UNDP and Partners train community water maintenance assistants in Makeni

23 Jul 2011

image Joseph Conteh, a community plumber, fixing pipe leakages in Mapaki village, Northern Sierra Leone (UNDP/C. Thomas)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR), UNICEF and Muloma Womens Development Association (MUWODA), a Community Based Organisation has trained 12 community plumbers, from Bumbuna, Mapaki and Kabumban communities for the maintenance of the Gravity –fed water systems, last weekend in Makeni city.

The training was climaxed with the distribution of various sets plumbing tools for each of the three communities including large and small wrenches, dicing machines, shifting spanners, hacksaws and solvent paste.

During a field trip to Mapaki where trainees were practicing their newly acquired skills, Paramount Chief of Paki-Masabong Chiefdom, Mansa Paki Kebombor II said “the water gravity-fed system has helped us a lot in this chiefdom with 50 out of the 70 villages in the chiefdom enjoying clean drinking water”

Mr. Andrew Moseray, lead trainer and Bombali District Coordinator in the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Water Supply Division stated that the gravity-fed water system is a cheap and effective way of providing clean water in communities that have the natural potential for gravity fed system.

“This method is highly cost effective. It does not involve using fuel to pump the water. You don’t even need a pump, this means the communities can afford to maintain it themselves.” Mr. Moseray stated adding that the training is in line with the policy of the Ministry of providing sustainable water facilities for rural communities across the country.

He added that the training seeks to consolidate the capacities of community water assistants who have already been working in their various communities. ”This training will help the communities provide effective services without any outside intervention. We believe in the community led approach which will make provision of clean drinking water in Sierra Leone very sustainable.” Mr. Moseray said.

UNDP Project Officer, Sahid Abu-Dingie explained that the training is done in partnership with UNICEF, the lead UN agency in the Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) sector as well as the Water Supply Division (WSD) in the MEWR. He added that the training is designed after careful consultation with all stakeholders and participants selected based on their availability and willingness to serve their communities on a voluntary basis. Mr. Abu-Dingie said “This training will complement the work of UNICEF and partners within the Community-Led Total Sanitation programme in the Bombali District so that the communities will effectively maintain the Gravity system as well promote hygiene and sanitation.”

Nadia Kalma, an enthusiastic volunteer and student of Boyo Memorial Secondary School in Bumbuna Town said that the training has been very useful. “Firstly I have learnt a lot about improving my own personal hygiene, the importance of clean water and how clean water prevents many diseases. Bumbuna town will also benefit a lot from this training. We used to have only one water attendant and if he travels away and there is a major problem with the gravity water system, there is no one to fix it, our town will go for days without water. Now all of this will change we will be at the service of the community at all times of the day at short notice”

Joseph Conteh from Mapaki said “the gravity fed system has helped reduce cholera and related diseases here. I am taking this task very seriously, I will monitor to ensure that no trees are cut around the dam to prevent the dam drying up and every week I will check the pipes that run into the town to detect and fix any leakages.”

This training activity is one of many activities that are delivered through the UN Joint Vision Programme 20. The Joint Vision contains 21 Programmes and is the UN’s contribution to the Agenda for Change, Sierra Leone’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Contact Information

Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232  Email: abdul-karim.bah@undp.org