With the discovery of large oil reserves, Kyle feels that Guyana is “on the cusp of change,” and highlights the long-standing challenges faced by indigenous communities.
“I want to be in the spaces that make decisions for the land in which I live and represent my people and represent them fairly, using my skills and knowledge both from studies and experience to build a better community,” says Kyle, a BA in Sustainable Student in Guyana.
With the discovery of large oil reserves, Kyle feels that Guyana is “on the cusp of change,” and highlights the long-standing land tenure challenge faced by indigenous communities, and how they have at times been excluded from conversations related to infrastructural and agricultural changes that usually arise – left to merely experience them. As a member of the Wapishana indigenous community in St Ignatius, he is concerned about decisions which may (for example) increase mining and deforestation, with dire consequences, and believes there is a clear need for technical know-how in order to both direct and inform discussions.
I had long been a representative voice for my people, but I never quite had the tools or the knowledge of how we might go about making the change. With all this in mind, I was inspired to start the [BA in Sustainable Development] programme […].
The programme is providing Kyle with knowledge and tools which are applicable to his community’s context and, also through dialogue with other learners, invites him to consider different ways to bring about change.
I want us to continue practising our culture and in fact, ensure that our culture grows and evolves. I would hope for access to quality education and health facilities. Overall, I want us to keep our forests and water free from degradation, but I don’t want us to miss out on modern technologies that improve our standard of living. This course gives me the right tools and collection of knowledge that can be applied to my home region. With each course, I see new applications for my home and I learn about how things can be done differently.