Liberia: Wash Commission, Centre for River Basin

27 March 2019

The National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Commission of Liberia (NWASHCL) and the Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RC-ITBM) UNESCO-Category 2 Centre on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to network and collaborate.

The MOU, which also seeks to foster cooperation in education, research and mainstreaming of eco-hydrology relative to integrated water resources management at the Basin level was signed in Monrovia by heads of the two institutions.

The agreement also allows NWASHCL and RC-IRBM to promote their respective interests, while considering the mandate of the other institution.

Areas of focus are staffs exchange program and the hosting of staff members as department visitors.

Prior to the signing ceremony, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NWASHCL Bobby Whitefield told a gathering of stakeholders that the Commission faced numerous challenges and thus depends on the expertise of the National Water Resources Institute of Nigeria for the development of its capacity.

Mr. Whitefield disclosed that the commission is relatively new and indicated that prior to it being set-up by President George Weah eight months ago, Liberia was the only country without an agency solely responsible to regulate its water sector.

He reiterated the WASH Commission's major challenges are the recruitment of the necessary staff, since the area is a technical institution, noting "we cannot compromise the technical nature of the Commission".

Mr. Whitefield also made reference to the identification of an office space to host the Commission and said it is however being hosted in the former Liberia Telecommunications Building in Sinkor.

He disclosed that the building was renovated to meet the standard of what a WASH Commission office should be, noting that the building has running water and hand-washing facilities.

Whitefield said staff of the Commission cannot afford to miss a pending training in Nigeria for some government institutions made possible through the Ministry of Transport.

"We embrace this meeting. We hope to benefit from the pending training. We don't want to be left behind. We want our men to get started and move on the field as soon as possible," Whitefield said.

For his part, Prof. Emmanuel Ada Adanu, Executive Director of the National Water Resources Institute disclosed that his team was visiting Liberia based on request from officials of the Ministry of Transports who requested technical capacity building assistance during a recent visit to their institute in Nigeria.

He promised to provide training for Liberian technicians and said "it is not your fault, we went through it ourselves".

Prof. Adanu said he was happy that Liberians are willing to acquire skills and said "we visited several areas and noticed that you people are eager to learn."

He wants women included among those who will be sent for the training because, according to him, women are more concerned about hygiene compared to their male counterparts.

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