Liberia WASH Consortium Holds PPP Dialogue

By: WASH R&E “Media” NETWORK – The Liberia WASH Consortium has completed a 2-day Dialogue on Public Private Partnerships for the Sustainable Operation of Small Water and Sanitation Systems in Urban Liberia.

The Dialogue held from February 24–25, 2016 took place at the Monrovia City Hall, bringing together stakeholders with focus on water and sanitation.

Day one of the Workshop

Day one of the Workshop

The 2-day workshop was designed to develop an understanding of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for small-scale Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), with support from the European Union (EU).

The workshop was also characterized with presentation of experiences in PPP in urban WASH and of existing experiences from the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC), Oxfam, Communities, and other Members of the Liberia WASH Consortium.

The Workshop also sought to consider how proposed management arrangements, align with stakeholder interests and expectations.

The objective was also intended to consider capacity and resource needs for supporting the development and promotion of the PPP management models in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Participants described the workshop as important and commanded the Liberia WASH Consortium for the exercise.

Day two of the Workshop

Day two of the Workshop

They acknowledged that in urban communities of Monrovia, the sustainable operation of small-scale water supply systems and communal WASH facilities, describing as a common problem.

This is because of a lack of attention to the institutional model for managing the facilities and the related financing arrangements for paying for services.

This leads to a degradation of infrastructure over time resulting in reduced quality of services and decreased cost-benefits associated with the initial investment.

The Liberia WASH Consortium (LWC) is supporting Oxfam and partners to support sector development in Liberia to adopt management models for the sustainable operation and maintenance of small water supply systems and communal WASH facilities.

Elizabeth Churchill of the Liberia WASH Consortium, during one of the sessions

Elizabeth Churchill of the Liberia WASH Consortium, during one of the sessions

These management models are based on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and are currently being developed and implemented by Oxfam and Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC) in Dolo Town, Margibi County for a small town water supply system and by Oxfam, in partnership with Concern and Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), in Monrovia’s slums for communal sanitation blocks.

Regarding the water supply in Dolo Town, Oxfam implemented a water supply system for the community, which was quarantined due to the Ebola outbreak.

The original water supply system directly benefited up to 5000 people and is being expanded to benefit up to 10,000 persons with the potential to expand for the other parts of Dolo Town.

LWSC and Oxfam held meetings with the Town Mayor, Administrator, WASH Committee, and community representatives, regarding the type of management model that is appropriate and acceptable by the community, and the roles and responsibilities of the various institutional stakeholders.

Group photo

Group photo

The proposed model for system management is based on a private sector operator as part of a PPP model.

To support the development of the viable system, Oxfam has undertaken a community survey and analysis to develop a stronger understanding of expectations and willingness and ability to pay for the water supply service.

The Dialogue was part of sustainable efforts of Communal WASH facilities in Monrovia.

In January 2014, the Liberia WASH Consortium (LWC) launched a 3-year (2014–2017) project entitled Improving Sanitation and Hygiene in Urban Monrovia, funded by the European Union (EU).

The 3-year project is focusing on improvements in sanitation, hygiene and solid waste management in four low-income urban communities / slum settlements in Monrovia.

Section of participants posed for photo at the close of the Workshop

Section of participants posed for photo at the close of the Workshop

A Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Management Model has been proposed, and accepted by the community stakeholders, as the basis for sustainable service delivery for communal sanitation facilities.

The PPP uses a Community Based Enterprise (CBE) approach to manage and operate the facilities and collect fees from users.

A CBE is a small/micro private enterprise where the owner(s) and workers of the community are members of the same community in which the service is provided in order to establish a required social content in service delivery.

This arrangement is expected to achieve cost recovery for operation and maintenance, ensure the sustainability of the new facility and provides livelihood opportunities related to community enterprise development related specifically to operation of WASH facilities.

WASH committees will play a key role in setting up the O&M arrangements between the local administration and the CBEs, communicating with the local residents about how this will work, subsequently monitoring the performance, and upholding the accountability of the service provider.

Using these examples, the Liberia WASH Consortium and partners aim to explore ways of applying PPP approaches in urban settings in Liberia and to set the agenda to create sustainable management and maintenance of water and sanitation systems in urban Liberia.

The 2-day event was interactive with facilitators and participants sharing knowledge and experiences on the way forward for a Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for the Sustainable Operation of Small Water and Sanitation Systems in Urban Liberia.