Liberia: Senator Kaipay Wants WASH Services Accelerated Across Liberia



The Legislative Caucus of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (NWASH) Sector has intimated that there is a need for political will to accelerate growth in the sector, including increased access to safe drinking water and ending open defecation. 

The chairperson of the caucus, and Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan L. Kaipay, said the need for safe drinking water in Liberia and the acceleration of sanitation activities cannot be overemphasized.

Liberia is blessed with an abundance of water, but Kaipay noted that those waters are not saved for public consumption.

“The government and its partners need to make every effort in ensuring that Liberians get proper WASH services. This is our duty to the people,” he said. “There are some levels of improvements in the urban areas in terms of access to safe drinking water but we need to do more as a country and people. The construction of additional wells and water coming from Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation are increasing with support from our partners.” 

The Grand Bassa County Senator made these comments on Wednesday, March 01, 2023 in an exclusive interview with newsmen in Monrovia in commemoration of this year’s World Water action month and the world water day scheduled for March 22, 2023. 

He said more needs to be done to improve the WASH sector in Liberia because people in rural areas or communities continued to drink unsafe water, and carry out open defecation. 

While Liberia is making tremendous progress in ensuring access to safe drinking water and reducing open defecation, Kaipay insists that there is a  need to look at the current challenges and find solutions to address them.

Commenting on the lack of budget to support WASH activities across the country, Kaipeh said he does not believe that anyone will pass a budget in Liberia without putting anything for the WASH sector, therefore, he is prepared to review it and see if it would be appreciated by the sector.

He however, said there’s a need for stakeholders in the WASH sector to identify programs or activities in order to get increased budgetary support from the government, stating that “I’m prepared to lead this process so we don’t just say we want money, but present strategic plan for the three or five years to work with and the government can support it along with partners.”

The Country Director of WaterAid Liberia, Chuchu Selma, said though there has been some progress made in the sector, however, Liberia needs to do a lot as there are still many people who lack access to safe drinking water, especially in rural parts of the country.

“The government, the public, and individuals need to pay attention to the importance of water, and how giving water, especially safe drinking water to the rest of the population is very cardinal for their livelihood and many others. From time immemorial, we see that government contribution is far less than expected and data out indicates that government only provides 5% and the rest come from partners,” Selma said.

“There has been an analysis done and it shows that the sector requires US$120 million investment annually, and of this amount, only US$37 million has been coming according to records. We believe there is a need for the government to start major intervention, especially in data collection and management and integration of WASH in other aspects of human development,” Selma said.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (NWASHC), Bobby Whitefield, said Liberia is making efforts to address problems affecting the WASH sector across the country but the progress could be faster.

Whitefield said this year’s world water day celebration by the United Nations will be held in New York, United States of America, and will be hosted by the Kingdom of Netherlands and will bring stakeholders together to brainstorm on how to address water problems and open defecation globally.   

He said the conference will further look to achieve commitments from the United Nations, world institutions, the African Development Bank, and development partners in accelerating access to water globally. 

“The month of March every year is considered globally as the Water Action Month which is noted by the United Nations for which we increase advocacy for access to water by all people on the face of the earth. Additionally, we increase advocacy for the acute effects of water shortage and this is not just locally but internationally,” Whitefield said while declaring officially the observance of water action.