Definition of Youth

An analysis of volunteering in Guyana (2010) reports that Guyana’s 1994 youth policy defined youth as those aged 14-25, but states that programs extend this to 30. According to the Guyana Chronicle (2014) the future youth policy will apply to those aged 10-29.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • --

  • Male homosexual acts illegal. Female homosexual are not illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Juvenile Offenders Act of Guyana

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 94.05% Male (15-24) %
  • 94.76% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 86.03%Male %
  • 100.00% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 25.30% Male (13-15) %
  • 16.00% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The national youth policy of Guyana is under development, but the process is apparently very slow.

According to Live in Guyana, a national youth policy was to be finalised at the end of 2011. However, in 2014 the Guyana Times and Guyana Chronicle reported that it is still undergoing a process of consultation involving symposia, questionnaires and focus groups. As far back as July 2011, delays in finalising the youth policy were reported. A second draft of the policy is expected soon. According to the Guyana Chronicle, the objectives of the policy are to; empower, through appropriate responses, youth; to mitigate the negative impacts of development on these Guyanese youth; and to ensure, in a sustainable manner, the well being of all young women and men in Guyana. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Guyana is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS) was formed in 1998 and aims to,

build up a strong, modern, and culturally rich Guyana. The MCYS seeks to nurture youth as a powerful entity that contributes towards affecting economic change, and to channel their energies and ideals into enhancing the country’s social and cultural well being.

The MCYS seeks to,

ensure that youth has equal access to culture and sporting experiences, which cater for their total development, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to contribute to national development.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
According to the Commonwealth Youth Council, Guyana is still waiting for the national youth policy to take effect before being constitutionally able to launch its National Youth Council. An Interim National Youth Council (INYC) has been established. The Guyana Times reported that delegates from the INYC participated in the ninth Commonwealth Youth Forum in Sri Lanka in 2013. A national youth parliament exists. Young people are represented regionally though the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the Guyana Chronicle, in 2013-14 the total budget of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport was GYD 1.071 billion (USD 5.2 million). GYD 935 million (USD 4.5 million) was assigned to Sports and GYD 136.8 million (USD 665,000) were distributed among Ministry Administration, Culture and Youth. It is unclear what amount is specifically for youth. According to the World Bank, Guyana spent 11.55% of its government expenditure and 3.19% of its GDP on education provision in 2012.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From Eye on the Future – Investing in Youth Now for Tomorrow’s Community (2010),
Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, and St. Kitts and Nevis lost between 85 and 90 per cent of their most skilled populations and over 30 per cent of their skilled workforce over the thirty-five year period from 1965 to 2000 (IMF, 2006).
...CARIFESTA is the Region’s largest arts festival of youth. It is a roving, multidisciplinary event that showcases the cultural expressions of primarily young artists from over 30 countries in the Caribbean region. It was established as a result of an appeal from Caribbean writers to West Indian politicians, to introduce a cultural festival to highlight the excellence of the Arts in the Region. The objectives of the Festival were to celebrate the arts, foster a vision of Caribbean unity and to positively advance Caribbean culture regionally and internationally. The Festival was first presented in 1972 in Georgetown, Guyana, and since then has been staged nine (9) times in seven (7) Member States.
From an Analysis of Volunteering in Guyana and Guyana Volunteerism Support Platform Feasibility Study (2010),
Civil society and volunteerism in Guyana have been uniquely shaped by the traditions, cultures and historical experience of Guyanese people. Guyanese civil society evolved in a historical context charged by conflicts, tensions and collective resistance against violations of freedom and dignity.
In 1994 Guyana set in place its most recent Youth Policy with the objectives of fostering unity and patriotism by encouraging youth participation in social, economic and cultural life. It defined youth to be 14 to 25 years old, although in practice related programs extend this to 30 years (e.g. National Youth Parliament).
Youth groups are prominent among volunteer-involving organizations in Guyana. They include numerous relatively informal community, sports or faith-based youth and children’s groups led by adults, groups initiated by and led by youth, and national NGOs with professional staff to implement projects and manage youth volunteers.