…Provides Safe Drinking Water to ODF Communities – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The issue of safe drinking water and improved sanitation has become a globalcrisis confronting billions of people the world over.
Billions of these people living in third world countries are desperately in dire need of these services on a daily basis.
Liberia is no exception when it comes to the issues of safe drinking water and improved sanitation.
With the efforts of some international charities and the government of Liberia to improveand accelerate the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in Liberia, some achievements have been made so far.
Living Water international, is an American based charity spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, at the same time providing improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in some parts of the country.
Living Water International-Liberia is popularly known as a giant, especially in the area of Community Led Total sanitation (CLTS) coupled with the provision of safe drinking water and hygiene education/awareness.
The entity is also credited for its spectacular performance during the Ebola crisis in Liberia that all the towns and villages Living Water carried out activities did not experience any Ebola outbreak.
WASH Reporters and Editors Network of Liberia has been carrying out an assessmenton WASH Project implemented by Living Water International in some communities in Margibi County.
The WASH assessment was conducted in Gibi and Kakata Districts, covering Ambulai, Karngaand Kedemah Towns in Borlolah Township, Junkai andWoryan In Kakata District.
The assessment shows the dramatic level of changes in the lives of residents of communities visited.
“Our town was very filthy with Human and animal feces, but today we have a success story” Town Chief David Kedemah of Kedemah Town reported.
Chief Kedemah said the story of the town changed when Living Water International Hygiene Promotion Team arrived.
He disclosed that the team informed them that they were eating their own feces due to the poor sanitation that was being practiced by them.
From the initial stage the Chief said residents were getting irritated with the statement that they were eating their feces, but after they were triggered through Community Led Total Sanitation(CLTS), they realized that the statement was true.
“We were also told that the source of our drinking water was not save, because it was open and not protected”, the Chief pointed out.
Chief Kedemah said the residents agreed to work with the team to clean the town.
He said after working with the team, the town was declared Open Defecation Free(ODF), since then he added they have kept their status by putting into practice what we were taught by the faith-based charity.
“I must also appreciate Living Water International-Liberia for making good their promise by providing safe drinking water to the town as promised, if we gain ODF status” the Kedemah Chief asserted.
Chief Kedemah pointed out that after getting an ODF statusand the subsequent practice of good sanitation, the town never experienced the outbreak of the Ebola Virus.
For their part, Residents of Woryan and Junkai Towns commended the charity for the assistance provided them through CLTS Initiative.
The residents said the initiative has given them insight to good health and keeping the environment clean through a regular cleaning up campaign in their respective towns.
They said through the WASH Project, they have learned that putting clothes on the ground brings about skin diseases and keeping the environment with Human feces all over the place can create the space for the outbreak of diarrhea and other diseases.
The residents noted that through the inclusive WASH Project of the faith-based organization they were able to build for the first time, their own toilets, dish rocks and are now using clotheslines.
“Running stomach is not on the increase like how it used to before in our towns…thanks to Living Water International”, they told WASH R&E.
According to the residents, due to the cleanliness of their respective towns none of them experienced the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
They also disclosed that they now save money because of the reduction of water-borne diseases and other illnesses. “We are no longer spending wasteful time at health centers and paying money for medication as we did in the past, adding that productivity is on.
Also speaking to the WASH Media Assessment Team, residents of Ambulai and Kanrgar Towns In Gibi District said the faith-based intervention has impacted their lives greatly, especially bringing about good sanitation and health.
The residents of the two towns indicated that before the arrival of Living Water International, their towns knew nothing about safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better hygiene.
They said their children used to defecate anywhere and that feces of domesticated animals could be seen all over the towns. “But now, we tell you the true, we are really enjoying the benefits of CLTS”, stressed residents of Ambulai and Kanrgar Towns.
They commanded Living Water International-Liberia for the WASH intervention in their respective towns, bringing about an end to the WASH crisis through Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
The residents said Living Water International encouraged them to build their own toilets and to keep the environment clean, a practice now part of their lives.
The residents also said they are not drinking from the creek any more, because the charity has constructed hand pumps in their respective communities.
They want the charity to continue its good work by educating more rural communities about CLTS.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries are commanding Living Water International-Liberia for the WASH intervention in their respective communities, and challenged government and other organizations to emulate by taking similar Initiative to other vulnerable communities across the country.