The timber koker built by CIIP workers in Siparuta
- Assisting Village Council to maintain communities- Toshao
“The Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) is of great assistance to the Orealla/ Siparuta Village Council, which does not have sufficient revenue to employ persons to help maintain the communities,” says Floyd Edwards, Toshao of Orealla/ Siparuta.
Orealla and Siparuta are two adjoining Amerindian communities situated on the left bank of the Corentyne River, approximately 60 miles from Crabwood Creek, Region Six. The main economic activities are logging, agriculture, and small scale farming.
According to Edwards, the Village Council is thankful to Government for implementing CIIP in Orealla/ Siparuta despite the communities’ remoteness. Residents, employed as Community Enhancement Workers by the Ministry of Housing and Water, are currently supporting the efforts of the Village Council.
Every Monday, residents of Orealla and Siparuta engage in cleaning up activities. However, this once a week activity is insufficient when compared to the needs of the communities.
“Whenever it rains, water running down the hill would settle on the clay valley making the ground slushy and slippery…But with the recent drainage clearing activities, the water runs off into the drains,” the Amerindian leader said.
According to David Henry, Community Enhancement Team Leader for Orealla, the team has a three-month work programme outlining the works to be done. Cleaning of the drains is a priority and is done continuously.
Community Enhancement Workers also assist to carry out routine minor repairs to infrastructure. In fact, since the team began works in early November three bridges along the public thoroughfare were repaired.
He recalled, “One day a young man riding a bicycle towing his little sister from school fell off his bike as he tried crossing over the bridge which was just a plank…he broke his hand.” Due to the efforts of the CIIP, such risks are largely mitigated.
Besides, enhancing the environment CIIP has provided an avenue for residents to earn a living. Henry said among the workforce are women who have children attending secondary schools outside of the villages. “The money earned through CIIP is a guaranteed monthly financial support for those children,” he stressed.
This sentiment was expressed by Toshao Edwards, who believes the earnings from CIIP will add to the income of the households.
“The design of CIIP for employees to work for 16 hours per week allows individuals to utilize their energies in other income generating activities…It is a positive project and I know for sure those employed are happy…I am happy for it…and the residents are pleased with the work done,” Edwards noted.
To enhance the drainage network in Siparuta the Community Enhancement Worker and Community Enhancement Team Leader built a timber koker to drain water from the health centre compound, playground and residences.
They have also weeded the parapets and cleaned the drains along the main thoroughfare. The next task to accomplish is the rehabilitation of several timber bridges along the main thoroughfare.
The Village Council, as well as, residents is pleased with the work of the Community Enhancement Workers.
Team Leader David Henry stands near to one of the recently built timber bridges in Orealla