Sister Cities International and the Maryland USA Sister States Relationship with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have jointly dedicated several hand pump projects in Gbarnga, Bong County and Harper, Maryland County, respectively.
The projects, estimated at over US$200,000 include the erection of 34 hand pumps in Gbarnga and the installation of pipe-borne water at the J.J. Dorsen Hospital in Harper.
Speaking in Gbarnga on Wednesday, the Executive Chairperson of the Maryland Sister States Relations, Sharon Pinder, described the relationship between Bong and Maryland counties in Liberia and the State of Maryland in the USA as special.
Ms. Pinder expressed optimism that the water projects will immensely help in providing safe drinking water to residents of both counties, saying water is life. She extended appreciations to the Liaison Officer of the relationship for Bong County Fairnoh Theo Gbilah for his efforts in making the projects a reality.
Madam Pinder said the establishment of the relationship was a very good beginning not just for the counties, but Liberia and the United States of America. She believes the projects were successful as the result of everyone's involvement to make sure they were done properly and on time.
Making remarks, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy, hailed the people of Maryland USA and all those, who formed part of the project for the tremendous achievement.
Superintendent Mappy called on community residents to properly maintain the hand pumps as its proper maintenance will serve as a recommendation for future assistance.
She reminded community residents that as taxpayers from different country have decided to assist the people of Bong, they should play the common role of making sure they are not destroyed.
Superintendent Mappy commended former Bong County Superintendent Ranney Jackson for steps taken during his administration in lobbying for the establishment of the sister city relationship. The hand pump project in Gbarnga approximately costs more than US$90,000.00.
In 2010, Mary State in the United States donated a dump truck to Bong County, and another to Maryland County as part of an effort to strengthen the relationship.
Residents of Gbarnga have welcomed the hand pumps construction, but questions have begun to emerge about the actual number of hand pumps that were erected.
The Liaison officer of the relationship said they constructed 34 four hand pumps in the city, but did not say specifically in which communities.When asked to name locations of the pumps, Mr. Gbilah only name few communities, saying he does not have much time to name all.
During the administration of former Superintendent Ranney Jackson, Mr. Gbilah, then county spokesperson, said the county authorities would have constructed public latrines in Gbarnga, but they were never constructed.