By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – Programs marking this year’s celebration of World Toilet Day have taken place in Boegeezay Town, Beawor District, Rivercess County.
The celebration organized by the Liberia WASH Consortium was implemented by the Youth and Disable WASH Network in partnership with the United Youth and citizens of Rivercess county.
During the celebration on Thursday, November 19, 2015 (World Toilet Day), a
Petition Statement from participants was read and presented to government through the County authority, joining their colleagues from the fifteen counties of Liberia.
The Petition referred to as the “Rivercess Declaration” called on the Liberian government to create an enabling environment through policy, standards and improvement of WASH services especially to vulnerable population (women, children, persons with disabilities, and hard to reach areas).
This the citizens believe will fulfill the right to water and sanitation as declared by the UN General Assembly in 2010 and promote Water and Sanitation for All (SWA) partnership signed by the government of Liberia.
The Rivercess Declaration also called on government to identify clear budget lines and increase funding in the national and County budget to meet the eThekwini Declaration, UN Least Development Countries Program of Action for the decade 2011-2020 WASH Aspect and AfricaSan Action Plan.
The Petition urged government to promote private sector participation and investment in the WASH sector through corporate social responsibility and direct investment by providing incentives and security of investment to Liberian and foreign businesses involved in the water and sanitation sector.
The citizens additionally said they support the government and partners’ drive to address governance challenges facing the WASH sector through the creation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Directorate.
In this regard, the citizens challenged Legislators and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to pass the Bill to establish the WASH Directorate in Liberia, and sign the Executive order which is the 2nd step of demonstrating political will as envisaged in the Liberia WASH Compact and other WASH Policies.
The Rivercess Declaration also challenged members of the 53rd National Legislature to prioritize WASH by supporting and leading the Setting-up of a Legislative WASH Committee involving Legislators from both Houses, youth, persons with disabilities, women and civil society as a first step towards demonstrating commitment to improve the WASH Sector
The citizens also called on Lawmakers to review and enact into laws integrated Water Resource Management and the Water Supply and Sanitation policies, develop and implement District WASH Plan in line with national plan as a means of promoting, monitoring, evaluation and sustainability of WASH programs at district level.
They want Lawmakers ensure that local governments have county and Social Development Funds allocated for water, sanitation and hygiene and county development programs show strong visibility and commitment to WASH.
The Rivercess Declaration said 63.6% of Rivercess population has no access to improved source of drinking water, and more than 90% of homes in Rivercess County do not have inside toilet, making open defecation unacceptably high especially in rural communities due to inadequate public toilets for community dwellers.
The Petition was signed by over one thousand persons hailing from civil society, youth, women, students, chiefs, elders, people with disabilities, slum dwellers and professionals drawn from Beawor and surrounding communities.
The Petition was received on behalf of government by the Superintendent of Boewah District, Rivercess County, Stanley Ben.
Superintendent Ben thanked the petitioners especially the United Youth, students and citizens of Rivercess and also extolled efforts of the Liberia WASH Consortium to support initiatives to enable citizens have access to better WASH services.
He assured that despite challenges faced by government, the issue of WASH remains paramount and promised to work with partners to provide the needed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.
World Toilet Day is a day to take action, raise awareness about all people who do not have acess to a toilet despite the human right to water and sanitation. The celebration of the Day was held under the theme “Better Sanittion for Better Nutrition”.