….Residents Demand Water & Sanitation Facilities.
The issue of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) remains fundamental to improving the quality of life, ensuring tangible health, environmental and economic benefits and contributing to poverty reduction.
Due to the importance of WASH, actors in the sector continue to foster the involvement of Liberians and foreign residents aimed at ensuring access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities.
As part of such efforts, a One Day WASH Forum has taken place in Kakata, the provincial capital of Margibi County. The WASH Forum known as “Meet your Law Makers” was organized by the United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency & Development in Liberia, with support from the Liberia WASH Consortium.
The Forum according to the organizer was designed to engage community dwellers to evaluate the level of progress made by Law Makers and County Officials on the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in Liberia.
The WASH Forum was also designed to inform community dwellers on the role of their Legislators and to also acquaint the Law Makers with challenges faced by the various communities regarding water, sanitation and hygiene to find a way forward.
During the Forum held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 residents of Kakata in Margibi county complained of the lack of adequate safe drinking water and better sanitation facilities in their communities.
The Kakata residents alledged that water borne diseases have become prevalent in the 32 Communities due to the lack of safe hand pumps, wells and public toilets.
They also alleged that due to the high demand for water in Kakata, a 5-gallon container is being sold for twenty five Liberian dollars (L$25) from open wells and other hand pumps in some of the Communities.
The Kakata residents described the situation as serious and called for immediate intervention.
They appealed to their Representatives, Steven Kafi and Ben Fofana of Districts # 3 and 4 respectively to advocate for the construction of water and sanitation facilities to improve the living conditions of thousands of the residents.
Some of the residents include persons with disabilities. They appealed for more WASH facilities, especially those accessible to them.
Responding to the residents’ request for increased WASH facilities in Kakata, Margibi County District # 3 Administrator, James Slocum who represented the District Representative, Stephen Kafi assured that the citizens’ complaints on water and sanitation will be presented to the Margibi Law Maker.
According to him, Representative Kafi of District # 3 in Margibi county (Kakata) remains supportive of access to WASH initiatives because he signed the WASH Pledge Card during the 2011 General elections.
Also speaking, Margibi County District Number Three Water and Sanitation Coordinator, Abel Dufu confirmed the lack of safe water and sanitation facilities in Kakata.
According to him, water related diseases are on the increase due to low access in Kakata.
For her part, the Advocacy & Communications Coordinator at the Liberia WASH Consortium, Robertetta T. Rose said the issue of safe drinking water and better sanitation remains cardinal to Liberia’s development and challenged all to make it a priority.
According to Miss Rose, the Liberia WASH Consortium will continue to support activities designed to ensure that Liberians and foreign residents have access to safe WASH facilities.
She also said the Forum in Kakata was a start to couple of similar activities in other parts of the country to bring together the residents, their Law Makers and County Officials to provide education and equally address issues in the interest of WASH.
The Liberia WASH Consortium Advocacy & Communications Coordinator also used the Forum to challenge community residents to take responsibility and ownership of water and sanitation projects, and even take the initiative to construct or manage WASH facilities to ensure a healthy and productive society.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of the United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency & Development in Liberia (UYPETDL), Timothy Kpeh said the Forum was important to know the level of efforts by Law Makers and County Officials on the provision of WASH services promised the people.
He stressed the need for Liberians to hold their leaders accountable, especially on the provision of access to safe WASH facilities.
The UYPETDL Executive Director also said the issue to provide persons with disabilities access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene facilities cannot be over emphasized, because according to him persons with disabilities were being marginalized thereby depriving thousands of them access to WASH.
By: Augustine N. Myers
Published on: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013