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The immense potential of information technology can never be over-emphasised and its impact should certainly never be restrained from reaching the remotest of areas.  This view has over the years been embraced by many, including Computer trainer Mark Holford who, with the vast information technology training he acquired over the years, has sought to take this modern-day form of communication to parts of Guyana’s hinterland.Mark HolfordHis effort was supported through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), a programme which was executed through the Government, aimed at poverty alleviation.The mission of this Caribbean Development Bank programme is to be a community development programme that supports health, education, water and sanitation access and economic activities through skills training, organisational development and infrastructure and services.Having started in 1979 with financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the programme, which has also received funding from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has facilitated skills training in not only Guyana but has impacted Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Cheap Jerseys For Wholesale, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Turks and Caicos.According to Holford, a BNTF pilot programme was officially introduced to Guyana about two years ago with an information technology focus, and was geared at reaching early school leavers and single parents, mainly Amerindians, residing in the hinterland.With a plan in place, Government was tasked with procuring the requisite computers, while the target communities were expected to provide a suitable building to facilitate training sessions.The main objective, according to Holford, was to train the participants with a view of giving them the ability to implement an information technology centre that could independently generate revenue towards the development of their community.“So when we would’ve trained these people it was expected that they would later secure internet access and even turn the whole project into a documentation centre where they can employ people to work fulltime to do things like photocopying. We also expected facilities for browsing the internet would have become a reality, ” Holford said.He was among the first trainers who descended on Hururu, an Amerindian community situated on the Upper Berbice River, to facilitate training in Microsoft Office and other computer programmes.Holford revealed that the one-month long programme indeed yielded results, as the bauxite mining entity, Rusal, not only sought to recruit some of those trained, but requested that the same training be administered to its staffers.“At the graduation for that programme, the Personnel Officer for Rusal asked to see the training manual that we were using, and was very impressed… and right there she announced that she wanted training for her staff. That meant immediate revenue for the community, because they were going to use the same building to receive the training and they had to rent the computers.”In addition to Rusal seeking to hire some of the top performers of the class, the Hururu Village Council also employed some of those trained.Similar results were realised in Mabaruma in Region One, Holford related. In fact, he revealed that it was even before the graduation, last February, that the ability of the participants of the programme was recognised.Having been a part of the programme, which has transformed many lives, Holford disclosed that he has been left in a state of awe since according to him “when you work with somebody who comes from nothing and you help to bring them to another level it is so satisfying.”In highlighting how the lives of the impacted residents have since improved, Holford said that he is confident that knowledge in information technology can play a major role in helping to address the scourge of poverty, which he regards as a far-reaching social epidemic.

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