UG Public Management students maintain Shirley Field-Ridley playfield
PUBLIC Management students of the University of Guyana (UG) have been engaged in the rehabilitation of community grounds and other facilities, as part of their Municipal and Regional Government course.
Donna McKinnon, Head of Department for Government and International Affairs and the lecturer for Local Municipal and Regional Government course, told the Guyana Chronicle on Friday that this is the first time she has decided to have her students engage in the practical aspect of the course.
She explained that there are several groups of approximately 12 students each who are engaged in community projects across Regions Three and Four. “They have been given a project as part of their course assessment this year and so, in different communities, we have students who have chosen a project,” said the lecturer, who was at the time at the Shirley Field-Ridley Square, where a group of her students were busy rehabilitating that community’s playground.
That playground has been in a state of disrepair since the early 2000s, residents said and since then, the children of the community have not been able to benefit from it. Though the projects are not funded by the University of Guyana, the students have reached out to civil society, the business community and residents for assistance. “The students have taken it upon themselves mostly to engage the community, fund- raise, approach sponsors for donations…and so that’s how they are being funded …not by the university, but through their own means of funding.”
The project should be completed by the second week in April, McKinnon stated. She added that some of the students are working in North Ruimveldt, Plaisance, and Diamond in Region Four, as well as communities in Region Three. Further, the lecturer noted that several orphanages will benefit from the projects.
“Local government should not just be theoretical – they are expected to go into the community and do these things…if we want to have them involved in the community, these things are necessary. These are ways they can start contributing to their communities,” she said. The students have received permission from the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to execute their projects. Meanwhile, Sandra Barker, a resident of Shirley Field-Ridley Square, told the Guyana Chronicle that she is pleased that the students of the University of Guyana have chosen her community.
“I think it is a very good initiative and it should give impetus to the community to continue the good work… to maintain and sustain the effort, so that as the President said, we can have a real green space in Shirley Field-Ridley.” Barker, who started living in Shirley Field-Ridley Square in the 1990s, said the playground went into a state of disrepair in the early 2000s. “I guess the young people that grew up in the community with their parents a lot of them have migrated, and you have new persons coming in— this effort should motivate persons to really maintain it,” she stated.
Like Ms Barker, other residents are happy that the playground is being rehabilitated.
- The University of Guyana