Donors Alarm Over Poor Progress In Liberia’s WASH Sector

Amidst gains that the Liberian Government says it has made in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector of the country, donors funding the sector say they are disappointed in the level of progress.

President Sirleaf quenches the thirst of a child shortly after dedicating a water pump.
President Sirleaf quenches the thirst of a child shortly after dedicating a water pump.

 They claim that the Liberian Government is not prioritizing the WASH sector all, this they said is evidenced by insignificant allocation to the sector in the National Budget.

Allotting 0.4 percent of the National Budget, according to the Country Representative of the African Development Bank, Margaret Kilo, is a clear indication that government is not making WASH as a cardinal part on its agenda.

Speaking Thursday (May 1, 2014) on behalf of donors at the start of the 2nd Joint Sector Review of the WASH sector of Liberia in Monrovia, Madam Kilo noted that government should graduate from the level of “business as usual” in addressing WASH issues.

She wants government approach WASH issues through the construction of modern WASH facilities for its citizens, and ensures that all Liberians and foreign residents have access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better WASH facilities across the country through appropriate budgetary allocation.

The African Development Bank Country Representative identified fragmentation, poor sector reporting and leadership in the WASH Sector as challenges still affecting progress in the sector.

She however commended government for the formation of the National Water Resource and Sanitation Board by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but pointed out that there is a serious need by government to create Water Supply and Sanitation Commission and the Rural Water Supply Bureau.

Also speaking, Assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services, George Yarngo described Madam Kilo’s statement as “positive”, intended to strengthen government’s effort.

Minister Yarngo indicated that the Joint Sector Review was also intended for criticisms that will lead to a level of improvement in WASH sector’s activities.

He said the Joint Sector Review (JSR), unlike the one of 2012, is been enriched by a Sector Performance Report that will enable donors and government to critique.

The JSR among other things is discussing several thematic areas ranging from Finance, Urban Water & Sanitation, Rural Water Access, Water Resources & Drinking Water Quality, and Solid Waste Management.

Statistics of 2013 shows that more that 300,000 Liberians lack access to safe drinking water, while the Liberian Government was losing over US$17 million to poor sanitation alone.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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