President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has launched the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in schools with a challenge to the different groupings in the sector to come together and design programs that will stimulate immense support.
President Sirleaf said over the years, members of the WASH sector have been fragmented and had not been able to get together.
The Liberian leader said now that there is a board, she is challenging the sector comprising the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) as well as some local and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to form a common front and bring forth some tangible recommendations for government’s support.
President Silreaf, speaking at the launch of the WASH in schools yesterday at the C.D.B. King Elementary School in Monrovia stressed that the WASH sector needs attentive support and the establishment of a clear target.
The President also called on the sector to provide some data that can influence major policy decisions and promised that if these are done the sector will be strongly supported through budgetary allocation.
She further charged the sector to readjust its suggestion that children must bring to school a gallon of water for the purpose of hand washing noting that this will not be prudent as these children are coming from different homes and the possibility of all of them to bring in clean water cannot be a reality.
She also urged officials to provide one poly tank each for the use of each classroom with a promise that the government will continuously refill the tanks for the use of the students, saying , “ this is for this school but let’s also extend this throughout the country.”
President Sirleaf called on Liberians and her international partners in a serious way solve the problem by making available clean water as this will ensure that the country can prevent and take measures against infectious diseases that are prevalent.
Later, the United Nations Children Fund through its Country Representative, Sheldon Yett vowed to present 2.7 million bottles of clean water for the use of schools throughout the country. The UNICEF Official made a symbolic donation of the bottles of water to the Government through President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the program.
At the ceremony UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Works as well as local and international NGOs vowed to support the WSAH program in schools and encourage the washing of hands even if Liberia is declared an Ebola free country.