By: WASH R&E “MEDIA” Network – As all efforts continue aimed at creating an enabling environment for water, sanitation and hygiene by civil society actors and international partners, the campaign of improving WASH has received another boost.
A Legislative group with focus on advocating for the WASH sector to receive funding and place under a centralized authority has been launched.
Named and styled “Legislative WASH Advocacy Network” has been established with the aim of buttressing efforts of civil Society actors in the sector to advocate for the improvement of WASH in Liberia.
The group which comprises Representatives and Senators of the National Legislature, is also known as Champions of WASH.
Launching the Network, Grand Bassa County Representative, Gabriel Smith described issues surrounding water, sanitation and hygiene as critical.
Rep. Smith disclosed that most of the deaths that occurred in various communities in the country are associated with water borne diseases due to the lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
The Law marker said the lack of Improved WASH greatly affects the educational system of the country, especially it brings set back to females who at certain period of the month experience their menses.
He wants government to concentrate on the preventive aspect of improving the WASH sector of Liberia.
The Grand Bassa County Legislator is meanwhile recommending for Government to direct the funding of 70 million to the health sector to WASH.
He said if this is done, it would greatly impact the sector by improving health and development.
The Grand Bassa County Representative wants President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as WASH Ambassador of Africa to primarily ensure that a conducive environment is created for WASH in Liberia.
He said besides ensuring the passage of the WASH Bill, the body will advocate, monitor and have requisite oversight of WASH at the National Legislature.
Rep. Smith said if a structure is put in place, funding for the sector will be used properly to impact the lives of Liberians and foreign residents.
The WASH Law maker pointed out that it is their responsibility to engage the President and other officials to take actions to bring about a centralized structure under the WASH Commission.
Also, speaking at the launch, WaterAid Deputy Country Director, Chuchu Selma said international donors and WASH actors are quite aware of the challenges in the sector.
Mr. Selma said in a bid to address some of these issues, international WASH organizations decided to form a consortium to work along with government in resolving some of the most critical challenges in the sector.
He described Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as critical to the existence of human kind.
Mr. Selma said his organization will continue to support efforts of actors in the sector and marginalized ensuring that WASH service delivery is actualized.
For his part, Timothy Kpeh of United Youth described the launch of the Legislative WASH Advocacy Network as a victory for the sector.
He said with the formation of such a group, it will indeed help in putting the issues of WASH at the center stage at the Legislature.
Meanwhile, residents of slump communities in Monrovia have commended the Law makers for taking such a bold step in grouping themselves into a body that will advocate for WASH at the Legislature.
They said the move by Legislators proves that they are in the interest of the people they represent.