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Work in Guyana

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The hallmark and primary focus of Dr. Harding’s working life has been in Guyana. The impact of her contributions can be justly described as ‘significantly impacting’ because of the yeoman service which she has given to her country and its people.

While serving as a Minister of Government in the PNC administration from 1989 to 1992 Dr. Harding was credited with reforming and transforming the Ministry of Public Service of which she was responsible for. During that time, Dr. Harding while being a member of parliament fought vigorously to ensure that new laws and legislations were passed so as to create avenues that the rights of women and children were protected and given priority.

Dr. Harding was instrumental in starting an education programme that was regarded as the best in the Caribbean and has been intimately involved in a wide range of volunteer projects that turned around communities and local neighbourhoods in Guyana. An example of some of the projects and programmes that she implemented included the Tiger Bay area. This saw her rallying a disparate community together to form a committed, rehabilitation group that was focused on rebuilding the community while being able to improve education and economic conditions for youth and women.

Over her short but very significant, hardworking four years as a minster of government, Dr. Harding was able to launch an education and literacy programme. She also was able to institute a training programme geared towards job skills training creation and this also saw a number of persons having their self-esteem and pride among the citizens through a “Miss Tiger Bay” pageant that raised money for local projects being instilled and motivated.

Continuing on some of the programmes she implemented, Dr. Harding executed a community based project geared towards the empowerment of residents in the Den Amstel community where a large percentage of women and mothers lacked marketable skills. Recognising the importance of such an initiative, Faith helped with the building of a skill development program that introduced sewing and cosmetology as viable careers.

Dr. Harding recognising the importance of empowerment further assisted the community in writing grant proposals and successfully solicited funds from international agencies that financed a day care community centre that allowed mothers to earn a living and still have adequate care for their children.

In addition, Dr. Harding  was responsible for the establishment of a private, free clinic that provided counselling services for children and families infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, runaway youth, men and women victims of domestic violence as well as young victims of sexual abuse.

So passionate and committed to her beliefs and ideologies in empowering and addressing issues faced by women and youth that Dr. Harding has continuously expressed that she rather walk away from Government than to waver or stop those battles. As Guyanese would say, she put her ‘money where her mouth is’ as despite leaving office some 18 years now, Dr. Harding continues her voluntary work with women and youth in and out of Guyana.

Dr. Harding despite her unbelievably busy schedule still makes time to speak at various youth and women related functions and activities. Demonstrating her continued passion to what she has declared would be a life time cause, recently made a significant donation to an OECS Media NGO to aid the organisation in its HIV/AIDS Awareness drive. While not knowing much of the group’s work, she readily consented to providing major financial assistance in helping the NGO to sensitise and educate the public on HIV/AIDS and other related issues.

Dr. Harding continues to declare that her principles will never be compromised, and they never are. Many observers have observed, “There are few people in public life who, through thick and thin, rain or shine, good and bad, stick to their principles. Dr. Faith Harding is one of those few, she's a women of great integrity.”

So involved and committed to women and youth development that when the women’s cricket team was almost defunct in Guyana, it was the involvement and actions of Dr. Harding who joined the executive as its President, which resulted in the association’s well needed boost. This resulted in the association’s standards being lifted with many boasting that it was as a result of her timely involvement. It is very important to note that the association today continues to be a viable sports organisation competing nationally and regionally in cricket competitions.

No stranger to the political arena, Faith was a legislator for the Parliament of Guyana and held oversight for the Ministries of Education and Health. She convened and led a political group advocacy for women’s right to choose and mobilised efforts against police brutality. She also interfaced extensively with public, international, regional and civil society organisations to collaborate, strategize and devise solutions for ongoing political issues.

During her appointment as Minister, Dr. Harding led the restructuring of the Guyana Public Service which saw her achieving significant success in decreasing inefficiencies, lowering incidences of redundancies and elevating overall effectiveness of all government programmes.

As Minister she was credited for implementing standard policies for a wide variety of matters relating to public service salaries, rules and regulations, ministry management, government scholarships and student loans. In this multifaceted role, she worked very closely with then President the late Hugh Desmond Hoyte S.C, M.P and headed the negotiations with the international financial and bilateral institutions to ensure adequate financing for major public service projects including the Public Service Reform, Human Resource Development, and Scholarship Grant Aid.

She held the portfolio of Chairman for the Guyana Management Institute for six years and was at the forefront of approving policies on management training for professionals in both public and private agencies. While serving in her capacity as Minister of State with responsibility for the Ministry of Planning and Development, she was very active in setting guidelines for social sector policies and provided guidance to the Ministries of Education, Health, Government Information Service and Water & Environment.

It was in this capacity that Dr. Harding served on key policy directives and their overall impact on the national economy.  While performing Ministerial duties that she served on the Social and Economic Council, Supervisory Council for Public Utilities and the technical advisory team of the State Planning Secretariat.

It was in the late 70’s and early 80’s that Dr. Harding made significant contributions through her roles within the Ministry of Education in Guyana. As the Assistant Curriculum Coordinator, she spearheaded the nationalisation of kindergarten education that allowed cost-free education for all children over the age of three.

Added to her contributions there she was instrumental in formulating the national program objectives, designing curricula and training teachers and educators in the early childhood curriculum development. While as the Assistant Chief Education Officer, she managed the National Nursery Education Program including 300 employees and established national standards for teacher performance and behaviour indicators.

 

 

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