Liberia Observes World Toilet Day

Liberia Observes World Toilet Day

....WaterAid Liberia called on President Weah to launch and sign the open defecation roadmap document; says over 40% of citizens practice open defecation

As part of World Toilet Day celebration 2021 under the theme: “Valuing Toilet”, with support from WaterAid Liberia, Civil Society, and community dwellers on Thursday, November 18, gathered at the St. King Zito Community in Red light to commemorate the Day.

World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day set aside on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

The occasion, among other things, is geared towards creating awareness as well as inspiring action to tackle global sanitation challenges through improving sanitation facilities and services, strengthening the effectiveness and financial sustainability of wastewater management utilities, and raising public awareness about the health benefits of eliminating open defecation.

Providing an overview of World Toilet Day, Timothy Kpeh, Coordinator of the United Youth for Peace Education Transparency and Development, said the Day was set aside by the United Nations and other partners to highlight the difficulties people experience due to the lack of toilet facilities. Mr. Kpeh indicated that 4.2 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 673 million people practice open defecation. 

He disclosed that by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG #6, aimed to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.

He said sanitation systems affect billions of people around the world and are either non-existent or ineffective, consequently, progress in health and child survival is seriously undermined.  In Liberia, he said, over 40% of citizens practice open defecation and only 18% have access to safe sanitation services while less than 1% practice safe hygiene.

Mr. Kpeh, however, used the occasion to call on President George M. Weah to immediately launch and sign the open defecation roadmap document in the country.   He said the document was developed in 2018, completed in 2019, and subsequently submitted to the office of the President of Liberia. 

He said the Roadmap document provides a guide towards achieving an open defecation-free country using different approaches such as capacity development; promotion of improved technology options through sanitation marketing; provision of sanitation facilities in public places; Community-Led Total Sanitation; promotional among other things.

Also speaking, Sidua Hor, Senior Advocacy Manager of WaterAid Liberia, expressed gratitude to his partners for organizing such an occasion. Mr. Hor said the celebration of World Toilet Day is very important to them because it reminds them of their efforts in buttressing government efforts to provide a very decent, sanitation environment for Liberians.

“For us at WaterAid, we consider this day because it is a day for us to look at how far we have come in terms of our efforts to improve the situation of our sanitation when it comes to clean toilets, access to clean and safe drinking water as well as a safe environment,” he said.

WaterAid Liberia Senior Advocacy Manager expressed the hope that President George Weah will deem it necessary to sign the open defecation roadmap for Liberians. He indicated poor sanitation contributes to childhood illness, thus affecting the growth of children.

Mr. Hor stressed the need to provide improved sanitation is key to maintaining good health amongst the citizens of Liberia.

He, however, encouraged community dwellers and others to practice improved sanitation and also spread the awareness message about World Toilet Day, and why it is important to practice safe sanitation. For their part, the people joyfully expressed their satisfaction affirming that WaterAid Liberia and Shalom have always been there for them.

They also promised to properly use the facility for its intended purpose, thereby restoring dignity and sanitation in the community.