By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – November 19 of each year is observed as World Toilet Day globally. The celebration of the Day is aimed at highlighting the sanitation menace millions of people are faced with around the world.
The celebration of the Day also creates the platform for stake holders, policy makers and government to take concrete actions in solving sanitation problems in their respective countries.
As part of the celebration in Liberia, a cross section of Liberian children presented a special Statement to the National Legislature on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
The children called on the Legislature to ensure access to improved sanitation in all schools to promote health.
Delivering the statement, Theresa Kanneh said the Law Making Body should support the bill on the establishment of a WASH Commission and the Legislative Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
The children also want the Legislature support and ensure county level WASH programs in the Social Development Fund.
Receiving the statement, Deputy House Speaker, Hans Barchue said the Legislature will do all it can to find a practical approach to WASH Issues in the country.
Deputy Speaker Barchue said the statement delivered by the children will be forwarded to every Law Marker for their response.
He said as part of his commitment, he will sponsor an act to prohibit selling of roasted food items in the streets and also finance the construction of five community toilets in Monrovia.
He called on the children to identify the areas where the facilities will be built, design and inform him about the cost attached.
The visit of the children also took them to the office of Montserrado County District # 4 Representative, Henry Fahnbulleh, where the children stressed the importance of providing sanitation facilities for Liberians.
They also stressed the need of a clear budget line for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, amongst others.
Making remarks, Representative Henry Fahnbulleh assured that as a Law Maker, he will support all efforts geared toward improving WASH issues in the country.
Representative Fahnbulleh used the occasion to urge the Liberia WASH CSOs to draft a bill that will spell out needed concrete steps to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services across the country.
For her part, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor committed herself to lobby with her colleagues for the necessary actions to be taken to promote improved sanitation.
The children also presented similar statement to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, calling on the Management to do all it can to provide better and improved WASH services.
Receiving the statement from the children, the Managing Director of the entity, Charles Allen, said all is been done by his management to remedy some of the challenges it is faced with.
Mr. Allen however promised that LWSC will be in the fore front ensuring improvement of WASH services.
World Toilet Day 2014 activities took the children to Power Radio & TV, where they were interviewed on the importance of the Day and their visit to the National Legislature.
The official program commemorating the Day which was held under the theme: “Equality and Dignity” brought together stake holders, policy makers, civil society and community members with a panel discussion at the YMCA auditorium in central Monrovia.
Most of the panelists disclosed that poor sanitation poses a serious problem, describing the situation as a crisis.
They said though there are some efforts ongoing to solve the sanitation crisis, much more needs to be done to expedite the process.
Speaking at the indoor celebration, Montserrado County Development Superintendent, Lorenzo Lymax disclosed that the county has tried through its County Development Funds to construct toilet facilities.
Mr. Lymax said despite the efforts, there are still huge challenges faced by many residents in the county using West Point with more than 70 thousand inhabitants as a classic example.
Making remarks on behalf of the Liberia WASH Consortium, the Acting Team Leader of WaterAid Liberia/Sierra Leone, Chuchu Selma, said the issue of sanitation should be a paramount concern of all Liberians.
Mr. Selma noted that poor sanitation itself is degrading and inhumane thus exposing a person to a serious harm, especially for women.
He said if Liberia as a country cannot provide a decent place for its citizens, than the country is far from been developed.
He called on Liberians and relevant agencies of government to take the issue of sanitation as a priority in all of their activities.
Mr. Selma wants measures put in place to ensure that every home has access to safe toilet.
This year World Toilet Day activities was sponsored by WaterAid in collaboration with the Liberia WASH Consortium, and implemented by the Liberia CSOs Network .
Also, as part of other activities marking World Toilet Day 2014, the Liberia WASH Consortium carried out a major clean-up exercises in most communities affected by poor sanitation in Monrovia.
The celebration of World Toilet Day was buttressed under the theme: “Equality and Dignity”, we can’t wait while one billion people practice open defecation.
At the close of the community engagement and clean-up exercises, a program was held in the Logantown community to highlight the importance of World Toilet Day, bringing together residents from slum communities including Westpoint, Claratown, Logantown and the Borough of New Krutown, among others.
Meanwhile, the celebration of World Toilet Day 2014 in Liberia climaxed with the official dedication of a Disable Friendly Latrine.
The modern latrine was constructed by the United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency and Development in Liberia, with support from WaterAid in Liberia and Sierra Leone.