Prince D. Kreplah is the Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH working group, a joint advocacy initiative of six local Liberian NGOs and faith based organisations. Mr. Kreplah talks about the Crisis Talks being organized by these organisations in seven counties on and around World Toilet Day!
Liberia witnessed widespread civil war from 1989-2003. The war displaced over two million people and damaged infrastructure and basic social services such as water, sanitation and hygiene. The Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) estimates that ‘only 25 percent of Liberians have access to safe drinking water and just 14 percent have access to human waste collection and disposal facilities.’ Coverage varies from county to county for water from 7% to 66%, and for sanitation from 9% to 25%. In rural areas, access is even lower, particularly in the South East of the country where four of six counties have the lowest levels of access to safe drinking water in the country.
It is against this background that six Liberian civil society networks organisations seek to strengthen their collaboration and potential through the creation of a joint advocacy network—the Liberian CSOs WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Working Group. This network raises awareness, influences policy change and mobilises action.
On and around World Toilet Day, 19 November 19 2011, the members of the Liberia CSOs WASH Working Group will organize Crisis Talks in seven of the country’s fifteen counties including Bong, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Lofa, Nimba, Montserrado, and Margibi.
Each of these Crisis Talks will involve five people affected by the water and sanitation crisis speaking to explain how lack of access to WASH is impacting people’s health and economic and social well-being. Overall, more than 700 political leaders, policy makers, civil society executives, youth leaders, chiefs, women, elders and slum community dwellers will attend the five crisis talks and sixty victims and expert witnesses will testify before representatives from the media, civil society and public service.
A brochure containing recommendations on the way forward from those affected and experts will then be circulated to decision makers and partners. There will also be a video documentary made at each Crisis Talk voicing the opinions of slum communities affected by the crisis including school children, people with disabilities, women and hard to reach community dwellers.
Members of the Working Group will then meet with the delegation of decision makers who will be attending the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in April 2012. They will share the voices of those affected by the water and sanitation crisis and the opinions of civil society and share their expectations about how the delegation should prepare for and participate in the meeting.