LIBERIA: CSOs WASH Working Group Holds 1st Assembly

By: WASH R&E Network-Liberia – The 1st General Assembly of the Liberia Civil Society Organizations on   water, Sanitation and Hygiene working Group has opened in Monrovia. It is convening in the conference room of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) from April 10-12, 2012.

The three-day gathering of the CSO WASH Organizations is aimed at putting together a 3-year Strategic Plan for the Group which will serve as a road map in addressing the issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Country.

Giving an overview of the  of the Assembly on Monday at the start of the Event, the Chairman of  the Assembly Committee, Mr. A Saydee Monboe, said  forming the Group into a Network  is one of several issues   that will be discussed at the three-day General Assembly.

Mr. Monboe also revealed that an election will be held at the end of the assembly and that the election will be conducted to put into office new officials that would steer the affairs of the Group.

He used the occasion to commend development partners like WaterAid, WASH Consortium/Oxfam, Plan Liberia and UNICEF amongst   others for the numerous support to the CSOs WASH Working Group.

Delivering the key note address on behalf of Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods, the Ministry’s Assistant Minister for Community Services, Mr. George Nyango said the government of Liberia recognizes water and sanitation as a human right and has outlined the role of Civil Society as facilitators and Watch dogs in the society, specifically the WASH Sector of Liberia.

Assistant Minister Nyango reminded the working group that their engagement with government is critical in making the water, sanitation and hygiene sector of Liberia viable.

He said that achieving the goals of the WASH sector requires strategic partnership, “stressing partnership with Civil Society in the WASH sector is the heart beat of the Liberian Government”.

The Public Works Assistant Minister charged the Group to create awareness on government policies and programs on WASH and making communities aware of their rights and responsibilities.

According to him, providing basic information about government policies and Programs Bridge the gap between government and the people.

He further urged the Group to engage in the budget process and also establish a platform for public accountability at the local levels.

Minister Nyango called on the Group to share with government strategic information that would help deliver WASH services effectively.

For his part , the Coordinator of the Liberia WASH  Consortium, Mr. Samuel Piah called on the CSOs WASH Working Group to support one another initiatives in making sure that issues of WASH is adequately addressed in Liberia.

Mr. Piah reminded the WASH CSOs Group that through collective efforts of the Group they could help to transform Liberia and its people.

He said, if the WASH Civil Society Organizations work together cohesively, they are bound to bring about a change that would transform the WASH sector of Liberia.

The Liberia WASH Consortium Coordinator said such a change should be respected, appreciated and sustained.

Also speaking at the opening of the 1st General Assembly of the CSOs WASH Working Group, WaterAid Liberia-Sierra Leone Team Leader, Mr. Apollos Nwafor, said the Group needs to embrace the change that would come out of the three-day General Assembly.

Mr. Nwafor revealed that as the Group holds its first Assembly, the change of name should not be a paramount concern of its members but a change that would bring about a change in priorities, strategies, focus and approach to work.

He said the Group should be strongly committed to the outcomes of the Assembly ensuring that their role in the WASH sector is highlighted in all activities in the Country.

The Membership of the CSOs WASH working Group includes the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia(AEL), Citizen United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL), Concerned Christian Community (CCC), Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia(WONGOSOL), Liberia NGOs Network(LINNK) and the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia(WASH R&E).

The objective of the WASH CSOs Working Group is to ensure that every person in Liberia has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene in a manner that would promote general health and the social – economical growth of Liberians.

This is done through its awareness and advocacy programs across the Liberia.