The Association of Evangelicals of Liberia (AEL) is expected to construct hand pumps in three communities in Zota District, Bong County as part of efforts in providing safe drinking water for residents in the region.
AEL is the largest network of churches and agencies of Evangelical persuasion in Liberia responding to human needs with spiritual guidance, compassion and practical care.
Its vision is a Liberian Church that is faithful to God's calling to love as Christ loves, evidenced by its practical, holistic and compassionate response to human needs.
Communities that are expected to benefit from AEL's pump construction include Kpoe Village, Beliefinai and Global Village. When constructed, the hand pump will serve as source of life for residents of the three communities, some of whom have over the past time suffered for safe drinking water.
The Christian institution's plan to provide safe drinking water for residents of the area has drawn the attention of some of the citizens, many of whom have extended commendation to AEL for the initiative.
According to the citizens, the provision of safe drinking water is the most important tool for everyone, adding that they are left with no alternative but to extend commendations to AEL.
AEL has over the past time been working in Zota and Panta Districts to ensure the construction of latrines, hand pumps and hand washing facilities. It has helped around 25 communities so far, and around 85% of those being helped by AEL with water, sanitation, and hygiene education are elderly.
More than half of those elderly people are widows who lost their husbands as a result of the war and the spread of disease. These people live on less than $0.50 per day. AEL project activities have mobilized communities to help with latrine construction, to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment.
With the help of the AEL technicians, family members dig their latrine pits to a depth of 10 feet, gather sticks, and create the structure of the latrine. More than 300 latrines have been built by families, and over 5,700 families still remain in desperate need of latrines, and will receive support from AEL to achieve this. According to the World Health Organization, just one in four Liberians has access to safe drinking water, and half of all Liberians have no access to a toilet and use streams or open areas.
Outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera occur regularly, as many as one in five deaths in Liberia are blamed on water and sanitation problems. Despite the progress of Liberia's economy since the end of its second civil war in 2003, it still remains one of the poorest countries in the world today. It is estimated that 76% of the population of Liberia live below the poverty line and 52% live in extreme poverty with less than $0.50 a day.