United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity ( LEPDA) program on Friday, August 13, 2021, presented in-kind grant office supplies and furniture to the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission valued at $ USD40.000.
The objective of the assistance to the WASH Commission among other things is to strengthen its capacity to function as sector lead and regulator for services and to as well ensure effective coordination among all government institutions and other stakeholders involved in the WASH sector.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony to the WASH Commission was the Deputy Health Office Director of USAID Karen Koprince who said their aim among other things is to support an enabling environment that will promote service delivery of water sanitation and hygiene services to all especially to underserved populations.
She said since 2020, USAID has been supporting the WASH Commission through the Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity.
Madam Koprince reflected that USAID has a long-standing history in supporting the sector pointing out the construction of water treatment plants in three Cities in Liberia namely: Voinjama, Sanniquellie, and Robertsport respectively.
According to her the sector improvements require more than infrastructure but rather WASH governance is needed including policies, regulations, and coordination.
Over the period the USAID Health Office Director historicized that there has been fragmented governance in the sector something among other things contributed to the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation services for the population thus prompted the establishment of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene with the anticipation that it would improve governance in the sector by serving as a dedicated national entity for WASH leadership, a commitment, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Bobby Whitfield assured his partners that he and his team will uphold.
Karen was also quick to commend the government of Liberia for its commitment to ensuring universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for the entire population by 2030 nothing that the government’s National Plan; The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development is also aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Six of achieving “Clean water and sanitation for all”.
Her statement was flanked by the Acting Chief of Party for USAID Sue Tatten who said in order for Liberia to achieve its commitment it is key for the sector to be supported something they have started and promise to continue to do.
She at the same time call for the total involvement of all Government line Ministries and agencies including other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is coordinating effectively to ensure that WASH services are provided in Liberia.
She reiterated that their gesture and or support to the Commission is to allow for greater coordination including the ability of WASH officials to do their job more effectively.
As part of their continuous support and engagement in the sector, Madam Tatten stressed that they will also provide a grant to Civil Society Organizations in Liberia to do a public expenditure tracking survey including public outreach advocacy on water support.
“We have a very comprehensive water support Package which we hope will contribute to subsequently realizing the SDGs goal six which speaks of universal access to all for safe drinking water, she added.
In a happy mood, while receiving the items, the Chief Executive Officer of the WASH Commission Ambassador Bobby Whitfield expressed the government of Liberia through the WASH Commission’s deepest gratitude to his partners for the donation and assured them that the time and needed items will be used for its intended purpose.
According to him lots of goods are in the pipeline for the sector and is certain that they will do their best to help improve the sector for the betterment of society.
He told the gathering that the government is still challenged when it comes to the issue of open defecation which about 42% of the population currently practice as well 20% of the population lacks access to safe drinking and other sanitation services.
However, Ambassador Whitfield is not giving up especially when his partners are helping Liberia to help support the sector.
“I extremely glad that the US government has Liberia as one of its priority countries when it comes to supporting to the sector, it means a lot for us“We can be assured through that support that we can have access to safe drinking water as well as decent sanitation facilities, he noted.
The WASH Commission boss said ten billion is spent annually in the WASH sector globally, unfortunately, half of the said amount due to lack of accountability and oversight are unaccounted for, a case of Liberia including other Countries but working with his partners and a team of officials unlike before that story will be changed soon.
He assured his partners of the Commission’s commitment, confidence, trust, accountability and will be responsible for executing its duties in line with best practices without fear f favor.
Meanwhile, some of the items donated are: ICT equipment, software, office supplies, and furniture among others which are expected to enhance the work of the WASH Commission greatly