About twenty persons in Bong County have graduated from the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) pump technician training program. The training program, under the institution’s improved water and Sanitation Project, is intended to train hand pump technicians as the issue of the maintenance of hand pumps remains a major problem in many communities in the county.
At the graduation ceremony in Gbarnga, the Assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services congratulated CHF for the bold step taken to train the technicians. Assistant Minister George Yango added that the training of the hand pump technicians will assist communities and also generate income for families of the trainees.
Mr. Yango noted that the government, through the Ministry of Public Works, will work with CHF to certify the hand pump technicians. According to him, the government has never had the answer to the way pumps constructed by government and other groups continue to get damaged, noting that there were huge costs attached to their repair.
“As we are talking about providing safe drinking water for our people around the country, we need to have people who can quickly address pump issue in terms of repair,” the Minister said. He admonished the newly trained technicians to work in the interest of their communities, not making money a first priority in their jobs, despite their survival being important.
The Assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services wants increased awareness in communities for community members to properly utilize their pumps. CHF Chief of Party Piet Dries expressed his institution’s commitment to promoting the water and sanitation sector in the country, disclosing that only about fifty eight percent of all hand pumps in the country is functional.
He described the training of the hand pump technicians as the beginning of success. The CHF Chief of Party stated that with such a huge damage, it has made it absolutely difficult for some communities to have access to safe drinking water, creating water borne diseases in their respective communities.
He stated that his entity would give initial contracts to the graduates to start their jobs. The training, which lasted for two weeks, was funded by USAID. Several local authorities attended the closing ceremony.
The trainees, who spoke to the New Dawn, described the program as a wonderful beginning for them and their families, as such acquired skills would truly generate income. They pledged to work with their communities to ensure that there is proper care for their hand pumps. The graduates were presented several tools to jump-start their work.