PROMISEs TO PROVIDE SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR ALL LIVING IN LIBERIA
Monrovia, Liberia – The 5th Joint Sector Review Conference in Monrovia has ended by the Liberia WASH Commission and partners. The three-day conference, “Enhancing Uptake In Sustainable Access To WASH Services Across Liberia,” which ran from Tuesday, April 25, to Thursday, April 27, 2023, brought together national and international partners with the goal of highlighting the implementation of WASH activities in the nation.
Stakeholders made a commitment during the high-level panel discussion to prioritize the national standard for rural sanitation in order to end open defecation and help the government hold service providers responsible for offering safe, dependable, and reasonably priced water services.
While strengthening the capacity of Liberian institutions in SBC for the increase adoption efforts of priority health behaviors and to open the WASH sector to the Private sector more actively engaging through privatization on public private partnerships, the project builds on existing knowledge, information, and partner efforts where possible.
In his remarks, Bobby Whitfield, Chief Executive Officer of the National WASH Commission, noted that many areas had previously been certified as ODS had returned to open defecation and that 57% of homes targeted with CLTS had achieved open defecation free (ODF) status. He insisted that one of the main reasons for reservations was the poor quality of self-built toilets, many of which over time collapsed, sustained structural damage, were challenging to repair, or otherwise became inoperable.
The WASH director stated that there aren’t many businesses in the sanitation industry, and the ones that do require a lot of help expanding and strengthening their marketing and managerial capabilities.
He noted that creating a robust market for sanitation calls for work in a number of areas, including product development and market.
He emphasized four Cardinal Points, including Test and Refine Sanitation Products, Strengthen Sanitation Businesses, Provide Resources to Facilitate Access to Finance, and Introduce Targeted Reforms to Enable Market Growth, as well as others, that require careful attention.
Whitfield believes that in order to remove obstacles and incentivize both consumers and businesses, a supportive government response is necessary for the development of MBS. Increasing the policy and regulatory environment will take several years, and it will be done by establishing standards and making imports easier. Near-term initiatives that GOL is well-positioned to implement to support the expansion of the sanitation market include creating a platform for simpler linkages between market actors and enhancing enforcement of current regulatory provisions.
The program was held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Reported by: Joseph N. Kerkula