By: WASH R&E “Media” Network –The Liberia CSOs Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Network with support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), has ended a two-day Civil Society Skill Building workshop in Monrovia.
The NDI sponsored Workshop brought together organizations which are part of the CSOs WASH Network from River Gee, Bomi, Grand Kru, Maryland and Margibi counties, including officials and others members from Montserrado county.
Speaking at the start of the 2-day Capacity Training Workshop, the Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, Prince Kreplah said the Training was important in building the skills of members that will eventually augment skills of their respective organizations in the WASH sector.
Mr. Kreplah said following the Need Assessment conducted by the Group, the need for capacity building became an important issue that needed urgent attention by the Network.
The Training Workshop was followed by the second General Assembly of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network on the third day.
The workshop was funded by the NDI based on the request from the Network to hold a Citizens’ Engagement with Legislative Advocacy.
The Civil Society Skills Building Workshop was aimed at increasing political relevance and awareness of WASH in the national and local development agenda formulation, National Budget 2014-2015 beyond.
The Training was also intended to promote citizens’ participation in the national decision making and the engagement of citizens with their Legislators and political appointees which is designed to develop a people center agenda for WASH.
The objective focused increase civil society advocacy for access to WASH across the country, build result based advocacy capacity of civil society leaders.
The workshop covered the following topics including, Legislative Advocacy and Citizens Engagement, Training Needs Assessment Report, Financial and Narrative Reporting on the NDI sponsor Project, Advocacy Techniques Method, Lobbying Media and Campaign and Resource Mobilization, among others.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the 2nd General Assembly of the CSOs WASH Network, Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Matthew Flomo reminded the WASH CSOs that the gathering was intended to take a retrospective look at their activities for the past three years.
Dep. Minister Flomo commended the Network for the initiative to put in place an organization that will solely deal with the issue of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the country.
The Deputy Health Minister used the occasion to also commend stake holders, partners and government for the level of collaboration in the WASH sector.
He also cautioned members of the CSOs WASH Network to ensure full local ownership and participation in the sector to promote innovation in the sector.
He indicated that child mortality reduction is being undermined by water borne related diseases.
For his part, the Chairman of the CSOs WASH Network said in spite of the success recorded, the lack of access to water and especially sanitation and hygiene is unacceptably high and therefore brings the Civil Society to the conclusion that more needs to be done, not only by government but as well as civil society and development partners to improve WASH sector.
Mr. Kreplah said the government of Liberia as primary duty bearer to fulfill the human rights to WASH, has to take the lead by facilitating and providing the required environment through policy formulation and enforcement, increasing public financing of WASH and demonstrating visible political will through policy measure (practical action taken leading to fulfillment of policy commitment(s).
He said the CSOs WASH Network welcomes the visibility of water, sanitation and hygiene in the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and the ambitious goal set to be fulfilled by 2017.
The Liberia CSOs WASH Network said it is also worried that the AfT will not follow the steps of the Liberia WASH Compact which equally in 2011 set ambitious targets committing to implement 18 deliverables over two years only, to realize after the two years only 4-5 deliverables have been fully fulfilled.
After the opening of the assembly, participants engaged in session to discuss house matters.
They were also cautioned to be active in sector activities in their respective counties. Participants during the in house discussion named the lack of toilets, specific action plan for WASH in the counties and informative programs on radio as some of the challenges facing their respective groups.
The Liberia CSOs WASH Network was established in 2009 to ensure that every Liberian has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and practices good hygiene.
The Training Workshop and General Assembly of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network took place in Monrovia from December 3-5, 2013.
Below is the full text of the Statement Delivered at the Opening of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network 2nd General Assembly Opening Program
By: Prince D. Kreplah, Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network
Ladies and Gentlemen
I like to on behalf of the membership and officials of the Liberia Civil Society Organizations Water and Sanitation Network and in my own name extend our thanks and appreciation to the National Democratic Institute and WaterAid Liberia/Sierra Leone for supporting this important annual event just after a two days skills building workshop aim at empowering WASH civil society organizations drawn from seven counties of Liberia sponsor by NDI with funding support from the Swedish Embassy in Liberia. Please also permit me on behalf of my colleagues’ civil society to appreciate all of you participants of the opening section and the entire sitting of this 2nd General Assembly for the turn up.
The General Assembly of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, ladies and gentlemen is an annual event during which member organizations from seven (7) counties and six (6) national civil society organizations amounting to the total of 30 delegates will pass decisions that direct the program, administrative and governance future of the network. The assembly also is a platform where elected officials report back to the membership on progress, challenges and opportunities encountered in the running of the network over a calendar year. Additionally, the annual event offer a platform for the election of officials for three years term and as well serve as platform for the membership to approve program content and work plan, activities and reports. However, this year General Assembly is in the 2nd year of the three years tenure of the current leadership as such it will not elect officials.
Since 2009, the formation of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, member organizations pledged to advocate or facilitate citizens to demand government of Liberia, its officials, development partners and colleague civil society to take concrete actions through policy, service delivery and quality, increase financing and better targeting of resources, advocacy and programs to accelerate the people of Liberia access to safe drinking water, improve sanitation and practice safe hygiene behavior. In 2012 during the network 1st General Assembly, member organizations recommitted to accelerate their actions and call all the relevant stakeholders to action aim at improving WASH access and governance. Today 2013 we have converged in our 2nd General Assembly and I am please to inform you participants of this opening section and the people of Liberia that our collective actions involving the government of Liberia and development partners have score lots of successes due to which the WASH situation in 2009 is not the same as today (2013).
Ladies and gentlemen, in spite of the success recorded, the lack of access to water and especially sanitation and hygiene is unacceptably high and therefore brings us (civil Society) to the conclusion that more need to be done not only by government but as well civil society and development partners to improve WASH service quality and governance all intended to fulfill the human rights to WASH as declared by the UN General Assembly in 2010. We however believe the government of Liberia as primary duty bearer to fulfill the human rights to WASH has to take the lead by facilitating and providing the required environment through policy formulation and enforcement, increasing public financing of WASH and demonstrating visible political will through policy measure (practical action taken leading to fulfillment of policy commitment(s)).
We particularly would like to welcome the visibility of water, sanitation and hygiene in the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and the ambitious goal set to be fulfill by 2017. The Liberia CSOs WASH Network is however worry that the AfT will not follow the steps of the Liberia WASH Compact which equally in 2011 set ambitious targets committing to implement 18 deliverables over two years only to realize after the two years only 4-5 deliverables have been fully fulfilled. Additionally, we will not be happy should the AfT follow the trend of the 1.5m allotted in the National Budget 2012/2013 for WASH under the Ministry of Public Works in which the amount was never disbursed to the ministry by the Ministry of Finance due to mix reasons (others say MOPW did not request for the 1.5m while others say the 1.5m was not disbursed to the ministry due to the revenue shortfall).
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, the Liberia CSOs WASH Network welcome the President of Liberia and Good Will Ambassador for Africa on WASH, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf proposal to hold regular meeting with WASH Civil Society and the president committed to establish the National Water Supply and Sanitation Board upon her return from the UN General Assembly. The Network is however worried over the slow pace of these commitments made by the president coming into reality. The network worry stands form the facts that no visible sign to show indicator that the president commitments will be fulfilled after nearly three (3) months of the commitment pronouncement and returned of the president from the UN General Assembly. We will however like to remind the office of the president and line ministries and agencies within the WASH sector to ensure the fulfillment of the president made in the meeting we had with her.
Thanks and May God Bless all of us and save the state of Liberia