By Abel R. Okai
Bong County – The Golden Triangle Partnership fund under the Coca-Cola System in collaboration with Global Communities has turned over thirty-two newly constructed hand pumps to the people of Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties.
The WELL project, which began in August 2016, is funded under Coca-Cola’s Bolstering Africa’s Resilience (BAR) and Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN Program) which respectively, were designed to create a holistic unified response to Ebola in Liberia, and provide over six million Africans with access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2020.
According to the Public Affairs and Communications Manager at the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Mr. Victor George, the program reached some of the most isolated and Ebola-damaged communities in Liberia with a holistic approach to development, interventions weave into a foundation for a healthy, prosperous, and happy future for these communities.
The Well Project which was Implemented by Global Communities, improved supply of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) products and services by providing business and technical trainings for 114 WASH entrepreneurs (WEs) – natural leaders who were trained to install and repair hand pumps as well as to produce soap for sale – consequently improving the livelihoods of the WEs as well as the comfort of their families.
The project also improved access to safe drinking water through the rehabilitation of existing water points and the installation of new water points, coupled with Water Management and Savings Committees to enable communities to pay for their own water point repair and rehabilitation.
Speaking during the turning over ceremony, the Senior Program Manager of Global Communities said the project was intended to provide clean and safe drinking water as part of the corporate social responsibilities of the foundation.
Mr. Michael Fogbawa added, as part of the project they trained eighteen WASH entrepreneurs, constructed twelve new wells, and rehabilitated more than seventy five hand pumps in Bong County
He noted the project enhanced school hygiene, sanitation and health promotion through basic WASH education and the provision of sanitation products for improved latrines and hand washing stations.
A project beneficiary from Arthur Jack Village, commented, “Many times my husband had to accompany me on the 1-hour trip into the forest to fetch drinking water. Now with the hand pump, we in the community, especially women and children, no longer have to deal with the dangers of traveling far into the forest to collect unsafe drinking water.” Korto Temie said.
During the handover ceremony, Liberia’s Assistant Minister of Public Works, Mr. George Yarngo, encouraged his local government colleagues to support community members in ensuring the project remains sustainable over time.
Receiving the wells on behalf of the three counties, Bong County Development Superintendent lauded the Coca-Cola foundation and the Global Environment and Technology foundation for the construction and expressed the County’s readiness to work with the WASH entrepreneurs by identifying opportunities where they can utilize their skills to earn some income.
Mr. Anthony Sheriff expressed optimism the community members will take full ownership of the hand pump which is provided to ensure it remains a viable source of safe water for decades to come.
Through the WELL project, over 40,000 people in 570 Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities and three schools in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties will be reached with sustained access to clean water, and improved sanitation products and services.
The official turn over program was held in Lakula village in Salala District, Bong County on Friday, July 14, 2017.