Region 1 communities benefitting from improved Sanitation


– as GWI collaborates with UNICEF

Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) – Press Release, Wednesday, July 3, 2019)

Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) is working along with funding partner, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improve access to safe drinking-water, adequate sanitation and good hygiene practices in several Region 1 communities.

What commenced as the Migrant Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme, has now been expanded to see both the Venezuelan migrants and local communities gaining access to improved facilities and conditions through innovative and sustainable solutions.

The prevailing economic crisis in Venezuela has resulted in an influx of migrants to Region 1, leaving many vulnerable and placing strains on the local population in which they integrate. The majority of persons within the migrant population are women and children who occupy make-shift accommodation and have no access to basic amenities.

The WASH Programme is designed to ensure all have access to safe drinking-water, curbing open-defecation and ensuring facilities and awareness exist to encourage good hygiene practices. This is pivotal for the safeguarding of the health and well-being of the migrants as well as protecting the environment.

The company’s collaboration with UNICEF under this programme has thus far seen some 129 migrants at Khans Hill benefiting from a newly installed rainwater harvesting system, Jerrycan water filters and safe drinking-water storage containers.

Additionally, a total of 138 local residents of the Khans Hill community benefitted from equal interventions. Open-defecation was terminated across both the migrant and local populations with the construction of nine (9) Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Latrines, with special provisions for child use. The VIP latrines were also designed with features to enable hand washing with soap, as part of the hygiene promoting aspect of the project.

GWI’s Managing Director, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles recently visited the community, where residents expressed gratitude for the facilities which have improved their day-to-day lives significantly.

Khans Hill Toshao, Ernest Santiago, who has been residing in the community for some 20 years, said this is the first time he has seen such an improvement in the community and the residents are very pleased.

Priscilla Francis, a resident for some 18 years, expressed similar sentiments. “I so very glad about this what going on right now. So much years we in Region 1 in Khans Hill, we never get all this help and I so very glad for all those things we seeing from GWI and UNICEF. For 23 years we never see all these things what happening right now in we community,” she noted.

The intervention will significantly reduce the burden of water collection through precarious terrain to unprotected ponds, which is often borne by women and children. Additionally, the Jerry can water filter and water storage containers will provide an improved quality of drinking-water to both migrants and local residents.

Currently, the project team is undertaking adequacy assessments of the completed WASH interventions to ensure that there are universal benefits, while examining means to strengthen and sustain access to WASH for the Khans Hill community.

Dr. Van West-Charles has promised that the company will continue to provide support to the residents of Khans Hill as part of GWI’s mission to ensure all communities across Guyana have access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

In close collaboration with UNICEF, efforts are also underway to improve access to Drinking-water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Imbertero, Smith Creek, White Water, Kamwatta, Morawhanna and Yarakita communities of Region 1.

Continuing its work in the region, GWI has also facilitated the construction of a sanitary block complete with water trestle at the Mabaruma Post office to provide some relief to pensioners and other users of the post office during long waiting periods. Prior to this, these persons had no sanitary facilities.

The Region 1 Administration lauded the willingness and commitment of GWI to respond to a need that will not only see an improvement in the comfort and convenience to the elderly, but also to their dignity.