Gov’t, WASH CSOs Meet To Enhance Sector
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information on Monday held a consultative meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector to discuss enhancement of Liberia’s WASH sector.
At the meeting, CSOs and development partners called on the government to, among other things, strengthen the nation’s WASH sector through making operational the Liberia’s Wash Commission (LWC).According to the Liberia News Agency, the meeting with the WASH CSOs and partners followed an invitation from the Ministry of Information amidst protest actions staged by actors and CSOs of the WASH sector in Monrovia recently.
The CSOs’ action was intended to draw government’s attention to lapses in the country’s WASH regime as well as petition government to act in keeping with the enacted WASH legislation which established the LWC.
“Water is life and sanitation is dignity. We strongly believe that in order to achieve our Pro-Poor Agenda, issues in the WASH sector must be given serious attention,” said Timothy Kpeh, who is Executive Director of United Youth for Peace, Education, Transformation and Development in Liberia.
The establishment of the Wash Commission by government, according to Kpeh who did the overview of the meeting, will put into place the legal framework through which the sector can operate, thereby affording government the opportunity to utilize available funding from donor partners in strengthening the WASH sector.
Also speaking at the meeting, the National Project Coordinator of the United Nations Development Program Goal WASH, Momo Kamara,, said the UNDP played an important role in the formulation of Liberia’s Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in 2009.
The policy, according to Kamara, recommends that there should be a Ministry of Water and Environment which will supervise the WASH sector.
Karmara said as a result of the lack of a functional framework to steer Liberia’s WASH sector, the country has not been able to make representation at meetings of the Ministers Council on Water and Sanitation.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Eugene Fahngon, assured the CSOs that their request which seeks to promote transparency, accountability and sustainability in the WASH sector will be communicated to the President through the Ministry of Information.
“There is a law establishing the WASH Commission and as such CSOs should not worry about its implementation,” Fahngon said, noting that “there is a law and we must respect the law.”
“We talked about sanitation and hygiene, no one understands it better that our President, that is why you have the Weah for Clean Cities,” he indicated.
The Liberia WASH Commission was created through an Act of Legislature and signed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on November 15, 2017.
It is one of several instruments that have been featured in documents produced by the WASH sector since 2012 as it seeks to bring about harmony and reduce the fragmentation that exists in the sector.