Russia gets water wardens
Residents of Russia in Westmoreland have been equipped with plumbing skills , including leak detection and water-conservation competencies under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP).
Now trained as water wardens, 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's efforts to regularise households so that residents can become, and remain, legal customers.
Krist Lewis, who is among the new water wardens, 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 said.
Omar Sweeney, managing director of JSIF, said his entity's involvement in Russia is not limited to the water wardens programme. He said that JSIF has upgraded infrastructure in the community by fixing the roadways and improving the 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.
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, a 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 the 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.