The monthly National WASH Committee Meeting of Liberia concluded in Monrovia on June 20th, 2013, at the Tetratech ARD’s offices in Sinkor, where stakeholders gathered to discuss critical issues and review progress being
made with activities of the WASH Sector Strategic Plan (SSP). Key issues highlighted include identifying funding sources for implementation of the WASH sector Capacity Development Plan, decentralizing and strengthening sub national WASH programs, and developing district WASH plans. Action points were agreed upon at the meeting, including a unanimous decision to set up thematic groups whose core mandate will include monitoring sector progress and challenges based on the four strategic objectives of the SSP.
During the meeting, the Chairman of the NWSHPC, Hon. George Yarngo, encouraged partners to use their programs in the different counties and districts as a tool to support government-led efforts of decentralization, capacity building and policy implementation. He noted the need for key partners to lead the way in ensuring that the development of district WASH plans can be tied into existing programs. The only development partner present at the meeting, UNICEF, shared its process thus far in engaging county and district government through the DGIS WASH Programme.
The meeting saw suggestions from participants on the way forward in terms of using the SSP Sector Operations Matrix (SOM) as a tool for planning. Some government ministries and agencies are unaware of their respective mandates set forth in the SOM, and the sector as a whole could benefit from using the SOM more often as a guide for programming.
Updates on the National Water Resources and Sanitation Board (NWRSB) and funding for the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC) were also provided. The Coordinator of the NWSHPC Secretariat, Mr. Abdul Hafiz Koroma, informed the group that a cover letter along with the final draft Executive Order for the NWSRB has been prepared by the Ministry of Public Works and will be delivered to the President by the end of next week. He also outlined amongst other issues the importance of the proposed thematic groups being set up. Mr. Koroma emphasized that these groups, once organized, will greatly strengthen coordination and support the work being done by the Secretariat. “We need to ensure that these thematic groups are set up as this a mandate of the JSR Report. It is our responsibility to ensure that the JSR Report recommendations are implemented,” he remarked.
Mr. Momo Kamara of the UNDP indicated that a draft budget of 3 million USD for the WSSC Secretariat has been presented to the government to be included inthe country’s annual budget beginning fiscal year 2013/2014.The budget needs to be approved by the government and the government needs to establish WSSC in order to attract donor support to fund the draft budget. As soon the WSSC is established and the draft budget submitted to the government is accepted and included in the country annual budget, development partners are willing to work with the government to mobilize resources for the operation of the WSSC in the first year. UNDP Goal WASH has been a front runner in raising support for the WSSC and has done a lot to source funding for the sector since the Joint Mission for WASH developed the Liberia WASH Compact in April 2011.
The meeting concluded with the sharing of snacks and drinks offered to participants by the USAID funded project –Liberia Municipal Water Project implemented by Tetratech ARD.
We look forward to see all partners at our next coordination meeting. Kindly log on to our website for information on meetings, including the schedule and minutes.
By: Abdul Koroma, NWSHPC Coordinator