By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – A modern toilet has been built and subsequently turned over to occupants of the Old Folks Home, persons with disabilities and residents of the Upper Buchanan Community in Grand Bassa County. The toilet has a hand pump and hand washing facility.
The Disable Friendly Latrine Project was implemented by the United Youth for Peace Education, Transparency and Development in Liberia (UYPETDL) with funding from WaterAid in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
UYPETDL’s Executive Director, Timothy Kpeh speaking at the dedication of the Disable Friendly Latrine over the weekend said the program was part of the observance of World Toilet Day, held on November 19.
He also said the event was part of efforts to take action to address the issue of access to improved sanitation.
Kpeh indicated that poor sanitation including the lack of access to toilet, especially for children, women and people with disabilities can make them unhealthy and poor.
He said due to the significance of good sanitation, World Toilet Day 2015 was celebrated under the theme: “Better Sanittion for Better Nutrition”.
The Youth Asvocate called for concrate action to ensure access to improved santation for all, with focus on equity and inclusion.
He commanded WaterAid for the support and assured that all mechanisms have been put in place for the proper use and maintenance of the latrine.
Also speaking, the Director of the Old Folks Homes, Kula Smith described the construction of the modern latrine as a goodwill gesture for the old people, children, people with disabilities and other members of the community.
He commanded WaterAid for helping to transform the lives of poor and marginalized people across the country.
Mr. Smith also commanded the United Youth for successfully implementing the latrine project, and promised that the facility will be properly used and maintained.
For his part, the Team Leader of WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, Chuchu Selma described the construction of the modern toilet as important.
He said sanitation is important and that WaterAid remains committed to ensure that everyone, everywhere can have access to better sanitation. With this he said, WaterAid joins the global campaign to ensure that everyone all over the world can have access to sanitation by 2030.
Mr. Selma disclosed that in Liberia, over 3 million people, of the country’s estimated 4.2 million population don’t have access to improve sanitation facilities.
The WaterAid Team Leader further explained that for the past 20 years, the access rate for sanitation has only increased by 4%, hoping that everyone can have access to sanitation by 2030 in fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
But Mr. Selma was quick to point out that it will be difficult if Liberians remain doing things as done in the past. He noted that lots of things have to change in order to ensure access to improved sanitation.
“We need to take sanitation and hygiene very seriously”, Mr. Selma stressed. He stressed that WaterAid will continue to prioritize hard-to-reach areas, people with disabilities and poor people, to ensure access to sanitation.
According to him, poverty cannot be eradicated without access to safe WASH facilities, stressing that WaterAid will seek to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalized in society.
Mr. Selma pointed out that WaterAid will continue to work with the United Youth and other partners in transforming the lives of people in need by providing safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.
Performing the official dedication of the latrine, Grand Bassa Representative, Gabriel Smith commanded WaterAid, stressing that government can not do it all, that’s while we have good organizations like WaterAid in Liberia.
“We are grateful that WaterAid continues to enhance development”, the Grand Bassa County Lawmaker pointed out.
He said the issue of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is very critical to the health and development of Liberia.
“We as Lawmakers have also developed interest in WASH because of its sensitive nature”, Representative Smith added.
He disclosed that currently, they are a team of Lawmakers working to ensure the establishment of a WASH Commission.
“We will not stop until this Commission is enacted into law, because the establishment of a WASH Commission will ensure the proper coordination of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector of the country”, Representative Smith pointed out.
The WASH sector is currently fragmented amongst several government’s ministries and agencies with little or no impact.
Rep. Smith extolled the efforts of his colleague, Montserrado County Representative, Monah Youngblood and other Lawmakers advocating for the establishment of a WASH Commission.
He praised WaterAid as a true partner of the Liberian government and people, and also extolled efforts of the United Youth for the smooth implementation the latrine project.
The Program was attended by various groups, including the youth, students, old folks, people with disabilities and county authorities.