The collaboration with the Provincial Government (Regional Democratic Council of Region 10) was guided by their desire to elaborate a 5-year Development Plan 2008 – 12. The latter was finally published in its draft version a couple of days before I left the country. However, instead of just supervising the work I was forced to write a number of chapters (log frame based activities) on my own because the job abraded three locals during 18 months who were fired, gave up or were not sufficiently fit to get the work done. RDC and the Ministry of Local Government were pleased with the result, a 150-page document dealing with 24 different economic and social sectors.
Local Economic Development: The adoption of the “Participatory Appraisal of Competitive Advantage” (PACA) methodology evidenced a few success stories mainly in the tourism sector (with the assistance of Mesopartner Consulting, Germany; (see www.mesopartner.com). The biggest boost to the local economic development efforts stemmed from the elaboration of the 5-year Regional Development Plan which was realised with the contributions of all sectors and all communities in the Region.
In an effort to render the project personnel more responsible I initiated writing project strategies for 7 sectors (infrastructure, investment, agriculture, training, institutional strengthening, business incubation centre, gender) for which the Project availed of either separate working departments, budgets or planned activities. These strategies were supposed to complement each other while bringing about local economic development.
Tourism (focussing on weekend stays from Georgetowners and foreign birders and nature lovers) has been identified as bearing the greatest development potential in the Region for which I went several “extra miles”. Rockstone and Gluck Island in the Essequibo River off the village of Rockstone (see a few pictures in the photo series below) are near-by locations so rich in flora, birds and animals that I am convinced they can attract even foreign nature lovers bringing in foreign exchange. The foundation of the “Rockstone Tourism Association” in December 2006 has its origin in this beauty waiting to be marketed abroad as soon as the locals are ready with some minor infrastructure.