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Equipping the youth of Guyana for the digital age

Guyana / Freedom for Equality / 7 dec 2017

In the Caribbean, youth unemployment rates are among the highest in the world. Guyana, the fourth smallest country on mainland South America, has some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the Caribbean region. However literacy rates and school enrolment rates are high among Guyana’s youth, meaning there is an abundance of educated young people looking for opportunities.

The Guyana Animation Network(GAN) is powered by the youth of Guyana. Its founder Jubilanté Cutting created the organisation at the age of just 19. GAN helps young people and freelance artists in Guyana to develop skills in digital media and animation in addition to providing business exposure and networking opportunities for content creators and local animation studios. GAN aspires to create the conditions necessary for Guyanese people from all backgrounds to capitalise on the opportunities available in animation and digital media. They also aim to contribute to the development of the Guyanese industry so that it driven by its people and can become globally recognised. Valuing collaboration and sharing opportunities, the GAN is an active and supportive network whose participants help each other achieve success.

GAN has become instrumental in inspiring young people to get involved in ICT, digital media and animation. Their digital painting summer camp trains 50+ people each year with participants from aged 6 to 35. GAN built on this momentum through launching their first Girls in ICT Interschools Initiative this year, with the theme: ‘Educate, Enhance, Empower’. Through the initiative, GAN aimed to break down the stereotype that careers in ICT are not for women, by highlighting examples of women in ICT projects around the world and the range of opportunities available to them.

Taught basic skills and given access to the relevant technologies to practice them, they then had the chance to design innovative products and services which would be entered into an interschool competition. 11 year old, Rebekah expressed her enthusiasm after taking part in the programme, saying “Girls might think that males are dominant in everything but it’s not [true]! It’s not [true] because girls also have a brain…we have one too!”

GAN are providing creative opportunities for the youth of Guyana; facilitating networking for budding professionals and inspiring the next generation of young animators. Their brilliant founder has built a vibrant, active network of over 80 registered members, over 190 student beneficiaries and 50 public and private local and overseas corporate connections in only 18 months. This indicates the power of youth taking charge to shape their own futures. 

Guyana Animation Network’s founder Jubilanté Cutting was a winner of the 2017 Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards in the Youth Activist category.