On 8 November 2013 at Bina Hill, a local stakeholder forum was hosted by Project COBRA for community leaders and local governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The forum, like the one held in Georgetown on the 17th October, was aimed at sharing the results and research approaches used by the project over the last two years. The objective was also to get the participants to think of ways they could use the materials and methods within their communities and organsations and potentially influence the development of policy.
The participants were welcomed by Chief Executive Officer of the North Rupununi District Development Board Mr. Ivor Marslow who spoke on what the project was doing and aiming to achieve. Mr. Lakeram Haynes, Project Coordinator, gave a short review of the work that was done over the last two years of the project and the aims of the forum. Ms. Deirdre Jafferally, Doctoral Research Associate on the project, gave an overview of the methods and how they can be used especially highlighting some of the results from the work done in some of the communities. Mr. Ryan Benjamin introduced the resulting best practices – the challenges they represented and some communities’ solutions to these issues. Ms. Jafferally wrapped up the session by discussing the cross cutting themes that were identified during the research and some the key ideas highlighted in the best practices videos.
In the group discussions, participants pointed out how important the materials were in reminding community members of their culture and to be proud of it, how the materials could be used in re-enforcing some activities like self-help – especially since others are attempting to implement what they are doing. Communities in particular think that the methods of videos and photostories could be used to document village history and other current activities to use for information sharing especially with the governmental ministries asking for such materials to help promote what communities are doing. One group said that the research approach could be used to plan community development especially if it is linked to something like a visioning exercise. While unsure how the material could be used to influence policy, they hope the material will influence their community members to appreciate their culture more and to take action to ensure that it’s being carried forward by the younger generations.