White Water in the Mabaruma sub-district, Region One, with a population of approximately 1,200 residents is again targeted to benefit from the hinterland sustainable housing project, having benefitted from the initial component that ended last year.
The project aims to improve the livability of low income households, in pre-selected hinterland communities, improve access to housing, potable water, sanitation, and promote women empowerment.
Minister in the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams being garlanded by a young White Water resident upon her arrival to the village
During a community meeting at the village’s multi-purpose hall on Tuesday, Senior Community Development Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) of the Ministry of Communities, Donell Bess-Bascom reminded residents of the success of the last project.
“In White Water we have been able to construct 22 full houses, we were able to replace 28 roofs and I know there have been more that we didn’t count. White Water has been an exemplary village under this project, your performance has generally been very good because you were the first community we started with under the last project,” Bess-Bascom said.
The initial project (2009-2015) was the first state intervention, specifically dedicated to addressing hinterland housing needs.
Minister in the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams greets a resident at the meeting at White Water Multi-purpose Hall, Region One
“Twelve communities will be part of this process, four of them are in Region One; these include White Water and its satellite villages that come under the administration of White Water. We are looking at Kamwatta and Sebai in Region One and we have eight other communities in Region Nine that we will be implementing under this project,” she said.
Minister within the Ministry of Communities with responsibility for the Hinterland Housing project and Regional Development Dawn Hastings -Williams told the gathering at the meeting that during the project’s execution, jobs will be created for the residents.
Residents of the White Water meeting with housing officials
“That is what cohesive, empowered and sustainable communities means; you must have local economic developmental activities right there in your communities, that is what the Ministry of Communities is encouraging every community to do. When you are thinking about community development plans, get everyone involved,” Minister Hastings- Williams said.
Representing the Ministers in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Advisor to the Ministers Mervyn Williams said that the administration continues to work for the development of the indigenous people and their communities.
“It is about creating the environment for you to enjoy the full sense of your freedom, your rights, your dignity, education and culture and all that makes us the indigenous people we are,” Williams said.
White Water Toshao, Cleveland De Souza said he was happy that the village has been considered for another round of intervention.
“We very much welcome it right now because we have people who are in need of houses and they are living with just the thatched roof, so they are really in need of a house to be comfortable.”
A section of White Water residents at the meeting with Minister in the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams
The new sustainable hinterland housing project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, through a US$3.1M loan. The project is the follow-on to the hinterland housing pilot project that ran from 2009-2015.
The new hinterland Housing project is being funded through a loan from the IDB. Under this project, communities in Regions One and Nine are expected to benefit, with a total of 306 full houses being constructed and 122 roofs being replaced.
Sebai, Kamwatta and Whitewater in Region One and Katoka, Kwatamang and Massara in Region Nine are among the communities to benefit.
Under the first hinterland project, 122 houses were constructed and 86 roofs were replaced. The communities that benefitted include Oronoque and Manawarin in Region One, and Apoteri and Annai in Region Nine.