Monday, 2 April 2012

Walking in Liberia!

Prince D. Kreplah is the Chairman and National Executive Director of the Liberia Civil Society WASH Working Group

In Liberia, 60% of the population cannot access a sustainable safe water supply and over 80% do not have a hygienic, dignified place to go to the toilet. Unclean water, unsafe faeces disposal and poor hygiene cause 88% of all diarrhoea and diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of death in Liberia. Over 40% of Liberia’s schools cannot provide safe water for their pupils.

That's why the WASH civil society Working Group in Liberia joined with people across the world to take part in the World Walks for Water and Sanitation on World Water Day!

Over 1,500 people (mainly from various slum communities in and around Monrovia), took part along with government officials, development partners and colleagues from other INGOs and NGOs. Campaigners held banners and placards marked with key messages such as 'Water is Life', 'Sanitation is Dignity 'and 'We need safe drinking water'. These messages were intended to raise awareness of key WASH issues and to call for concrete action from the government of Liberia to improve the water and sanitation situation in the country.

The Walk for Water and Sanitation in Monrovia, Liberia started from the B.W. Harris Episcopal High School on Broad Street and ended at the Capitol Building, the base of the Liberia National Legislature, where a petition statement was presented.

The statement called for the following:

Government of Liberia to:

  • Issue an Executive Order setting up a Water Supply and Sanitation Commission and set up the National Water Resources and Sanitation Board

  • Ensure that water and sanitation are prioritised with clear objectives and expected outcome

  • Establish a separate budget line for water, sanitation and hygiene in the national budget

  • Ensure that our schools have safe water and toilets that ensure the privacy of our girls and accessibility for People Living with Disabilities to enable them to learn and concentrate on their studies.

  • Provide the needed infrastructure for ‘hard-to-reach’ communities to access basic services including primary health care and access to safe water and improved sanitation services.

Our walk was featured in many local newspapers including the Daily Observer, the New Republic and the National Chronicle!

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