By Shakespeare Z. Zeanbo
Monrovia-Liberia: As the call for Safe Drinking Water, Decent Sanitation and Hygiene continue to be a priority for residents in Urban and Rural Communities throughout the length and breadth of Liberia. On April 27, 2023 The National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission and its Partners ended a three days Joint Sector Review on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Monrovia, at the EJS Ministerial Complex, Congo town.
The Joint Sector Review which aimed at curbing the so many challenges in the WASH Sector and finding amicable solutions to validate the findings from the WASH Sector Performance Report and develop specific recommendations to guide the sector forward for the next five years.
The Joint Sector Review also focus the high level validation and recommendations and the action plans by Ministers and the President, it is aimed at discussing the next steps with a particular focus on transition towards the development of the WASH Compact 2.0.
Meanwhile, the National WASH Commission and Partners are recommending the establishment of, Ministry of WASh to have direct oversight of the Sector. They believe that Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene at household and beyond household level are cardinal for national growth and development, They stress the need for policy and institutional coordination at national and sub national level. They empathized that Sector Financing, monitoring framework and capacity building are key priorities, as well as climate change, pandemics and HRBA to WASH.
The National Wash Commission and Partners also recommended a Market Based Sanitation(MBS) system that will gear towards improving sanitation access that focuses on strengthening the supply of sanitation products and services offered by private enterprises combined with the use of marketing techniques that increase demand by focusing on attributes such as; desirability, affordability and technical feasibility.
The recommended Actions from WASH and its Partners re- echoed the need for testing and refining sanitation products, strengthening sanitation businesses, providing resources to facilitate access to finance and introducing targeted reforms to enable market growth among others.
For his part, Making the closing remarks at the three days 5th Joint Sector Review, The CEO, of the National WASH Commission, Amb Bobby Whitfield ensure that Liberians across the fifteen political sub divisions access to safe drinking water, decent sanitation, and hygiene.
“We want Liberians to have 100 % access to decent sanitation, access to safe drinking water, and ending open defecation for all Liberians across the Country which can only be achieved when stakeholders of the Sectors work together to find the solution and solve the water, sanitation and hygiene problems across the country.” Amb Whitfield added.
He however maintained that providing these services are challenging for the government and appreciate donors for their continuous contributions, and; the Commission is open to more partnerships in curbing these solutions faced by the Sector.
Serving as the Keynote Speaker at the end of the three day 5th Joint Sector Review, the Executive Secretary of Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission Madam Funke Adeopju said the lack of policy for WASH Sector is the major challenge.
According to Madam Adopju, it is interesting that regulation be provided for citizens to know how to use the service. She lamented the need for thorough testing of unwholesome water on the market and the need of a water treatment plant are essential for the public health benefits.
The Executive Secretary, Madm Funke Adeopju named Plant Certification, License and Permits, Compliance and Surcharges of Tariffs among others are mechanisms WASH should put in place to address the many challenges.
“I hope the National WASH Commission can transition into an independent body to regulate, enforce and inspect the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector of Liberia”, Madam Adeopju concluded.
The three days 5th Joint Sector Review kicked off on Monday April 25, 2023 and climax on Thursday April 25, 2023 under theme “Enhancing Uptake in Sustainable Access to Wash Services across Liberia”.