Image – Mrs Sandra Granger, Founder and Chair, Anira Foundation presenting a certificate to a participant of the peer educators training at the Foundation’s office

The Anira Foundation, launched in 2017 by Former First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and PANCAP Champion for Change, Mrs Sandra Granger, adjusted its focus and modus operandi due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The Foundation had planned three Robotics Camps for children during the year in collaboration with STEMGuyana.  It conducted one camp at the Lusignan/Good Hope Learning Centre in January. The declaration of the pandemic and the institution of COVID-19 Guidelines commencing in March caused the scheduling of the other camps to be put on hold until the restrictions are lifted.

Implementation of the Anira Foundation-SCLAN-Gilead Science Project to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people, including avoidance of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, was also slowed by the pandemic. The Project Coordinator and Staff then focused attention on what they could achieve.

They met virtually, liaised with relevant partners and engaged in several intervention activities, including the recruitment of consultants and staff; developing an updated data collection plan; initiating contact with community leaders; identifying peer educators and trainers to be trained; and developing indicators for teen mothers to be assimilated into school or skills training.

While consideration was given to conducting training and interviews virtually, it was discovered that this might not yield optimal results due to problems related to connectivity and cultural biases.  Hence, under strict adherence to the COVID-19 Guidelines, training of peer educators was conducted in November 2020 at the Foundation’s office.  Ten young women were trained for Phase I of the project, which is scheduled to focus on Sophia, a large community on the outskirts of the capital Georgetown (Region 4- Demerara/Mahaica).

The decision was also taken to initiate contact with community leaders in Region 9 – Upper Essequibo/Upper Takutu and Region 1- Barima/Waini so that work could begin on these Phases of the Project.  This would help make up for time lost.

The Foundation recognized the heavy economic burden caused by the pandemic and, through the kindness of donors, provided clothing and toiletries to teen mothers,  distributed COVID-19 relief to teen mothers through “Women Across Differences” and a few single mothers and shut-ins. This was done through the monthly provision of gift certificates redeemable at any Bounty Supermarket.

The Foundation looks forward to the easing of restrictions so that it can continue its work and fulfil its mission of educating and empowering vulnerable citizens of Guyana