An agreement valued at one hundred six thousand United States dollars (106,000 USD) has been signed between Global Communities (formerly CHF International) and Chevron Liberia to provide public latrines in the Greater Monrovia/Paynesville area.
Under the grant agreement, Chevron Liberia is expected to contribute $106,000, which will be match 100% by funding provided by the USAID funded Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) Program.
The Agreement between Global Communities and Chevron Liberia is the second of its kind. The partnership began in January 2011 with the aim of providing modern toilet facilities to communities in dire need of access to sanitation and hygiene.
Two modern toilet and hygiene facilities have been constructed though this partnership in the Townships of new Georgia and Blamo Town Community-Logan Town on the Bushrod Island in Greater Monrovia.
As part of the new agreement, three additional modern toilet facilities will be constructed in the Monrovia and Paynesville areas to expand access and result in health improvements for the surrounding communities.
Speaking Monday at the signing ceremony, Global Communities Chief of Party for USAID IWASH Program, Piet deVries, said in the past two years a lot has been learned about the challenges of building toilet facilities in densely populated urban areas.
He disclosed that by increasing community awareness, daily usage of facilities has increased from fifty to two hundred persons per day. Mr. Devries also revealed that as a means of improving the facilities, designs of the structures have been modified to improve efficiency, maintenance and environmental characteristics.
He said Global Communities, (formerly CHF International) will apply lessons learned from the two facilities constructed to provide the best possible toilet and hygienic facilities in communities targeted.
He also noted that one of the most critical challenges is finding land to build these facilities. According to him, finding land is the most difficult part of the project.
Mr. Devries said his entity needs land to be donated to commence the construction of the facilities. He used the occasion to appeal to local leaders to discuss with residents in order to find land for the project in their respective communities.
Global Communities Chief of Party emphasized that with flush toilet, sinks for hand washing, and showers located in the community, professionally operated and maintained, and provided at an acceptable price, these facilities can significantly improve the health and quality of life for community members.
For his part, Chevron -Liberia Country Director, Karl Cottrell said lack of access to sanitation and its effects on world health is a common issue faced by many countries in the world.
Mr. Cottrell noted that in Liberia, there is no doubt that cholera and dysentery are major issues confronting the health sector of the country.
He disclosed that as a means of fighting the issues of cholera and dysentery, Chevron has established strong ties with the John F. Kennedy and Redemption Hospitals. He further said reports from the JFK where his entity has assigned a doctor indicate that reoccurrence rehydration caused by dysentery has a devastating impact on the health of Liberia.
Mr. Cottrell described the issue of sanitation as a third world problem and assured that Chevron has attached importance on a global basis.
Chevron Liberia Country boss said sanitation is truly an issue of importance and as such Chevron was happy to partner with Global Communities to facilitate the construction of three new toilets and hygiene facilities in Monrovia and Paynesville .
He further stressed the need for an effective monitoring and evaluation of the project from lessons learned from other projects in New Georgia and the Blamo Town Community in Logan Town on the Bushrod Island.
Sanitation and hygiene practices are considered a struggle for municipalities in urban Liberia. International donors and private businesses can be significant contributors in assisting in the improvement of community health and quality of life by funding critical infrastructures such as latrines.
The provision of safe water and facilities for safe sanitation and hygiene practices is also a struggle for municipalities in urban Liberia. The Finance Minister recently held a meeting where he stated that public latrines and sanitation are the highest priority in the WASH sector to Monrovia area.
These facilities, funded by Chevron and USAID IWASH Project, will provide great benefits to the communities in which they will be constructed. The beneficiaries are expected to manage the project effectively under the project.
The grant signing ceremony was attended by the staff of Chevron and Global Communities, representatives from the government of Liberia, N.C Sanitors, Monrovia City Corporation, (MCC) among others.