By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The hand pumps located in Tewor and Gola Konneh Districts, were primarily erected to ease hardship residents faced in getting safe drinking water.
According to the Executive Director of a local NGO, Community Development Services, most of the facilities were damaged due to poor maintenance on the part of the residents.
Mr. Tamba Bundor noted that from a survey conducted by his organization only five percent of the hundred hand pumps that were constructed by either government or partners are functioning.
He said most of the problems on the facilities could have been addressed by residents themselves if they were trained properly.
Mr. Bundor also revealed that during his visit to the two Districts, he noticed that community ownership was also lacking.
The CODES Executive Director attributed the malfunctioning of the hand pump facilities to the lack of proper training of locals in repairing the hand pumps and the community talking ownership of the facilities.
CODES Boss said as a result, many residents are now fetching water from creeks and lakes in the two Districts for drinking, cooking and bathing which is dangerous to their health.
Mr. Tamba told the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia that the citizens have an important part to play in the process.
According to him, if citizens are demanding the provision of WASH facilities from their government, it is equally their responsibility to maintain the facilities.
Another issue the CODES Boss disclosed is the notion beneficiaries have about the facilities.
Mr. Bundor revealed that many of them feel that the country is still in the period of relief and emergency where everything should be provided by donors and be maintained by the provider.
He stressed that if citizens continue to live with such notion, it will be difficult for Liberia to achieve development.
He also challenged Liberians to always be willing to maintain WASH facilities after they have demanded and facilities provided to them.
He pointed out that the most critical issue facing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector in Liberia is building the capacity of locals to maintain development projects.
Mr. Bundor disclosed that providing the facilities without preparing beneficiaries to maintain them is a waste of resources.
The Liberia WASH specialist further noted that the lack of proper training is hampering progress been made in the WASH sector of Liberia.
He called on government and partners to put in place programs that will enable beneficiaries, especially rural dwellers properly maintain the facilities given them.