Residents of three communities in one of Liberia’s biggest urban municipalities, Paynesville, have become the latest beneficiaries of the construction of three modern latrine facilities.
The three communities are the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex Community, Weh Town in the Commercial District of Red Light and the Paynesville City Corporation Community in the Paynesville Town Hall Area.
Construction of the facilities were funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chevron–Liberia, through Global Communities (formerly CHF-Int’l). The erection of the latrine facilities by Global Communities was done in collaboration with the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC).
The modern latrine facilities contain flush toilets, sinks hand washing, male and female showers.
Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony Tuesday (April 28), USAID–Liberia Deputy Mission Director, Barbara Dickerson, called on residents of the PCC Community to fully manage the facilities and utilize them to better their sanitary conditions.
Madam Dickerson: “I urge you all to partner with the Paynesville City Corporation as they work to maintain the standards of these facilities and provide quality service; may the improvement in sanitation and hygiene lead to better health for the Paynesville residents.”
She also acknowledged the role of land owners who generously donated their properties for the construction of the three latrines in Paynesville.
“Acquiring land for community projects in urban areas is usually a difficult task and relies on the generous support of those who value the community’s development”, Madam Dickerson Stated.
She disclosed that USAID-Liberia has supported the construction of latrine facilities through its “Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (IWASH)”, which is implemented by its Partner, Global Communities.
Madam Dickerson said IWASH focuses on how to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in Liberia as well as working closely with the Liberian government to develop and implement the policies required to ensure access to safe water and hygiene supplies for all Liberians on a sustainable basis.
Also speaking, the Outgoing Country Director of the Global Community, Pieter deVries pledged the entity’s continues support to improve the health needs of Liberians with special focus in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene.
“The inauguration of the three urban latrine sanitation and hygiene facilities, providing toilets, showers and sinks is the final activities of the IWASH five years program in the country,” Mr. deVries pointed out.
He indicated that he is optimistic that authorities at the Paynesville City Corporation will effectively operate and manage the three latrine facilities constructed in the City to a very high standard for the benefit of the residents.
For her part, PCC Acting City Mayor, Cyvette Gibson, vowed to solicit the needed support from both local and international organizations in the country to transform the livelihood of Paynesville residents.
Madam Gibson quotes World Health Organization latest survey on Liberia, as saying, seventeen thousand, eight hundred children died in the country since 2000 as the result of lack of toilet facilities, while eight in every ten children do not have access to basic hygiene services which should be the major concern of all stakeholders in the country.
She said these deaths and other issues can be avoided once there is an improved sanitation condition in which the children and even the older ones find themselves.
Meanwhile, under the IWASH five year-Initiatives, more than 99,000 beneficiaries have access to improved sanitation and over 220 hand pumps were repaired, more than 139, 000 have access to improved water supplies.
USAID-Liberia as part of its IWASH Program partnered with the Health Ministry and engaged 343 communities in taking responsibility for their sanitation and 247 have been verified Open Defecation Free (ODF). As well as assisting in developing key WASH policies and technical guidelines for local government, among others.