By Pfc. Khori Johnson, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf Div PAOJune 26, 2010
The Muthanna Province has seen much progress thanks to construction projects that are result of the partnership between the Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Government of Iraq.
The PRT's civil liaison team works with the U.S. State Department as a mediator between the civilian and military elements in Iraq. The liaison team also oversees a variety of projects throughout Muthanna, said Maj. Joseph Hauw, the civil liaison team officer-in-charge with the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade and a native of Riverside, Calif.
Some of the projects currently in the works include the construction of two schools and the rehabilitation of an existing water treatment facility.
The first school, that will serve 400 children, is being constructed in the Bani Samala area. The school currently being used has a student body of 120. Many classes are held outside.
The larger school will be beneficial to the community the area due, said Sgt. 1st Class Duane Mowrer, the civil liaison team noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade and a native of Riverside, Calif.
Some children attending school now travel as far as five kilometers on foot. The new school is expected to encourage more Iraqi parents to allow their children to make the trip.
Once complete, the school is another indicator of the progress made in the Muthanna Province.
"One of the residents, who was also a construction worker for one of the schools, told me that he hadn't seen this much progress in over 30 years," said Spc. Ricardo Mireles, a psychological operations specialist, with 341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company, 17th Psychological Operations Group and native of San Antonio. "So, for them to just have a school in that area is a big deal for them."
The other school, being built in the Samowa area, will be the first of its kind, serving as a hostel for children.
When a student misses a year of school in Iraq, they are not allowed to go back and pick up where they left off; instead, they are considered to be finished with school altogether.
This facility will allow students who have missed any part of their education to return and finish where they left off.
The third facility is a water treatment center which is being upgraded in Samowa.
The plant currently has a filter system that strains out all major foreign elements within the water, such as silt, rocks and other solid pollutants. The PRT plans to incorporate reverse osmosis units into the filtration process to achieve a more potable water source.
Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that uses pressure to separate smaller, foreign materials from water, making it potable. Once these upgrades are complete, the water treatment plant will provide water for about 1,000 residents.
The PRT and Iraqi government have a variety of projects in the works within the Muthanna Province to assist in creating a brighter future for Iraqi citizens, gaining the trust of the populace.
"This is a very slow process," said Mireles. "Building a new government is not going to happen overnight. Even if it doesn't happen in our lifetime, our children will be able to see the progress that we are working today."