The Executive Director of United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency and Development in Liberia (UYPETDL) Timothy Kpeh welcomes appointment made by President George M. Weah in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene or WASH sector but says those appointed are very new in the sector, calling on them to closely work with stakeholders to achieve the purpose for which the WASH commission was established in Liberia.
President Weah appointed Mr. Bobby Whitfield as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WASH alone with Mr. Salia O. Kamara as Executive Director.
Kpeh says the appointment by the President is a dream come true for poor and marginalized community dwellers, who are now looking forward to the full implementation of the policy which he notes, is very key to achieving the government’s Pro Poor Agenda, and they as Civil Society Organizations will continue to push until that is done.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, he says there are individuals and organizations working in the WASH sector that have been pushing this agenda for years with experiences and skills, and they better understand the vision and mission of the sector and are ready to positively contribute to the realization of improving the sector.
According to him, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. “Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood, choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world’’, he notes.
Kpeh continues that the United Nations has committed to promote and protect the rights of people to water, sanitation and hygiene via the inclusion of WASH in the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal #6.
He says with the current poor access to water, sanitation and good hygiene practices in Liberia, the country is losing a notable proportion of its GDP, and not financing WASH will contribute to preventing Liberia from reaching its vision of becoming a middle income country by 2030.
He recalls that the vision to improving WASH services in Liberia started since 1981, and in 2010, Liberia developed a roadmap called the Liberia WASH Compact which calls for the establishment of a WASH Commission.
In 2012, civil society organizations working in the WASH sector with support from international partners including, WaterAid, Oxfam Liberia, the Liberia WASH Consortium advocated for the establishment of the WASH Commission.
The Act establishing the WASH Commission was introduced in the House of Representatives in August 2012, and with continues advocacy by CSOs it was finally passed into law in 2017 by both Houses of the Legislature and subsequently signed into law by the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, pending appointment of officials.
By Bridgett Milton–Editing by Jonathan Browne