… Presents Sit-In-Action Petition at Key Gov’t Institutions – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – In commemoration of Water Action Month as part of the globally observance of March as Water Action Month, the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network has embarked on series of activities.
Water Action Month is also in observance of World Water Day, usually celebrated on March 22. This year, World Water Day was celebrated under the theme; “Water and Jobs”.
The WASH CSOs Network has staged a number of sit in actions at key government Ministries and agencies that have some oversight when it comes to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Liberia.
The Sit in action by the WASH CSOs took place at the Ministries of Public Works and Education, and Governance Commission.
The Water Action Month campaign was led by Five Liberian civil Society organisations with the aim of strengthening collaboration and potential through a joint Advocacy Initiative with the focus of exerting pressure on the government of Liberia to improve WASH governance, service delivery and quality.
CSOs WASH Network members were seen wearing t-shirts and caring placards with the inscription “End water shortage and governance challenges now”, “Take bold action to ensure access to water and sanitation”, “Safe drinking water is a fundamental right to every human being”, “Establish the WASH Board now”, and “Water is Life, Sanitation is dignity”, amongst others
At the Governance Commission which is in charge of providing governance direction and assisting in the governance reform efforts in Liberia, the WASH campaigners said they are awaiting the opinion of the Commission to commence practical action in moving the sector forward
The CSOs called on the Commission to complete the review of the materials submitted by the
Public Works Ministry and advance the appropriate recommendations to President Sirleaf for immediate actions.
The group is appealing for strategic thinking for the improvement of WASH governance in Liberia, considering WASH, positive and negative effects on various sectors and the population of Liberia.
At the Public Works Ministry, the water campaigners presenting a petition Deputy Public Works Deputy Minister, the CSOs called on the leadership of the Ministry to keep their promises in taking action to end water and sanitation crisis.
They also called on the leadership of the Ministry to accelerate action towards providing sanitation, water for all while improving governance”.
The campaigners also want the Public Works Ministry ensure its Budget Department increases WASH allocation and also ensure separation budget lines for water and sanitation.
Responding to the petition of the WASH CSOs, Deputy Public Works Minister for Community Services and Rural Development said the government through the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has attached importance to the provision of safe drinking water to the population of Liberia.
Deputy Minister Jackson Paye asserted that the government has put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that the citizenry have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation.
The WASH CSOs reminded government of several commitments made to improve the WASH sector of the country, which include access to safe drinking water and improve sanitation, establishment of a National Water Resource and Sanitation Board, and Issue Executive Order to establish a Water and Sanitation Commission, among others.
The group calls for the allotment of 0.05% of the Country GDP to sanitation agreed by the Africa Ministerial Conference on Water in 2008, Upgrading the Community Services and Rural Development Department of the Public Works Ministry to a Bureau status.
The WASH CSOs group wants the Liberian government Increase water and sanitation budget annually by at least 15% in real terms, disaggregating the structure of the budget lines for water and sanitation and the establishment of WASH Sector pull funds mechanism.
The group also wants government to consider WASH services as development and human rights issues, taking into account 30% of the population who do not have access to safe drinking water, while 83% lack safe sanitation facilities.
The WASH Advocacy body also disclosed that 1.7m people defecate in the open due to lack of latrine, less than 1% of the National Budget is allocated to water, sanitation and hygiene in spite of huge social and economic problems caused by lack of sanitation, water and hygiene.
The WASH CSOs called on government to ensure the Governance Commission opinion or advice on the governance reform plans submitted by the sector is not just based on experts from the Commission.
They want the Commission to consider sector actors thoughts since they have practical learning experiences.
Governments are expected to develop national level implementation plans-country road maps on how to achieve this ambitious agenda over the next 15 years.
This year 2016 is an exciting year for campaigning and advocacy on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
It marks the beginning of the new Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), setting the development agenda until 2030.