MONTEGO BAY — The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), on November 25, officially signed a $29 million contract for the upgrading of the Wilson’s Run Primary School in South Trelawny, including overhaul of the outdated sanitary facilities.
The improvement work, which is already underway, is expected to be completed within three months, and includes extensive renovation of existing buildings and construction of a new sanitary block, with three male and five female toilet stalls, to replace pit latrines.
The kitchen will also be expanded, with new deep freezer and an industrial stove put in, while two 800-gallon water tanks and electric pump will be provided; a multi-purpose half court built; the entrance to the school paved; and a 170-meter long perimeter fence erected.
Addressing the signing ceremony held on the school grounds, General Manager of Human Resources and Administration at JSIF, Rhonda Lumsden-Lee, said that the project is in keeping with the agency’s mandate to contribute to community development.
She said that the improvement work, including putting in modern toilets, upgrading of the kitchen, and providing adequate water storage facility, would ensure a safer and healthier environment for students and staff.
"The Ministry of Education endorses the move away from the use of pit toilets within schools as it contravenes Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, which addresses the improvement of sanitary systems. The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) is a strong advocate for this move as well. The inability to adequately harness and store enough water, as well as an under-equipped kitchen, hinders the day- to-day functioning of the school,” she stated.
Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for South Trelawny, Hon. Marissa Dalrymple-Phillibert, said it is important that children have access to modern facilities in schools.
She appealed to the community to take care of the facilities when they are completed. “I want you to know that in these difficult times, Government has made the effort where the funds were not available, to borrow it and make the facilities better for our children here in South Trelawny. I am asking you all, to treat them well so that they can serve you well,” she stated.
The Wilson’s Run school and sanitation upgrading project falls under JSIF’s Community Investment Project (CIP), which is funded by a loan of some US$12 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The CIP focuses primarily on the provision of basic infrastructure in the health, education and transportation sectors in rural Jamaica.
Members of the Wilson’s Run community, as sponsors of the project, are required to contribute a small percentage of the project cost in cash or kind, as part of the condition for approval of funding.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter