By: WASH R&E Network – An interactive media dialogue aimed at providing essential information to the Liberian Press on the Water, sanitation and hygiene sector of has taken place in Monrovia.
The dialogue which was chaired by public Works Minister, Samuel Koffi Woods brought together officials of Water Aid, Civil Society, stake holders and development partners.
The dialogue was part of activities commemorating World Water Day and a two-day Joint Inter-Ministerial High Level Meeting on Water , Sanitation and health between Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Speaking to a cross section of journalist from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, Minister Woods said the signing of the WASH Compact clearly demonstrates the commitment of government in prioritizing private sector investment in the WASH sector of Liberia.
He said government anticipates that at the end of the year the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission will become operational to set guidelines, regulations and monitor the water sector in Liberia.
The Public Works Minister described infrastructure as a major factor affecting service delivery in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Sector of Liberia.
Minister Woods called for the intervention of developmental partners to put in place mechanism in sustaining and maintaining WASH infrastructures.
Minister Woods disclosed that the two day high inter Ministerial meeting would indentify some of gaps and seek to find a way forward aimed at bringing some level of information sharing between both countries in the WASH sector.
He said Liberia is committed in expanding the initiative at the regional where other countries in the sub region can give their own experiences in solving some of the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene.
Minister noted that Liberia will also work with Sierra Leone in helping to address issue relating to infrastures in the sector.
He said information sharing with the Civil Society has been limited and there was a need to reinforce information sharing to enhance their involvement in the sector.
For his part, the executive Secretary of the African Ministers’ Council on Water, Mr. Baimass Taal said African leaders in 2008 committed 0.5 percent of their budget to the water, sanitation and hygiene in their respective countries.
Mr. Taal said there are some level of improvement has been made in the WASH sector of Africa with the willingness of development partners to support efforts by government, Civil Society and stake holders that are gear to improving the sector.
Also speaking, WaterAid West Africa Region Head, Mariane Den, said it is very important that African leaders increase their investment in the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH), and raise more awareness that could bring about the necessary change in the WASH sector.
According to her, change can only be realized when African leaders take on the initiatives in their respective Countries.
Madam Den said the involvement of the Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as WaterAid Goodwill Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene has brought light to the WASH sector of Liberia.
According to medical statistics, diaherra which a water borne disease is the biggest killer of children in Africa. Diaherra is responsible for 17 percent of under 5 year death in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Statistics show that there are some level of progress been made in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Access to sanitation in Liberia is at 17 percent compel to two years ago, like wise access to safe water is at 68 percent compel to two year back. At the same time access to sanitation from 13 percent to 16 percent in Sierra Leone, while access to safe water has reduced from 65 percent to 39 percent.