Caribbean Water and Wastewater Capacity Building Programme launched in Saint Lucia

The Caribbean Water and Sewage Association (CAWASA) has launched 2023 with another regional project, this time a series of training courses in Wastewater Treatment and Wastewater Collection to benefit four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-states.

The new project, entitled Water and Wastewater Capacity Building Programme in the Caribbean, is being implemented by CAWASA, in collaboration with the Operators Without Borders (OWB), a Canadian non-profit group of water and wastewater volunteers.

CAWASA’s Executive Director Ignatius Jean says: “The project was initiated on May 23, 2022 when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and CAWASA signed a Small-Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA) under the GEF CReW + Project.”

Its overall objective, he adds, is “to strengthen the capacity-building initiatives in the Caribbean Region by supporting the regional Water and Wastewater Operator training programme currently being implemented by CAWASA.”

Another aim is “to certify a cadre of wastewater operators at the Water Professionals International (WPI).”

Formerly known as the Associated Boards of Certification (ABC), the WPI’s programme is the most widely-recognized throughout North America and the Caribbean and training is offered at Levels I or II, in both Wastewater Treatment and Wastewater Collection.

According to the Executive Director, it also involves “training and certifying utility operators and enhancing their ability to carry out operations and maintenance procedures according to industry standards, no matter the complexity or simplicity of their operation.”

“The project further aims to provide Train-the-Trainer workshops to develop a cadre of qualified regional water and wastewater personnel to conduct tutorials for the certification examinations,” Jean says, “and to provide Continuing Education Credit courses, so operators may comply and be in good standing with their certification requirements.”

The training, he notes, “is complemented by an opportunity for acquiring practical delivery skills in organized classroom sessions where the instructors will make scheduled presentations under the supervision of OWB specialist trainers.”

The courses last five days in each country and each will accommodate a maximum 20 participants, so instructors can give individual help to trainees.

The project — involving Barbados, Belize, Grenada and Saint Lucia — was launched in Saint Lucia January 16-20 and continued in Barbados January 23-27.

The training moves next to Grenada from February 13 to 17, before returning to Saint Lucia March 13 to 17 and ending in Belize March 20 to 24.

The participating utilities are the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) of Grenada, the Belize Water Services Ltd (BWS) and Saint Lucia’s Water and Sewage Company (WASCO).

The tutors for the first two training sessions were Chairperson of Operators Without Borders  Valerie Jenkinson and Skylar Lipson of Georgia, USA.

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