15 February 2017

Liberia: U.S.$7 Million Wateraid Project for Liberia, Sierra Leone

1.1 million Liberians and 2.4 million Sierra Leoneans endure scarcity of safe drinking water.

WaterAid, a non-profit organization, has launched a US$7 million project to provide water to targeted communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The 2015 WaterAid report said there was significant progress globally in meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water. However, both Liberia and Sierra Leone are lagging behind the universal coverage on safe water with an estimated 1.1 million Liberians and 2.4 million Sierra Leoneans impacted by the scarcity of safe drinking water.

Patrick Cheah, WaterAid Country Director for Liberia, made the disclosure on Wednesday at the official launch of the 5-year project held at a local resort in Monrovia.

WaterAid intends to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in both countries, Director Cheah said.

The program will focus on WASH impact on health, nutrition and schools.

"We will build on the positive cross-border relationships we've established with stakeholders, including governments, donors, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and private sector and nurture a profile of service delivery and CSO partnership in order to maximize learning and increase synergy in WASH programming," said Cheah.

WaterAid works in four counties in Liberia and three districts in Sierra Leone, focusing on hard to reach communities and areas where citizens are marginalized in terms of access to water.

"We are integrating communities that are around the border, including Gbarpolu, Cape Mount, Maryland and Grand Kru counties. In Sierra Leone, we are working in Kenema, Kailahun, among others to alleviate their constraints to access to water," Cheah said.

The organization will also push governance, especially where CSO partners exist to help WaterAid in its project delivery.

"We will also look at knowledge management that helps to replicate what was done in Sierra Leone to come to Liberia," he said, adding, "Our primary focus is looking at access to water services for remote communities."

The 2015 WaterAid report said there was significant progress globally in meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water; however, both Liberia and Sierra Leone are lagging behind the universal coverage on safe water with an estimated 1.1 million Liberians and 2.4 million Sierra Leoneans impacted by the scarcity of safe drinking water.

"Our strategy is linked with the global strategy, which is the basis for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WaterAid will come back and provide a progress report for the public and partners," Director Cheah said.

Augustine Myers, who spoke on behalf of Liberia WASH and CSOs, said he was delighted to be part of the WaterAid program to address water constraints in the country.

"We are pleased that a Liberian can be a WaterAid Country Director, because only Liberians can solve our problems. The issue of water for rural communities is cardinal and the CSOs are willing to work with all the partners to ensure that we overcome this challenge," said Myers.

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