teaching methodologies. The project has supported the strengthening of parent-teacher associations and encouraged children, parents and teachers to take ownership of developing their community non-violently.
  • The Child Care and Protection Agency, MHSSS, Unicef and ChildLinKInc piloted Foster Care in Guyana. ChildLinK the implementing partner provided services to 100 children placed with families for foster care and maybe adoption, thereby reducing the number of children in institutional care.   This was scaled up to the alternative family based care.