Liberia: CSO Frowns on Government’s Less Interest in WASH Sector

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Monrovia – Adequate access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene behaviors promote quality living and create environmental and economic benefits that contribute to poverty reduction.

But with the current poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene practices, experts say Liberia is losing a notable proportion of its GDP. 

This is partly due to the neglect of the sector by the Government, which is accused of not investing in WASH. This might prevent Liberia from reaching its vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2030. 

According to a recent survey conducted by a local Civil Society Organization “The United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency, and Development”, the Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Health, Plan International and Tearfund have been ranked poorly among others agencies and organizations role in the sector.

Timothy Kpeh is the Executive Director of UYPETDL Inc. He said as part of CSOs efforts to promote WASH good governance, coordination, planning, monitoring, transparency and accountability in the WASH sector, his organization has embarked on a WASH Sector Performance scorecard for WASH Ministries, agencies and partners working in the WASH sector.  

This is intended to track the attendance, participation, reporting, and tasks accomplished during the WASH Sector Monthly Coordination Meetings and all other related activities, and will be done every quarter, Kpeh said.

The WASH Report intends to inform the WASH Commission, the Legislative WASH Caucus and the office of the President about the CSOs perspective and key recommendations as a means of contributing to the global Agenda of WASH.

“The establishment of the WASH Commission was intended to put to an end the fragmentation within the WASH sector, but with the poor performance of WASH ministries and agencies and other major partners, we may not realize the intent of the WASH Commission establishment,” he said.

“We also learn that the poor attendance of partners is due to the lack of political will on the part of the national government. Representatives of those agencies and ministries who participated in the WASH Sector Coordination meetings are low-level government officials with very limited decision making power.”

He added that key ministries such as MPW, MOH, MOE, and MLME are yet to fully recognize the functions of the WASH Commission, which he said is responsible for the poor performance of the sector.

Before the establishment of the WASH Commission, there was some level of high political will demonstrated by the national government which encouraged international partners to support the sector by developing policies and implementing major programs and activities, Kpeh said.

“GOL should set clearly defined targets and strategies for scaling up WASH investment to meet its commitments to SDGs 6 towards 2030. These targets and strategies should be reflected in the work plans of the respective government line ministries,” the CSO suggests.

“And this should result in government’s initiatives that will help to increase equitable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services across the country.

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