Sun | Sep 20, 2020

Earth Today | Westmoreland community groups readied to build disaster resilience

Published:Thursday | August 6, 2020 | 12:09 AM
Trainees in the Geographic Information Systems mapping technologies (from left) Demetrius Samuels, Keithie Murray, Patricia Campbell and Clayton Parchment show off their certificates of participation.
Trainees in the Geographic Information Systems mapping technologies (from left) Demetrius Samuels, Keithie Murray, Patricia Campbell and Clayton Parchment show off their certificates of participation.

MORE THAN 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 (GIS) 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 the WMC’s Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project. The project is funded by the CDRRF.

The community residents from Russia, New Market Oval and Llandilo – Phase 1 were trained in geographic information systems 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 aid 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 and it was well received,” said Campbell.

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,” said Savanna-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore.

CARTS Project Manager Shadae Allen explained that the pilot programme formed part of the municipal council’s local sustainable development plan. She noted that the integrated vector aid 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 also provided the graduates with the practical know-how and business acumen to pursue entrepreneurship.

The GIS component 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.