YouthBiz students performing community service at a special needs school

YouthBiz 592 Program in Guyana

In March of 2017, YouthBuild International (YBI) officially launched program operations in the country of Guyana. Responding to the Government of Guyana’s request to support a youth entrepreneurship training program as part of the country’s Citizen Security Strategy, YBI collaborated with Guyana’s Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to design a comprehensive and integrated program for at-risk youth. The goal of the program was to prepare young people for self-employment and to increase their leadership capacity and civic engagement in their own neighborhoods, helping to build safer and stronger communities.

Adapted from the YouthBuild program model, the resulting YouthBiz 592 pilot program engaged 86 youth from two communities in Guyana, in an intensive, three-month training program in entrepreneurship; leadership, life skills, and community service; healthy relationships; and, work readiness skills. The young people developed business plans, with ideas ranging from auto repair to block making and clothing design, and received modest grants to implement their plans. One of the highlights of the program was that the young people organized community service projects, including meeting with residents at the Good Samaritan Home and cleaning up that facility. The program, which was implemented jointly by Guyana’s Ministry of Business, Small Business Bureau (SBB), and the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth, and Sports (DCYS), is well positioned for further replication in the country.