Many people today do not see themselves as being crucial or important towards development or improvement of the day to day activities in our little society of Guyana.
As a confession, I must say that I too echoed this sentiment every day.
But what does it take for us to realize and understand that we, the people, are a crucial element to the catalyst of change and development? We, like many before us, must first make that step. We must take that risk and change ourselves, our families, our communities and our country.
I recently had a discussion with a friend about our country and the ever-present topic of population size versus development and the effects of the ‘brain drain’ within Guyana. The sentiment is that we have experienced “brain drain” on such a large scale, that the bulk of our skills and achievements all exist within the diaspora which is the case in many instances.
But my contrary view is that we are BRILLIANT and blessed beyond measure with vast natural resources (both environmental and human). Our real problem is mustering the motivation to get up and push forward towards our goals by utilizing these very resources.
When you travel, you quickly begin to realize that there are few places in the world where you cannot find ‘a Guyanese’ in some key position of prominence including business, industry, community and the judiciary. This would suggest that upon exposure to other environments, we are able to wake up and shoot ahead of the line. So the question begs, why is this not happening at home? Or rather, why does the perception exist that this cannot happen at home?
The United Nations defines community development as "a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. It is a broad term given to the practices of civic leaders, activists, involved citizens and professionals to improve various aspects of communities, typically aiming to build stronger and more resilient local communities."
The Community Development Exchange also defines community development as:
A set of values and practices which play a special role in overcoming poverty and disadvantage, knitting society together at the grassroots and deepening democracy.
It starts with one person, committing themselves toward improving their life.
Change begins and has a greater impact at the lowest level. We cannot and must not sit back and expect that we will automatically get something. The rest of the world is moving ahead and so must we.
Though my thoughts shared here are for everyone, it is my hope that our youth ponder on this particular realization. Understanding that the demographic composition of our country is largely dominated by young people, it is vital that this segment takes the lead in moving forward.
It is often said that youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow but more crucially the partners of today. We have a role to play, not only in a future Guyana but also in the journey to get there.
Putting in the work and dedication towards our education, training and development ensures that we have a place set in the future. It ensures that we do not have to merely settle for what is given. We can ask and receive what we want.
There are many opportunities out there for gaining knowledge; either through educational institutions or training facilities. We just need to take the step to enroll and complete the programs.
Some responsibility also rests with the older generation. Those within the private and public sectors; as well as civil society must be prepared to embrace innovation.
Two popular quotes describe our local mindset "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- (not Albert Einstein but actually Rita Mae Brown) and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the trouble with society: Fixing things that aren't broken and not fixing things that are broken" -- (Thomas Bertram Lance).
We blindly do things ‘our way’, as they have always been done, without even considering other alternatives. Why is this? Of course, we have been able to achieve results the way we have and change may be risky, etc. But this inability to embrace the new has stymied our ability to grow and in essence, we have yet to achieve our full potential as a nation.
The time has come. We must look to ourselves and embrace the idea of development on a deeper, more personal level. It starts with developing our selves, then our families, then our communities and ultimately, our country as a whole will GROW.
Heal Guyana is a registered, not-for-profit organisation which functions as a civil society platform that focuses on empowering Guyanese and influencing citizens toward positive behavior change.
The views expressed herein are those of the Author; they do not necessarily reflect the views of Heal Guyana or its Executives.