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Knowing where we are is ‘the entry point to being, where we want to be’: a self-assessment is a useful tool.

As the name, ‘self-assessment’ implies a community assesses itself based on the vision it has created. In its effort to achieve its dream “Peaceful retirement and healthier lifestyle through a better education and from SMART work”  the indigenous trusted leaders of Mainstay / Whyaka identified the following practices that will ensure that they achieve their vision:

  1. Better health
  2. SMART Agriculture
  3. Tourism and clean energy opportunities
  4. Improved education
  5. Improved infrastructure
  6. Sports
  7. Culture

Self-assessment as a tool is a path towards a competent lifestyle or towards [natural] behavior  






We know that we need to act

We know how to act

We act Consciously

We act systematically

Our action has become natural

“It’s important, but how to do it?”

“... but we don’t do it” or 

“Once in a while!”

“we are eager ...

enthusiastic ... but it’s hard!”

“we do it regularly… but we need to think about it”

 I don’t feel well if I don’t do it”

In the self-assessment, participants first describe level 5, where the practice becomes natural and they say to themselves “I don’t feel well if I don't do it.” Then, based on the level 5, the community in a candid conversation identifies the level, the members agree that they are at, at this moment in time. The final decision as to the level is based, not on a vote but on the candid conversation and compromise. No one participant after the self-assessment should say “ I was not a part of the final decision but feel a part of the decision making process. Doing so, illustrates inclusivity, transparency and full participation by members of the community. Here is the final decision of the Mainstay / whyaka trusted leaders.


Where are we now 

Level 5 description

Better health


We are conscious that better health is a need, however our community lacks some of the resources such as a cottage hospital,vehicle and telephone services. A  local pharmacy could also help with the provision of a better health service. We are also lacking the competent staff needed in several areas to make the health services better.

Healthier lifestyle from the provision of better health services, good nutrition, diet and exercises. A Cottage hospital with full complement of staff. Vehicle and telephone services for providing better service to community members such as the elderly and very sick or emergency needs. Must have a proper hygiene and sanitary block. As well as a pharmacy facility. Promote healthy diet and exercise. 

SMART agriculture


Agriculture is an important area to create employment and contribute to the improved economy. We recognise this importance and have been looking for an opportunity to seek requisite support. Scanning for opportunities results in a submission of a project to CFLI. We want to use innovative and modern technologies to adapt to climate challenges. We also are starting a poultry and fish project with support from the government.

Appropriate technological innovation contributing to food security, self sufficiency and livelihood. Value-added innovation for pineapple, coconut, cassava, black potato, sugar-cane. Cut flower / ornamental flower production in shade house with requisite training.Cattle rearing. Grafted nursery. Development of large scale agriculture in the Siriki area. And sustainable development of value-added / agro-processing initiatives. A ‘revolving fund’ supporting local sustainable climate and agriculture SMART initiatives. 

Tourism and clean energy opportunities


Tourism is a growing phenomena in the world. We are attempting some things such as a guest house  and a ‘sunset’ yacht. We would like tourism to contribute more to livelihood opportunities. It has significant potential but we have to make it a reality.

Tourism and clean energy as a major livelihood opportunity. Mainstay / Whyaka prominent on the GTA calendar. The main source of renewable energy, Mainstay / Whyaka residents enjoy a better quality of life socially and economically. Competent in customer services including tour guiding. Development of Arouca

Conservation practices considered for the expansion area comprising 9 sq miles which will be zoned appropriately for agriculture and conservation opportunities including ecosystem services.

We have a Mainstay DAY.

Improved education


With support from the government are are producing skilled personnel . We have a computer laboratory, access to the internet, and evening classes. We recognised the need for more trained teachers. We also support students of the secondary school system on the coast by providing transportation for them.

A better education system contributing to a paradigm shift towards a skilled and professional human resource base of our community. Education must be a priority in the village. The computer lab must be run efficiently by youths and access to the internet. There is a need for more trained teachers. Youths should have access to better job opportunities and create more opportunities for them. Provision of transportation [electric bus] to schools on the coast. Provide more opportunities for more education such as evening classes,skills training [carpentry and plumbing]. Residents understand the Amerindian Act [2006] and Village Rules to guide our developmental initiatives in a sustainable, just and equitable manner. Free Prior and Informed Consent is inherent in the governance and external relations.

Improved infrastructure


Our roads and especially the primary school building need attention for quite some time. The required effort is not being put forward to achieve the positive results. 

The road networks including our airstrip are strong and sustainable supported by adequate hospitality services for other communities of practices. 



To achieve level 5 requires time, specific training and coaching of the members of the different sport disciplines. This effort also requires the responsibility of the Village Council. 

It brings unity, helps to maintain discipline, and distracts from social ills, reduces stress. It's a positive addiction. Promote water sports even more.  networks



With respect to language we have made several attempts to encourage people to earn the arawak language. This has not been sustainable. We have also attempted or do craft, dances, traditional foods and beverages only occasionally. We also think of doing traditional hunting and fishing. 

Language revival, traditional food and beverages promotion, craft production, dance revival, resuscitation of traditional hunting and fishing, and music promotion. Traditional knowledge development.

Where we are respect to the level 5 

Illustration: how does the levels of competence apply to their practices

Following the self-assessment, the leaders find it easier to develop a roadmap that is SMART to take them from where we are now to the level 5. Achieving the level 5, is an indication that the community is on its way to achieving the collective dream.

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Comment by Lyndon Welch on January 12, 2023 at 8:25pm

well done my friend, we should restart this again in the various communities 

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