MRU Embarks on WASH Initiatives

Presidents Sirleaf and Koroma of Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively
Presidents Sirleaf and Koroma of Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively

Border communities in the Mano River Union (MRU) Basin will shortly benefit from the provision of safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene services.

The Initiative is part of the Mano River Union WASH Programs in the river basin to assist rural communities have access to safe water provision in the area.

In an interview with WASH Journalists in Monrovia recently, the Resident Representative of the Mano River Union in Liberia, Lawrence Morris said efforts are now on the way to ensure that WASH services are provided to border communities in the MRU.

MRU  Resident Representative to Liberia , Lawrence Morris
MRU Resident Representative to Liberia , Lawrence Morris

He said the provision of safe WASH services will assist the Union in fighting the outbreak of diseases and it would help improve the health condition of citizens of Member States.

Mr. Morris said funding is one of the major issues that is been considered by authorities in the Union for the implementation of these projects.

He disclosed that the eruption of the Ebola crisis in the Mano River Union Basin also brought a setback in the Union’s WASH Programs.

As part of the MRU WASH Initiative, the Union in concert with the United States Government Training has taken place in the United States  which aimed at making use of rivers to supply safe drinking water in communities near streams and river in the MRU Basin.

He disclosed that the training showed participants how to use stream water to send pipe borne water into communities and revealed that besides the training in the US, there are also some project initiatives from the training in the USA-MRU/USFS Initiative on Water Resource Management.

Similar program is ongoing in Sierra Leone with the Mano River Union and the US Forest Service, International Programs are implementing the third phase of the Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West Africa Regional Development Program (STEWARD), which started in 2011.

Mr. Morris said the  program, funded by USAID West Africa, is aimed at positively contributing to the conservation of the vast natural, resources and unique biodiversity in the sub region and promoting sustainable development in MRU Member States.

According to him, key component of this program is the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to forest communities as a strategic intervention to re-enforce the conservation objectives of the program and improve the health and wellbeing of the people.

The USAID WASH program will provide safe water for drinking and improved sanitation facilities in forest communities.

This will not only consolidate STEWARD’s conservation efforts in the MRU region, but will also promote good health, protection of the environment and increased productivity of forest communities.

The program includes promoting appropriate technology options and informed choices, considering flooding and water shortages.

Mr. Morris indicated that the Union is looking up to fostering of partnership with the British Charity, WaterAid in the implementation of some of these projects.

WaterAid, presently has a cross border program between Liberia and Sierra Leone that focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene provision.

The Organization aims to strengthen the capacity of Member States to integrate their economies and coordinate development programs in the areas of peace building, as a prerequisite to any development, trade promotion, development of industry, energy, agriculture, natural resources, transport and telecommunications, monetary and financial affairs in short, all aspects of economic and social life of the Member States.

MRU maintains the initiation of dialogue at all levels between its Member States for the purpose of achieving greater unity and solidarity, and promoting goodwill, neighboring cooperation and peaceful co-existence amongst its people, promoting peace, security, democratic principles and popular participation of citizens in the pursuit of good governance.

In May 2008, the Heads of State and Government of the Union took a decision to revive the Union.

The MRU Secretariat was accordingly mandated by the May Summit to pursue the revival, growth, socio-economic development and integration of the sub region within the framework of four pillars namely, institutional revitalization and restructuring with focus on the Union Secretariat and public sector of Member States; peace and security; economic development and regional integration; and social development.

As a regional integration Organization, MRU was created on October 3th, 1973 by the Malema Declaration, signed by President William Tolbert Junior of the Republic of Liberia and President Dr. Siaka Stevens of the Republic of Sierra Leone and enlarged by the accession of the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, respectively on October 25th, 1980 and May 15th, 2008.

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