GuyanaGuyana is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, ranking 117 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s human development index. Furthermore, 35 per cent of the population lives in poverty (2006) while 18 percent earn less than 2 dollars per day. Guyana also has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates of 2.4 per cent in the adult population. The critical development issues and challenges facing Guyana include: governance, affected by continuing political conflict and escalating violence; widespread poverty, inequity and disparities between social, ethnic and geographic groups; and slow economic growth and lack of investment. Guyana continues to experience high rates of communicable diseases, as well as high levels of both non-communicable diseases and injuries.

Violence Prevention

The Canadian Red Cross began working with the Guyana Red Cross in 2007 to design and implement a child personal safety program in Guyana. The program, entitled "Be Safe" is based on violence and abuse prevention program developed by the Canadian Red Cross.

GuyanaThe Guyana Red Cross has decades of experience working with vulnerable children. In Guyana, research suggests that eight to ten per cent of girls and two to five per cent of boys have been sexually abused while 87 per cent of children experience physical abuse in their homes, schools or communities. Due to growing evidence in Guyana and around the world regarding child safety, Guyana Red Cross chose to take a leadership role in violence prevention.

The Canadian Red Cross is also supporting the Guyana Red Cross in implementing “Ten Steps to Creating Safe Environments”, a methodology developed by the Canadian Red Cross to strengthen the capacity of the Red Cross to implement effective violence prevention programming. This project helps the Red Cross to integrate policies and management for the prevention of violence against children and take the first step to starting effective community-based programs.

Disaster Management and Risk Reduction

In 2010, the Canadian Red Cross launched a disaster risk reduction project in Guyana. This project was made possible thanks to financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The regional project is entitled Caribbean Community Resilience to Disaster Risk (CCRDR).

At the regional level, the project is developing and piloting a strategic targeting mechanism to determine the location of the most vulnerable communities. At the state and community levels, the project will increase the collaboration between the Guyanese Red Cross with national disaster management agencies and other partners in the country working to increase the resilience of people living in disaster prone areas. This project enables communities to identify and analyse local risks and hazards, to adopt behaviours that will make their homes and communities safer and to prepare for disasters.