December 15, 2019

Jamaica: Government launches water monitoring initiative in schools

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By Garfield Angus From JIS

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (left), pins Water Monitor at the Rock Hall All Age School, Alecia Waugh (2nd right), at the launch of a water monitoring initiative, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, at the St. Andrew West Rural educational institution. Shanakaye Morgan (rght), and other Monitors observe.
Photo: Adrian Walker

Story Highlights

  • To advance the culture of water conservation, the Government has launched a water monitoring initiative among primary and high school students.
  • Under the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), National Water Commission (NWC), and the Water Resources Authority (WRA), are collaborating with 11 schools initially, that have been retrofitted with water harvesting systems.
  • The programme will eventually reach 200 schools to foster sustainability of the initiative, with the assignment of at least 12 monitors in each institution, aided by a teacher or the administrative staff. All the monitors will be trained by the agencies.

To advance the culture of water conservation, the Government has launched a water monitoring initiative among primary and high school students.

Under the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), National Water Commission (NWC), and the Water Resources Authority (WRA), are collaborating with 11 schools initially, that have been retrofitted with water harvesting systems.

The programme will eventually reach 200 schools to foster sustainability of the initiative, with the assignment of at least 12 monitors in each institution, aided by a teacher or the administrative staff. All the monitors will be trained by the agencies.

“The role of the Water Monitors and the Coordinator will be to ensure that the school continues to develop proper water conservation strategies among the entire student body, while simultaneously developing initiatives to raise awareness within the school,” Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said at the recent launch of the programme, at the Rock Hall All Age School, in St. Andrew.

He explained that ‘WiQi’, which is supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, is targeting schools, as they are “critical” in the society for the moulding of the minds.”

The Minister said that schools are among the largest consumers of water, and if “we are to change behaviour in a sustainable way, we must start with our children.”

According to Senator Charles Jr., the programme is seeking to “activate” children for a good cause, not just when they are at school, but also in their homes, to build a firm platform for “water security.”

“The children have a huge responsibility, not just for their school, but for their homes and for the future of our country. If change is to come, it must be preceded by a change in our overall mindset, to ensure that the world that our children are to inherit will be one without the problems that we face today,” the Minister said.

Senator Charles Jr. said the initiative will allow teachers and students to be standard bearers, as the Government is ensuring that as it puts in water infrastructure, promotion is done to encourage behaviour change in the schools, in the home, and across communities.

Meanwhile, Principal of the Rock Hall All Age School, Paula Plummer, told JIS News that the programme “is awesome, as it will help students with their leadership skills, and their own sense of purpose and importance.”

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (4th left, back row), with the St. Andrew West Rural based Rock Hall All Age School Water Monitors, at the launch of the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, at the school, recently. Also with the Monitors (from left, back row) are: Managing Director of the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), Audley Thompson; Principal of the school, Paula Plummer; Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn; Chairman of the RWSL, Councillor Homer Davis, who is also Mayor of Montego Bay; Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Latoya Johnson; and Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Peter Clarke.

For her part, Water Monitor at the school, Gari-Anna McKenzie, said the role is a welcomed one for her. “I feel very happy, because I will be able to help others, and tell them how to use water, and what conservation means.”

Another student, Amaire Sinclair, said he too is proud to take on the responsibility of ensuring that his peers understand their role in preserving water for the benefit of all.

For Managing Director of the WRA, Peter Clarke, preservation must be preached, and “when we educate the children about the water resources, we are educating them about monitoring, managing it, and we are building a future of persons who will have the mindset that water is a precious commodity, and it must be preserved.”

SOURCE: https://jis.gov.jm/features/government-launches-water-monitoring-initiative-in-schools/

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