Submitted by George Herming on Fri, 04/10/2015 - 11:34
Communities across the Solomon Islands will be better able to construct and maintain their own water systems with the support of 27 newly trained Construction Supervisors from government and non-government organisations in all nine provinces.
The Construction Supervisors have just completed a course on how to teach community members or ‘caretakers’ how to maintain their water systems. This includes caretaker roles for both men and women, who may be responsible for flushing out a dam after heavy rain, repairing pipes, replacing washers and taps as needed or cleaning the area around the tap stand.
The course was held from 23 to 27 March 2015 at the Christian Outreach Centre of the International Network of Churches at Balasuna village and included participants from all non-government organisations working in rural water, sanitation and hygiene (RWASH) in the country (ADRA, World Vision, Caritas, Red Cross, Live & Learn, and the Rural Development Program).
In addition to creating a pool of skilled caretaker trainers in every province, the program has also now developed and tested a training course for community caretakers.
The training course included practical experience of delivering caretaker training in village settings. Construction Supervisor teams delivered caretaking training in Koleasi, Veravoulu, and Papangu villages.
On the first day of the caretaker training the men were trained, including a walk to a nearby dam to assess any faults at the dam and along the pipeline, and skills training on how to repair broken pipes. On the second day, female caretakers were trained on how to replace washers and taps and how to clean and maintain the tap stand area.
The communities loved the training and really appreciated the new skills they received. For example, many people in the community wanted to learn how to replace a washer and the tap – and the caretakers and communities expressed a strong interest in using the new skills to maintain their systems. In all three villages, the caretakers then repaired several leaking taps and broken pipeline sections with the help of the Construction Supervisors.
‘This activity gave communities a fresh kick-start for doing their own maintenance and the satisfaction of seeing their water system working again. Everyone found the process very exciting!’ said MHMS WASH Training Coordinator, Leonard Olivera.
‘Now we need to build on this momentum to create a strong system for community maintenance – providing caretaker training, tools to do the work, and follow-up coaching and monitoring to support the community caretakers to use their new skills.
‘We are also motivating communities to collect their own funds so they can pay for spare parts to repair their systems,’ said Mr Olivera.
This course was the third in a series of four courses for government and NGO staff that are developing community water supply, sanitation and hygiene. From 30th -31st March, the MHMS Environmental Health Division had run the final course in the training program – a two day course for WASH Engineers held at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.