Government Disappoints WASH Donors….As 2nd Annual WASH Sector Review Opens in Monrovia

Amidst gains that the Liberian Government says it has made in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector of the country, donors in the sector say they are disappointed in government for not prioritizing water and sanitation for all.

The donors disclosed that government has poorly performed in prioritizing issues of WASH in the National Budget.

Allotting 0.4 percent of the National Budget according to the Country Representative of the African Development Bank, Margaret Kilo, is a clear indication that government is not making WASH as a cardinal part on its Agenda.

Speaking Thursday on behalf of donors at the start of the 2nd Joint Sector Review of the WASH sector of Liberia taking place at the Monrovia City Hall, Madam Kilo noted that government should graduate from the level of “business as usual” in addressing WASH issues.

She wants government approach WASH issues through the construction of modern WASH facilities for its citizens, and ensure that all Liberians and foreign residents have access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better WASH facilities across the country through appropriate budgetary allocation for WASH .

The African Development Bank Country Representative named Fragmentation, Poor Sector Reporting and Leadership in the WASH Sector as some of the issues still affecting progress in the sector.

A release from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia quotes Madam Kilo as also stressing the need for improvement in the compilation of transparent and accurate data in the sector that will lead to WASH improvement.

She however commended government for the formation of the National Water Resource and Sanitation Board by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but pointed out that there is a serious need by government to create Water Supply and Sanitation Commission and the Rural Water Supply Bureau.

Also speaking, Assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services, George Nyango described Madam Kilo’s statement as positive, intended to strengthen government’s effort.

Responding to the statement, Assistant Minister Nyango indicated that the Joint Sector Review was also intended for criticisms that will lead to a level of improvement in WASH sector’s activities.

He said the Joint Sector Review(JSR) unlike the one of 2012 is been enriched by a Sector Performance Report that will enable donors and government to critique.

The JSR among other things is discussing several thematic areas ranging from Finance, Urban Water & Sanitation, Rural Water Access, Water Resources & Drinking Water Quality, and Solid Waste Management.

Other Thematic areas include Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Hygiene & WASH in Health Facilities, WASH in Schools, Gender, and Coordination & Monitoring, Advocacy & Awareness amongst other pertinent issues.

The Joint Sector Review provides the platform for WASH stakeholders to discuss progress and decide on the best way forward for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector of Liberia.

This year the sector debuts Liberia’s first WASH Sector Performance Report (SPR), an analytical Report written by technical experts from government and partners.

The event is led by the National WASH Promotion Committee with support from government, local and international partners.

The Joint Sector Review (JSR) brings together several Participants from the various ministries and agencies, donors, local and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) at national-and county-levels.