Charles Jr announces Water IQ Initiative in schools
Recently, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Pearnel Charles Jr announced the implementation of the Water IQ Initiative (WIQI) at the Rock Hall Primary School. WIQI is a joint conservation campaign that aims to raise awareness among students about the importance of water management in light of the recurring water shortages exacerbated by climate change.
This initiative is a collaborative programme between the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Rural Water Supply Limited and the Water Resources Authority. The full gamut of the programme includes building the capacity of schools to respond effectively to disruption caused by sporadic shortages. Schools will be retrofitted with rainwater harvesting infrastructure, faucets, toilets and pipes, among other physical infrastructure provided by the Rural Water Supply Limited. Essentially, the aim is to increase the capacity of schools to store and obtain potable water while expanding water-conservation efforts in schools.
However, the flagship pillar of WIQI is the introduction of water monitors in schools across the island. Each participating school will have a teacher coordinator and 12 student water monitors who are trained by relevant stakeholders in appropriate water-management practices, techniques and conservation efforts.
To ensure sustainability, a part of the evaluation process includes trimester measuring of water usage and monitoring levels of student engagement as water monitors will be required to execute a project per term. At the end of each term, schools will be given a Water IQ rating based on their activities. This will culminate in an award ceremony at the end of the school year, where schools with the highest Water IQ will be honoured.
Speaking at the launch of the pilot programme, Charles said, “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 developing initiatives to raise awareness within the school … WIQI seeks to activate the activism that resides in every child not just when they are at school, but also in their homes and among their families.”
Rock Hall Primary School was the first school to have its water monitors officially inducted. On October 8, the Water IQ Initiative made its next stop at the Enid Bennett High School, where their water monitors were officially inducted into the programme.
– Contributed by David Salmon