In a significant move towards promoting education and reducing inequality, SBM Offshore Guyana has launched a scholarship programme aimed at empowering indigenous women to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at the University of Guyana.
The announcement was made during the grand launch of the “Scholarship Programme for Indigenous Women in STEM” on July 19. This initiative resonates with the company’s commitment to supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Four—Quality Education and Goal Ten—Reduced Inequality.
The launch event was attended by key figures from SBM Offshore Guyana, including General Manager Martin Cheong; Sustainability and Social Impact Programme Development Officer Gwenetta Fordyce, and Sustainability Coordinator Uma Madray. Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, and Marti De Souza, the Ministry of Education’s Deputy Chief Education Officer with responsibility for Amerindian and Hinterland Development, were also present to extend their support.
During the event, Mr. Cheong expressed the company’s unwavering commitment to the development of Guyana’s young talents, particularly in the oil and gas industry. He emphasized, “Our wish is that the beneficiaries of this programme receive a quality education through the University of Guyana, giving them equal opportunity to contribute to the nation’s workforce and benefit from the oil and gas industry. We believe that nurturing the skills and talents of Guyanese youth will transform the country and encourage them to explore careers in this industry.”
Ms. Fordyce shared her perspective on the scholarship’s primary goal, which is to empower Indigenous women with the knowledge, skills, and academic prowess to make a positive impact on their communities. She highlighted, “Through this scholarship programme, Indigenous women will acquire an undergraduate degree, resulting in transformative leadership, improved livelihoods, diversified income generation, and job creation.”
Dr. Mohamed-Martin commended SBM Offshore’s prompt action in materializing their idea and launching the scholarship programme. She expressed her admiration, stating, “It is remarkable that just a few months ago this year, they had this conversation with us, and today we are actually launching this.”
Mr. De Souza echoed her sentiments and praised the company’s dedication to the development of Guyanese, emphasizing that the scholarship programme would play a crucial role in enhancing Guyana’s human resources, particularly among Indigenous women and girls.
The eligibility criteria for the scholarship required applicants to be Guyanese Indigenous women either entering the University of Guyana or already enrolled as second-year students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics, with a Grade Point Average of 3.2 and above. Applications were accepted through the official portal, and the deadline for submissions was set for August 20, 23:59hrs.
This scholarship programme adds to SBM Offshore Guyana’s efforts in developing the country’s human resources. Among its other capacity-building initiatives are the Graduate Engineers’ Programme and Trainee Technician Programme, all aimed at fostering local talent in Guyana.