A Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project valued at 1.2 million Euros, has been launched in Monrovia, Liberia.
The Project is designed to improve the provision of WASH services and practices in health facilities, schools and some rural and underserved communities in Liberia.
The Project sponsored by Irish Aid, is being implemented by the Liberia WASH Consortium (LWC).
The Project targets over fifty thousand residents of Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Rivercess, Sinoe and Rural Montserrado Counties.
Speaking over the weekend at the official launch of the Project held at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor, the Country Director of Oxfam-Liberia and Chair of the Liberia WASH Consortium, Mamudu Salifu, described the WASH interventions by Irish Aid as a mark of confidence.
Mr. Salifu noted that the intervention by Irish Aid has also ensured that WASH issues are discussed with a complete logical conclusion at all levels.
He applauded the Liberia WASH Consortium and Members for the form and manner in which they are pushing WASH agenda through advocacy.
The Country Director of the British charity used the occasion to appeal to Irish Aid to assist the Consortium to pilot WASH approaches that will bring about desirable changes to Liberians in line WASH service delivery.
Mr. Salifu disclosed that the Liberia WASH Consortium will embark on a crusade to ensure that the dignity of Liberians is restored through improved WASH interventions.
He also called on Irish Aid to assist the Liberia WASH Consortium on the improvement of governance structure in the WASH sector of the country.
Launching the Liberia WASH Consortium/Irish Aid Project, Assistant Public Works Minister for Communities Services, George Yarngo, said the Project was unique because it focuses on communities.
According to him, Government has not been able to effectively engage communities on the basis of WASH, like the engagement with schools and health facilities.
Assistant Minister Yarngo, on behalf of Government applauded the Liberia WASH Consortium and Irish Aid for the Project targeting rural communities in Montserrado County, as well.
He stressed the need for the private sector to get more involved in activities in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of Liberia.
Making remarks on behalf of Irish Ambassador to Liberia and Sierra Leone, the WASH/Health Advisor of the Project Teta Zinnah, said ensuring that poorest communities have access to water and sanitation globally is key on the agenda of Irish Aid.
She said Irish Aid was happy to be associated with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities, especially working in concert with the Liberia WASH Consortium in supporting WASH Projects in Liberia.
The Irish Aid Health Advisor indicated that since 2007, Irish Aid has supported several WASH Projects in Liberia, also supporting the Government of Liberia in a bid to bring about improvement in the WASH service delivery of the country.
She said Irish Aid’s intervention has impacted several communities over the years with beneficiaries themselves attesting to the sanitary/health improvement in their respective communities.
Also making remarks at the launch of the Project, the Coordinator of WASH in Schools at the Education Ministry, Zoe Kanneh, praised the Liberia WASH Consortium and Irish Aid for the intervention, but called for an Exit Strategy in sustaining the Project.
Madam Kanneh revealed that the issue of sustainability has become critical in the WASH sector of Liberia and as such, all should be done by partners to put a sustainable mechanism following the implementation of the Project.
She urged partners and donors to engage the Education Ministry whenever plans are there to aid WASH in Schools Program launched by the Liberian Government and Partners.
For his part, the head of the Youth and Disable WASH Network of Liberia, Timothy Kpeh commended Irish Aid and the Liberia WASH Consortium for initiating such a Project.
He however stressed the need for the active role of government and citizens in the implementation of the Project.
Mr. Kpeh pointed out that partners will not continue to support projects which are not being supervised by government and beneficiaries who are community residents.
He called for concrete actions to be taken by government and citizens to ensure that projects sponsored by donors are sustained.
A Member of the Liberia WASH Consortium, WaterAid Liberia though its Team Leader welcomed the resumption of the Project, noting that WASH remains cardinal with respect to health and sustainable development.
Mr. Chuchu Selma used the occasion to call for more attention on sanitation, as access to sanitation in Liberia is still below 20 percent.
He stressed that WASH Development Partners and government must remain proactive in prioritizing access to improved sanitation as part of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Selma promised that WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone will continue to make WASH a priority, with focus on sanitation more sustainably.
For his part, the Coordinator of the Liberia WASH Consortium, Drake Ssenyange said the Project targets five underserved counties to ensure that about 50,743 residents benefit with a percentage of 55% female beneficiaries.
Mr. Ssenyange pointed out that the Liberia WASH Consortium supports the Liberian Government’s WASH Strategic Sector Plan 2013-2017 by contributing to the reduction in WASH-related diseases and improved quality of life for women and children below five.
The Liberia WASH Consortium Irish Aid funded Project will be implemented for a one year period, August 2015-July 2016.
The project is the resumption of the Irish Aid WASH intervention following the Ebola Virus Disease Recovery, with a focus on “Equity and Sustainability-Community Participation”.
The Project is to ensure that the five counties have more equitable and sustainable access to improved water and sanitation services and are more motivated to practice key sanitation and hygiene behaviors in school and health facilities.
The official launch of the Liberia WASH Consortium Irish Aid funded Project brought together Stake Holders of the WASH Sector, including WASH Civil Society Organizations, WASH Development Partners, Liberian government and WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, among others.