LIBERIA: WASH Compact Awareness Goes Nationwide

By: WASH R&E Network – The official launch of a campaign aimed at popularizing the Liberia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) document amongst Liberians and other residents, kicks off Tuesday, May 22.

Mr. Abdul Hafiz Koroma, National WASH Promotion Committee Coordinator

Mr. Abdul Hafiz Koroma, National WASH Promotion Committee Coordinator

The WASH Compact, similar to the one developed in Ghana, sets out the Government of Liberia’s priorities and strategies for achieving sector goals, while making explicit the accountability framework.  The Compact, as the nucleus of a national plan for WASH, provides a platform for mobilizing and targeting its own resources and those of its development partners.

The official opening of the Awareness Campaign, which is being supported by the Liberian Government and partners  will be held at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Congo Town, Paynesville.

According to a dispatch from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, the launching ceremony is expected to bring together government officials, stake holders, Civil Society groups on WASH, policy makers and development partners in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector of the country.

According to the Coordinator of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee, Mr. Abdul Hafiz Koroma, the Ministers of Public Works, Finance, Lands Mines and Energy and Health are expected to deliver major statements pledging their respective commitments as Ministers and Government’s support for the WASH sector as it relates to the WASH compact. He said the county level events which are part of the awareness will commence from the 24th of May through the 28th with different teams holding National consultative meetings in the counties.

Mr. Koroma revealed that people from  Bong, Lofa and Nimba will hold  a session in  Gbarnga City on May 24, 2012 while  participants from  Margibi, Montserrado, and Grand Bassa will also hold a meeting in Kakata City on May 26, 2012.

He further revealed that  participants  from Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpopu will meet in Tubmanburg City on May 28, 2012 while  Rivercess, Sinoe and Grandkru  are  to meet in Greenville City on May 28, 2012 and  that Rivergee, Maryland and Grand Gedeh will meet in Fish Town City on  May 26,  2012.

Mr. Koroma described the popularization of the Liberia WASH Compact by Government through the Ministry of Public Works, the National WASH Promotion Committee  as very critical to understanding the document.

He further said there are four strategic objectives  of the document needed to be explained to the citizens and development partners at the county level.

Mr. Koroma named  the four objectives as Improved Sector Financing, developing a Monitoring System , Ensuring Equity and Prioritized Service Provision and the Establishment and Strengthening of Institutional Capacity, as cardinal to the sector.

The National WASH Promotion Committee Coordinator asserted that the popularization of the Liberia WASH Compact will give a clear picture to development partners as to where to intervene in the sector.

According to Mr. Koroma, about six hundred participants are expected  at the various awareness Meetings to give their views on what they expect from national government as it relates to service provision in the WASH sector .He  hinted  that  the  government will also use the  occasion  to inform the citizenry about  what is expected of them in the compact.

Mr. Koroma assured all invitees and others in both urban and rural  areas that  the Compact Campaign  will go on as planned.

He encouraged all stakeholders, especially those without  invitations to grace the  campaign activities  for the betterment  of the country.

Mr. Koroma  who termed the media as a major stateholder in the WASH sector, encouraged WASH journalists to provide full media coverage to all aspects of the Campaign nationwide.

Before the signing of the Liberia WASH Compact by the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, there were lots of efforts mounted by the Civil Society WASH working Group, which is now  the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network and the WASH  Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia to show cause why the signing of the document  by the President was so significant to the sector.

The WASH Media Group held a crisis talk in Gbarpolu County highlighting difficulties citizens experienced due to the lack of safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene. Recommendations from that event were forwarded  to the president of Liberia and law makers outlining degradation citizens of the county have to experience due to the lack of safe drinking water.

WASH R& E also staged a Legislative Dialogue in Montserrado, River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru Counties amongst candidates contesting in the 2011 General and Presidential Elections, putting WASH at the center of political interest.

The WASH Media Group also, through its popular radio program “WASH Hour” which was sponsored by the Corporate Housing Foundation (CHF Int’l) aired voices of policy markers, the civil society actors and development partners stressing the need and importance for the signing of the document by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.