ICRC trains 57 national society volunteers in water and sanitation
On 20 April, a seven-day training course in water and sanitation for volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent was completed by the ICRC.
"The training was carried out within the framework of efforts to expand the capabilities of our partner national society," said Jean-Marc Burri, in charge of the ICRC’s water and habitat activities in Syria. "Because damage to the water infrastructure in the country keeps increasing while the capacity of the local water boards to respond keeps diminishing, it is absolutely essential that there be technical expertise on issues relating to water and sanitation in every single branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, so that continuous support can be provided for the local water boards."
Speaking on behalf of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Firas Farras, the national society's water and sanitation coordinator, said: "A total of 57 volunteers, including engineers, participated in the training, which took place in a camp in Tartous. Through vivid examples and on-site demonstrations, the volunteers were taught in practical terms how to handle the water supply system in an emergency crisis situation." Mr Farras added: "We are going to help the water board authorities by delivering water purification items and technical supplies to water stations that are difficult to reach."
Among the skills taught by ICRC water engineers was how to erect and dismantle water and sanitation infrastructure, including showers and toilets, in camps for displaced people, how to install water tanks and water stands, and how to operate different types of pumps. In addition, the ICRC’s water engineers explained how to assess water and sanitation needs and how to resolve basic problems.
"In this training course, we were able to explain the problems we are facing on the ground on a day-to-day basis and discuss solutions. The course was also a great opportunity to share our expertise and experiences with our colleagues in the numerous Syrian Arab Red Crescent branches across the country," said Mahmoud al-Theebo, a volunteer from the Red Crescent branch in ArRaqqah, who was speaking of his own experience of the course after returning to ArRaqqah from Tartous.
"It is sometimes very difficult for the ICRC to reach certain parts of the country because of the heavy fighting. Knowing that there are volunteers who possess technical knowledge and expertise in water and sanitation in every single Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch across the country will make it easier for us to coordinate some of our water support projects and ensure that they continue," said Mr Burri.