Liberia To Benefit From US$50 Million In Support To Water And Sanitation


Liberian delegation at the on-going 9th World Water Forum in Darkar, Senegal, has disclosed that the country will get US$50 million out of the US$1.8 billion gifted by the United States government to twenty-one countries across the world. About 15 countries in Africa are expected to get their share of the goodwill by the US government, according to the Liberian delegation.

   Liberia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene CEO, Bobby Whitfield, in a live conversation from Darkar, said, “At the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the African Ministers Council on Water, it was disclosed to the world that the United States government has put aside US$1.8 billion for water support to 21 countries around the world. Out of these 21 countries, 15 are in Africa, and one of those countries to benefit is Liberia. We now got a sense that US$15 million is being put together for Liberians for five years as a priority country for Water and Sanitation support”. Whitfield added that the Liberian government and its partners are now in the process of strategizing policies for the use of the money to achieve its intended purpose.

   The World Water Forum is the world’s largest event on water and sanitation, and was first organized in 1996 to put together collective action plan during and after each forum. The 9th Forum is the first to be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa. The forum brings together participants from all levels and areas, including politics, multilateral institutions, academia, civil society and the private sector, among others.

   The forum provides a unique platform where the international water community and key decision makers can collaborate and make long-term plans and progress on global water challenges.

   Over the years, the number of people participating in the forum has grown from a few hundred to tens of thousands, from both the international community and host countries.

   The Liberian delegation, headed by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene CEO, Bobby Whitfield, on Wednesday made a separate presentation on Liberia’s challenges in dealing with water, sanitation and hygiene issues. The delegation’s separate presentations highlighted key priority issues, including the provision of safe and clean drinking water for rural communities and efforts to end open defecation by 2025.

   Liberia’s WASH Legislative Caucus Co-chair, Representative Vicent Willie, a member of the Liberian delegation to the 9th World Water Forum in Darkar, Senegal, also added that the provision of water for rural areas, one of the key areas highlighted by the delegation, will boost the sector and take Liberians out of poverty.

   “You are aware that people are still drinking from creeks in Liberia; so, we want to ensure that we can give everyone access to pipe-borne water or, at least, those basic services, where we will have hand pumps available for people to have access to them,” he added.

   According to him, rural areas in Liberia and Africa are the most affected places to access safe-drinking water, but said he is hopeful that his colleagues at the forum will have a consideration.

   Liberia is one of the few countries in the world to introduce the WASH Legislative Caucus, according Representative Vicent, informing the forum about the Liberia WASH Legislative Caucus formation, challenges and success stories since it was introduced at the Legislature. Representative Willie added that, after telling the world about the workings of the Liberia WASH Legislative Caucus, parliamentarians at the Senegal Forum agreed to formulate a policy and launch a WASH Legislative Handbook to be used by the Global WASH Parliament.

   He said the WASH Legislative Handbook will be used like in the case of the ECOWAS Parliament, to foster activities of the WASH Sector across the globe.

   Liberia’s success story, according to the Grand Bassa County district #4 lawmaker, was applauded by parliamentarians across the world, as they are intending on building on what Liberia presented at the Forum.           

   Recently, Liberia’s WASH Sector had an intensive and interactive brainstorming session in Gbangar, Bong County, relative to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector. Participants, dominantly superintendents, relevant stakeholders in the sector and civil society organizations, jointly penned down their signatures to mark the official signing of Gbarnga 2022 Declaration to end open defection in Liberia by 2025.

   The 14-count Declaration, among other things, highlighted that a dedicated staff be designated by the county superintendent as focal person in the county; that county superintendents lobby with their legislative caucuses and other stakeholders to allocate about 5% of funding for sub-national level for the implementation of Liberia ending open defecation roadmap 2025.

   To reflect a holistic approach, the Declaration also called for active engagements from government organizations, political parties, civil society organizations, workers, teachers, the media, transport unions, security agencies, and so on, on the CHATWASH Movement to play an instrumental role in carrying forward sanitation and hygiene promotion as a social movement.

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