Community of Russia grateful for water warden programme

Community of Russia grateful for water warden programme

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

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WESTMORELAND, Jamaica - Residents of Russia in Westmoreland are grateful for the water warden programme, which has the objective of ensuring more reliable access to water supply in the community.

Under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP), people have been equipped with skills in plumbing, with leak detection and water conservation expertise.

They will work with the National Water Commission (NWC) to ensure that residents have access to plumbers in order to fix leaks, thereby reducing water loss and lessening their monthly water bills.

As part of their duties, they will support the NWC efforts to regularise households so that residents can become and remain legal customers.

Krist Lewis, who is among the new water wardens in Russia, said his duties include checking for leaks throughout the community.

He notes that the area has been without regular water supply for some time. “Either the water pressure is low or some persons do not have water, and with NWC and JSIF helping Russia to get water, that is a great thing,” he says.

Sherice Flemming said she was happy for the opportunity to gain a marketable skill.

“I got exposure to certain things that I never dreamed of. I never dreamed of becoming a plumber, so I am happy for the experience. It has even brought me to the decision that I may start selling plumbing equipment or do plumbing work,” she notes.

She says that the effort to regularise water supply in the area is “a good thing… because water is life”.

“I just want to tell JSIF thanks. We really appreciate everything that we are getting done in our community,” she added.

A total of 93 residents in 18 communities across seven parishes have been equipped as water wardens under the Alternative Livelihood and Skills Development Programme (ALSDP) component of the ICDP, which is being funded by the World Bank.

The training was undertaken over a seven-week period by Change Makers Limited.

The participants completed 11,160 contact hours covering theoretical and practical understanding of plumbing, including the use of hand and power tools, testing pipe systems and equipment and routine maintenance; and water auditing and leak detection, inclusive of how to locate leaks, test water quality and test the flow of the water coming from pipes.

The course also covered soft skills such as personal hygiene, public speaking and how to dress for work.

A water day event was held in the community recently, where residents were given the opportunity to register to regularise their water connection. The day's activities also included field plumbing and monitoring activities by the water wardens.

Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said leading up to the implementation of the programme, meetings were held with residents to discuss the needs of the community.

He noted that over the years, JSIF has upgraded infrastructure in the community by fixing the roadways and improving drainage.

“The intention of the transformation of the Russia community is not simply to come in here and run pipes so you have water. We have to look at a complete transformation and this means that you have to have the other skills, the other services, which are necessary to ensure that the community does not fall back but actually moves forward,” Sweeney said.

He commended the Russia Benevolent Society for providing support in the implementation of the programme.

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