Westmoreland Community groups given equipment to fight vector-borne diseases and build disaster resilience

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Over 25 residents in three Westmoreland communities have been given tools and digital equipment to help them fight vector-borne diseases and apply Geographic Information Systems to support mapping disaster risks and climate change impacts.

On June 26, the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) of the Caribbean Development Bank and the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) presented tablet computers and toolkits which include power drills, saws, hammers and GIS mapping equipment to the residents.

The recipients had recently participated in a training series on ecosystem-based livelihood approaches which was held under WMC’s Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project. The Project is funded by the CDRRF.

five persons standing with certificates with branded banners in the background
Anthony Lewis, Danna Moodie, Heather Allen-Wedderburn, Denton Campbell and Patricia Campbell who were trained as vector control aides, display their toolkits and certificates from the recent ecosystem-based livelihood enhancement pilot training programme implemented by the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation's Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project. The project was funded by the Caribbean Disaster Risk Reduction Fund, managed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

The community residents from Russia, New Market Oval and Llandilo – Phase 1 were trained in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, small business management, and vector control strategies - including insect screen construction.

The provision of the equipment is a boon for the trainees, many of whom had not been able to use their training due to the impact of COVID-19.

Denton Campbell from Russia in Savanna La Mar completed the vector control aide programme and says the tools will bring him closer to self-development through entrepreneurship.

The programme can create employment and that is one of our biggest problems in Russia, so I decided to participate to help others. Eight of us in the programme formed a group.We are pursuing a business in insect screen and mesh covers for [water] drums. We have already presented our business plan to a member of the Social Development Commission (SDC) and it was well received,” said Campbell, while adding that he would educate fellow residents of Russia they will better understand the importance of putting measures in place to prevent or, at the bare minimum, stem the tide of vector-borne diseases.

At the toolkit presentation, the trainees, also received their certificates from the two-month-long ecosystem-based enhancement livelihood pilot training programme.

“I really want to thank you for participating, and I’d also like to congratulate you because you have finished the programme, in order to get your certificate… here today,” Savanna-la-Mar Mayor, Bertel Moore, said.

CARTS Project Manager, Shadae Allen, explained that the pilot programme formed part of the municipal council’s local sustainable development plan.

She said the integrated vector aide component, was meant to “equip the residents of the community or the training participants with the necessary skills to adapt or to help eliminate or reduce the risk of any kind of vector-borne diseases”. The programme covered construction of insect screens for doors and windows, mesh covers for water containers, as well as small business management,

It provided the graduates with the practical know-how and business acumen to pursue entrepreneurship.

The GIS component, meanwhile, taught participants how to use demarcation technology to record and log real-time data for future reference. The programme’s socio-geographical community awareness training paired coordinate-tracking and geo-mapping applications to obtain and convert data, which will then be used to inform sustainability decisions across vulnerable localities.

Graduate of the GIS programme, Clayton Parchment, is also eager to put his new skills into practice. He explained that the GIS training, developed jointly by HEART Trust and The University of the West Indies, uses precise geospatial mapping technologies  to generate, collect, log, and record disaster-related data in real-time, to a central server for reference.

three males and one female standing holding certificates with branded banners in background
Demetrius Samuels, Keithie Murray, Patricia Campbell and Clayton Parchment were trained in Geographic Information Systems mapping technologies under  training programme implemented by the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation's Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project.  The project is funded by the Caribbean Disaster Risk Reduction Fund and managed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

The tablets with mapping applications which the trainees received are expected to help with disaster recovery and response.

“We’ve actually trained some persons in initial damage assessment to assist with the response effort of disasters,” Allen said, adding that CARTS will enlist the assistance of the GIS graduates for upcoming land-use survey data collection in the parish.

According to Grace Whittley, Director of Planning at the WMC, the project sought to enhance citizen-centred community engagement and development.

“We wanted to involve the community, having a bottom-up approach, allowing the community to phase into the project, giving their ideas and participating,” Whittley said, adding that localised collaboration, paired with GIS technological resources are integral to efficiently gathering information.

The ecosystem-based livelihood enhancement training programme is one output of the CARTS project. The others are the preparation of a flood-control master plan for Savanna-la-Mar, the design and installation of a flood early-warning system, a recently-completed shelter management and initial damage assessment training and the formation of a Community Emergency Response Team.

Allen indicated that they should significantly improve disaster responsiveness in the parish going forward.

The CDRRF is a multi-donor trust fund financed with grant resources from Global Affairs Canada and the European Union. It was established by the Caribbean Development Bank in 2012 to finance disaster risk reduction and/or climate change adaptation gender-responsive initiatives at the community level. The fund has eight sub-projects under implementation in Belize, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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