Grand Bassa County Senator and Chairman of the WASH Legislative Caucus, Jonathan L. Kaipay, has underscored the importance of the WASH sector in Liberia’s development and the ramifications for the lives of pregnant women and children.
Senator Kaipay made the assertion recently during a one-day event titled “African Sanitation Policy Guidelines Country Stakeholder Consultation” held at a resort in Monrovia. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
“Water and Sanitation remains pivotal to Liberia’s transformation for which the Legislature works robustly hard to pass the act that created the Water and Sanitation Commission today,” Senator Kaipay said.
Senator Kaipay said policies have been put into place that continued to ensure the regulation of the sector, but however, stressed the need to institute measures that will address the overlapping of functions in the WASH sector of the country, which remains a sticky issue among line ministries and agencies.
“We need to harmonize the different functions in ensuring that the WASH commission gets the necessary support that will make it more effective and also able to regulate the sector,” Kaipay stressed.
Senator Kaipay further called on President George M. Weah to declare water and sanitation as a national emergency that will help Liberia to move forward, while emphasizing the need to develop strong political will to transform the sector as well.
“Today, we see the pandemic that has engulfed the world.
These issues will be addressed if Liberia adequately treats water and sanitation and open defecation as an emergency. We will use international occasions to launch a global advocacy campaign,” Senator Kaipay said.
He added that the Legislature has begun the process to regionalize the WASH activities through a conference held recently in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The daylong event brought together various stakeholders of the WASH sector in Liberia and international and local partners. The conference was aimed at deliberating on challenges in the WASH sector of Liberia. Liberia’s Public Works Minister and chairman of the Board of National WASH commission, Mobutu V. Nyenpan, said “you are meeting at the time the global community is being confronted with a major threat of Coronavirus”.
Mr. Nyenpan said the Coronavirus threat remains serious across all continents of the world but called on the WASH commission to institute measures that will combat this global threat.
He said the world is on its heels as listening to news and watching television reveal issues that the world did not expect today or prepare for.
“It’s our anticipation that stakeholders here will adopt policies, guidelines and practices that will help us join others in combating this global threat. These are tough economic times of government but President Weah is committed to himself in providing resources that are necessary for the WASH sector,” Mr. Nyenpan said.
Ambassador Bobby Whitfield, chairman and chief executive officer of the WASH Commission said Liberia continues to make tremendous impact regionally and nationally.
Amb. Whitfield said “there is no need to overlook any sector. Liberia must get WASH right which will help us to improve enrollment in school, productivity of Liberia and cut down the burden on the health sector.” Continuing he said, “We will be discussing Africa sanitation policy over the period of one year and will be led by an African secretariat. Today, we will be discussing the sanitation landscape of Liberia.”
Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) Williametta Saydee-Tarr said the improvement or transformation of the WASH sector will help keep girls in school. Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said the WASH sector remains important to the gender ministry, especially to women empowerment.
“We want to see the value of this sector and what this consultation brings to women in Liberia. We know that the lack of clean water really affects women and girls because they are the ones taking or drawing water from the various wells and hand-pumps,” Minister Saydee-Tarr said.