By: WASH R&E Network – WaterAid, an International Non-governmental Organization has expressed continuous readiness to help provide access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene services to poor people within the various Communities, Districts and Counties in both Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Mr. Apollos Nwafor, WaterAid Team Leader in Liberia and Sierra Leone spoke last Thursday at the close of a 3-day Programme Planning Meeting in Monrovia.
“We are going to increase our support both technical and financial to ensure that more people have access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene services” said Mr. Nwafor.
He also assured that WaterAid will ensure that the poverty reduction strategy papers don’t remain on the shelves, but that results are seen, especially in the lives of the ordinary citizens.
About 13 Civil Society Organizations from Sierra Leone and Liberia convened from May 1-3, 2012 at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia to produce a 2-year new Action Plan for access to safe drinking Water, improved Sanitation and Hygiene in both countries.
“It was successful. We met with our partners and members of the government technical team and we were able to agree on priorities for the communities, districts and counties we will reach with safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene services for this year” said the WaterAid Boss.
According to him, the session also agreed on accountability, mutual respect, and rights for women and children who suffered most from the lack of access to WASH as the sector’s key values to guide its partnership.
He said they further agreed for WaterAid to adequately fund its partners and required said partners to provide periodic comprehensive reports on time because their success stories would be shared with the government.
“We will come up with case studies that can inform policy changes with government and also come up with programs results that would help improve government responses to the need of the poor and excluded people in both countries” averred Mr. Nwafor.
He said WaterAid wants its partners to ensure that Communities, Districts, and Counties have their management structures and pump technicians trained to ensure that communities are open defecation freed and that women and children are saved from sanitation and water related diseases, and that most girls are able to go to school and that children don’t die before their 5th birthday.
According to him there will be construction of water facilities, community management structure setup, policies reviewed and policies engagement with the civil society network as well as working on the ‘Water For All’ partnership to ensure increase sector financing for water and sanitation.
“WaterAid will provide safe water and latrines in the communities, there will be institutional latrines for schools and not for household or family because the communities would collectively also get theirs instead .We are now moving into the communities. One key innovation is that we are taking up water and sanitation for all partnership as the key issue” Mr. Nwafor further averred.
Mr. Nwafor also noted that there will be engagements with the Liberian National Legislature to ensure Legislative support for water and sanitation, especially for poor people who lack access to safe water and improved sanitation services.
According to him, this year’s engagement with Legislators is to further strengthen of Legislative capacity to deliver on water and sanitation services.
“Yes, yes, Governments are highly cooperating and in fact WaterAid is working with the Ministries of Public Works and Health & Social Welfare as we as serving on the National Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) promotion in both Liberia and Sierra Leone” said Mr. Nwafor
He pledged to support the Liberian government in developing its management information system under the Public Works Ministry to monitor the WASH Sector, adding “We will also support the campaign awareness and the productions of maps as a results of the water point mapping to ensure that there is success for poor people to receive safe water and improved sanitation services”.
The Planning Meeting further developed a joint monitoring plan including Partners Plans of actions (PPAs) and a Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between WaterAid and partners.
According to a dispatch from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, the 3-day Meeting commenced on Tuesday morning (May 1, 2012) at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia and was sponsored and facilitated by WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone an international NGO championing the improvement of the WASH sector.
In his welcome remarks during the opening ceremony, WaterAid’s Team Leader for Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. Apollos Nwafor lauded both the CSOs and governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone for their continuous cooperation to improve the WASH sector.
He said improvement in the sector would save millions of lives, money and precious time and at the same time minimize poverty and illiteracy if everyone gets involved.
According to him, lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene could deny parents and students going about their regular business like going to school or work on time or best still bring about pandemic in their community.
Mr. Nwafor said the Meeting will help keep CSOs and governments focused on how to demonstrate their commitments in deeds for the betterment of people in both countries.
The WaterAid Boss clarified that although none of his partners has performed poorly last year, he would certificate partners who come up with innovative results that make impact on the lives of the people
According to the WASH R&E dispatch, UNICEF and Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods could not grace the occasion due to other engagements.
At day-one session, participants reviewed last year plan of action and also examined the emerging challenges from the annual report.
They also made presentations of their individual Most Successful Challenging stories for 2011 while the WaterAid Boss expounded on his Organization’s partnership approach and procedures.
At day-two session, WaterAid’s Programme Officer for Liberia and Sierra Leone, Chuchu Selmah made presentation of WaterAid’s 2012 and 2013 Mid-year Planning Budget followed by the over 13 CSO WASH organizations making presentations of individual plans for 2012/2013.
The organizations include WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, Liberia NGOs Networks, WASH CSOs Network-Liberia, HELP-Sierra Leone, CODES, Jejunum District Council, ERS, and MOPADA.
Others were WSD, Youth-Development Group, WASH Net-SL, New Era, Kenema District Council, among others. They discussed on plans and budgetary alignments while the working session reviewed key activities and budgets.