In Sierra Leone, our partners CODE-SL have been out in the communities this last month conducting pump minder training; which ‘aims at giving knowledge on the roles and responsibilities of pump minders to ensure proper usage, management and maintenance of community boreholes to support healthy living in our communities’. We asked CODE-SL about the activities they conduct during this training as well as the importance of conducting such training.
Prior to the training being organised, an agenda is agreed with the relevant line ministries before invitation letters are then distributed. It begins with the ‘purpose of training’, delivered by the project coordinator, they outline ‘the project activities implemented in that district clearly stating the need for the maintenance and sustenance of the boreholes. Noting that it is for the community to have access to safe water for drinking cooking and personal hygiene. It is believed that this will enable them to reduce carbon emission since the community will no longer need to boil water to make it safe. Therefore, access to safe drinking water conforms to SDG’s 3 and 6 and reduces carbon emission in rural communities’.
After the training is opened with the purpose, the participants are instructed on topics ‘ranging from the pump set up, maintenance skills, tools, and their uses, how water sources are contaminated water treatment skills’. Through the skills learned and in the training environment the team hope the training will be time for the pump minders to ‘meet and identify knowledge gaps, share best practices and experience for the general good and upkeep of the boreholes in their communities’. The training is also a time where tool required for minor maintenance can be shared with the communities
When asked about the importance of the pump minder training, the team said:
“The importance of Pump minders training will not be over emphasized. It is a sustainability approach to the project. The implementing partner will not be around at all times to ensure the functionality of the hand pump. The hand pump minder who is part of the water management committee should be trained to have the technical skills to do minor maintenance on the hand pump when the need arises. He should also ensure that the environment around the water facility is kept clean at all times to prevent contamination which will lead to diseases. Most boreholes targeted in this project fell into disrepair because of ineffective committees to maintain and sustain the facility. It is therefore believed that training of the pump minders will help to keep boreholes functional at all times”
The team also highlighted a number of key reasons why the pump minder helps achieve the above.
- The pump minders are trained in use of tools and equipment used in the repair of hand pumps
- Trainees will know how water sources are contaminated in respective communities and the basic water treatment skills
- Trainees will be given practical experience in the assembly and dismantling of different types of hand pumps.