Region 9 CSOs undergoing Water & Sanitation training

Sixty-four (64) Community Service Officers (CSOs) in Region 9 are undergoing a two-day training exercise to better equip them with the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain the water supply systems in their respective villages.

This training is as a result of a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Housing and Water and Amerindian Affairs, with Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) being the executing agency. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have contributed significantly towards funding for the exercise.

Two participants engage in a practical exercise. Also in the photo is GWI’s Region 9 Manager, John Yow

The participants hail from 32 villages in Central, South-Central and North Rupununi, including Rupertee, Wowetta, Aranaputa, Nappi, Parishara and Shiriri.

During the period of March 3-4, they will be trained in the core areas of the operation and maintenance of Water Supply and Photovoltaic systems, Water Quality and Sanitation.

Practical exercises will cover areas such as solar panel connection and maintenance, leak repairs, new service connections and water sampling and analysis.

Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Mr. Shaik Baksh in his address to the participants at the opening of the training stressed that the Water sector is key to the development of Guyana.

He urged the officers to contribute towards ensuring that there is continuity of water supply in their villages, while alluding to the fact that they would have in the past experienced water shortages or walking miles to access this resource.

A field visit was done to the Culvert City pump station

The CEO said that the Government is placing special emphasis on skill development for youths across the country since there is a deficit.

It is with this in mind that he told the participants that it is vital that they acquire the knowledge and skills to ensure the smooth functioning of the water supply systems in their villages.

He pointed out that having the CSOs better equipped will allow GWI to save money, since there will no longer exist a need for personnel to travel from Lethem for something as simple as repairing a leak.

Mr. Baksh assured that the training will be continuous, since it will continue at the village level with more practical exercises.

He opined that the practical exercises are the most important aspect of the training since this provides a hands-on approach. Adding that he is pleased by the number of female CSOs participating, he noted that for far too long this area has been dominated my males.

The GWI head stressed the need for the water systems to be cared for by the villagers, while urging the CSOs to be Ambassadors in this regard.

He took the opportunity to highlight that by end of 2022, Government would have invested $2B for the development of the Hinterland water sector. He said this is a great commitment to the development of the livelihoods and improvement to the quality of life for hinterland residents.

The Community Service Officers participating in the training exercise

Meanwhile, Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock in his remarks highlighted that often times there’s a lack of skilled personnel to control the flow and distribution of water in the villages and this training while remedy that situation.

According to him, the training provides the participants with the opportunity to upgrade themselves as CSOs and to be a part of regional and national development.

He emphasised that Water is an essential aspect of life, while highlighting that the Government’s aim is to ensure every citizen has access to potable water.

The Regional Chairman charged the CSOs to be humble as they execute their duties in service to their communities. He took the opportunity to express gratitude to the facilitators of the training.

Ministry of Amerindian Affairs representative, Jason Wilson encouraged the CSOs to take the training seriously and give of their best for the betterment of themselves as well as their communities.

He pointed out that for a number of years, there have been issues with regard to the proper functioning of water supply systems due to lack of training. However, the CSOs will fill that gap by monitoring and servicing the systems.

Further, he stated that close collaboration will ensure that the region has the same benefits afforded to those on the coastland.

The representative noted that Government through the Ministry of Housing and Water has been investing heavily in Amerindian communities to ensure access to potable water.