…Liberian Partners also Attend -By: Augustine N. Myers In Bo – WaterAid, an International Organization working in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector(WASH), has held a Mid-Term Review in Bo, Sierra Leone aimed at assessing Organization’s and partners’ achievement against commitments in the Multi-Year Plan and Budget for year 2011/2012.
At the 3-day Intensive exercise organized by LiberiaAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, key highlights were made to identify challenges and lessons and discuss on making appropriate decisions around overcoming bottlenecks that tend to hinder progress.
The Mid-Year Review brought together 33 participants from Liberia and Sierra Leone, including WaterAid Staff & partners and selected Government Personnel.
The Team Leader of WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. Apollos Nwafor said the Meeting in Bo was for WaterAid to look again as to how it is making an impact in the WASH Sector and how it is supporting Government and the citizens to be able to ensure they have access to save water, improved sanitation and hygiene.
According to him, one of the things WaterAid is doing is to look at their practices and the progress made in some of the communities and the support given Government Agencies and the various communities.
Mr. Nwafor said they have been able to see at the first day of the meeting that the support is effective and that it also needs to be further strengthened.
The Team Leader of WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone said they have however seen some challenges which include weak sector coordination and that there are some bureaucratic bottom necks that are not helping, especially as they affect the poor and the excluded, including those with disabilities.
According to him, they are discussing some of the actions to address the issues, one of which is to ensure that people are aware of their rights by increasing the awareness of people’s rights to water and sanitation, and another is by supporting the available political space now that politicians are seeing WASH as a development issue.
He also stressed the importance of working more closely with the Ministries of Health and Education, so that more children can go to school because there is a need to ensure that access to save water and sanitation related diseases don’t stop girls particularly from going to school.
He further stressed that on the issues around public health and sanitation, there is inclusion in health approaches by looking towards preventive rather than curative measures.
Speaking to the press Monday at the official start of the 3-day Mid-Term Review, Mr. Nwafor also expressed hope that over the remaining days WaterAid and partners will come up with concrete actions to take forward to ensure support for Government and citizens towards continued access to save water, improved sanitation and hygiene services.
On the issue of increased support and service delivery, Mr. Nwafor disclosed that WaterAid is about to go into a Strategic Period, because according to him, the pilot phase for the program has ended and that the Organization is going into a strategic period between 2012 and 2015.
He further said the Strategic Period will start in April 2012, by increasing their staff at WaterAid and expand the Programme in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
He also pointed out that it is intended to ensure that they reach more people and seek more funding to ensure that Government, partners and the citizens are better supported.
He also described the beginning of the Meeting as a good start in that the partners were very clear in the work they are doing and what WaterAid needs to do better to enhance effective partnership.
Mr. Nwafor reiterated that WaterAid remains committed to working in both Liberia and Sierra Leone and that they are equally committed to ensuring effective contribution so that more people can have access to save water, improved sanitation and hygiene, particularly the poor and excluded.
WaterAid has been working in Liberia and Sierra Leone since October 2009. The programme is a two-year pilot, of which an evaluation is expected to be carried out around March 2012.
WaterAid works closely with the Governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone in providing WASH Services, capacity building for the sector and strengthening advocacy for improving financing and services in the WASH sector.
The Programme’s current Multi-Year Plan Budget (MPB) covers a planning period of three years – April 2011 to March 2014.
Every year, WaterAid evaluates its performance against yearly targets set in the MPB.
The Midyear Review was intended to ensure that WaterAid and partners are on track with delivering on their key objectives set within the MPB for fiscal year 2011/ 2012.
According to WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, a visioning exercise is currently being carried out to develop a country strategy.
The output of this midyear and end of year reviews will feed into the country strategy, which is expected to be finalized by March 2012.
Currently, WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone is working with two NGO partners in Sierra Leone, three NGO partners in Liberia, a WASH CSO Network which include the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) & the Liberia NGOs Network (LINNK), and a Youth Group in Liberia, and the WASH Network of Sierra Leone.
WaterAid also works with the Local Government Agencies in operational areas. In Sierra Leone, WaterAid is working through the Pujehun and Kenema District Councils which has it implementing Technical WASH teams and in Liberia WaterAid is working through the Government Ministries ground personnel.
WaterAid key institutional donors for 2011/ 2012 are Isle of Man – providing most of the funds for Sierra Leone and the Guernsey Oversees Aid Commission (a small island outside the UK funding) providing for the project in Maryland County, Liberia. All other funds are given by WaterAid small monthly donations from the UK public and other small institutions.
Objectives of the Midyear Review are: To determine level of progress made by WaterAid and Partners in fulfilling purpose and targets for 2011/ 2012 (against all four aims); To identify areas of critical attention in the implementation of 2011/2012 plans; To identify challenges, threats as well as strength using SWOT analysis in order to define strategy for implementation of programme; and To provide feedback on internal audit and discuss plan to address issues raised in the audit report.
Others are: To facilitate the development of policy on health and safety for WaterAid and partners; To discuss programme learning and documentation; and To identify current financial position of WaterAid and partners.
As part of the review, key reports – evaluation, assessment and audit were also highlighted. This was designed to point out some of the critical areas or issues that have been identified in some of the reports. Major attention was placed on the recent audit report, as well.
WaterAid Liberia & Sierra Leone has meanwhile described as successful, the Midyear Review in Bo and commanded participants for the time spent over the three day.
The Team Leader for WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, Apollos Nwafor reiterated the Organization’s commitment to expanding its activities, and pointed out that participants at the 3-day Midyear Review were the “KEY” to the expansion.
Also speaking Wednesday at the official closing of the Meeting, Mr. Nwafor described the participants as the “Future” which WaterAid sees in terms of ensuring the realization of access to save drinking water and improved sanitation for all.
The Midyear Review in Bo, Sierra Leone among other things resolved on key commitments amid ensuring the unhindered continuation of WaterAid Projects and activities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Some of the commitments are: There will be no delays of Financial Transfers by WaterAid as was done in the past; Ensuring water quality by the partners; Right based participatory approach; and Meeting their agreed objectives by delivering quality WASH services, among others.
Mr. Nwafor called on the participants to keep track and always be reminded of the commitments made at the Meeting.
Meanwhile, the participants have welcomed the Midyear Review and commanded WaterAid for the Meeting.
They promised to improve on service delivery, as they have already committed themselves to ensuring access to WASH.
The Midyear Review in Bo, was climaxed with a Field Visit to two Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Towns, “Kpetewoma and Nyeyama” in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone.