By: Augustine N. Myers – The Liberia Civil Society Organizations Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Network, Students, Professionals and other Interest Groups have jointly presented a petition to the Liberian government, through the Office of the President, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The petition calls on the government of Liberia to improve the problems of water, sanitation and hygiene throughtout the country.
According to the petitioners, the Government of Liberia at the High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership held in Washington D.C. in April 2012, specifically set up firm commitments to address the water and sanitation crisis in Liberia.
The petitioners further challenged the Liberian government to: Decrease open defecation by at least 15%; Increase improved water service access by at least 5%; Increase access to improve sanitation services by at least 7%; and Increase water and sanitation service access to primary schools and rural health facilities by at least 10%.
They also called on government to: Reduce the number of non-functioning water services by at least 10%; Increase the practice of hand washing with soap by at least 25%; Increase water and sanitation budgets annually by at least 15% in real terms; Ensure funding is not only provided for WASH infrastructure but is also allocated, and by at least 10% of all WASH allocations, to hygiene promotion, behavior change and demand creation.
The petitioners further acknowledged the Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM) which commits government to the development of a monitoring and evaluation system for the WASH sector, and said government must ensure its implementation.
They also expressed concern about the delay by the President to sign the Executive Order for the establishment of a Water and Sanitation Commission as enshrined in the Liberia WASH Compact, which according to them is over five months since it was presented to the President’s office for signing.
The petitioners also called on the Government of Liberia headed by Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa WASH Ambassador to Implement water supply and sanitation policy (WSSP) to ensure a functioning National Water Resources and Sanitation Board; Implement Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Bureau and Directorate for Community Mobilization and Hygiene promotion; and ensure that the National Budget of Liberia will always have a clear and distinct budget lines for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
On Monday, November 19, 2012 Liberia joined other counties around the world to celebrate World Toilet Day.
This year’s World Toilet Day was celebrated under the global them: “Keep Your Promises” on safe drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), with a focus on Women access to safe toilets.
In Liberia, World Toilet Day was officially celebrated in three counties; Montserrado, Bomi and River Gee.
In Montserrado, the petitioners paraded through the principal streets of Monrovia and ended at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (now paying host to the Seat of the Liberian Presidency) with a Position Statement to President Sirleaf, WASH Goodwill Ambassador for Africa.
The Statement was read by student Theresa Browne of the Gabriel Kpoleh public School, and received by the WASH Coordinator in the Office of the President, Shedrick Seton, for onward submission to the President.
In Bomi and River Gee counties, the petitioners simultaneously paraded throughout the principal streets of Tubmanburg and Fishtown Cities respectively, and ended with the Position Statement to the two County Superintendents for onward presentation to Present Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
World Water Day celebration in Liberia was coordinated by the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, in partnership with other WASH sector actors. The Liberia CSOs WASH Network comprises the Liberia NGOs Network of Liberia (LINNK), WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E), and the Concerned Christian Community (CCC). Others are the Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL) and the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia (AEL).
The 2012 World Toilet Day celebration in Liberia was sponsored by the Liberia WASH Consortium, WaterAid Liberia and Plan International Liberia.