UK contributes US$ 7.4 million to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services in Liberia

Report
from UN Country Team in Liberia
Published on 02 Oct 2013 View Original

Monrovia, 2 October 2013: For 15-year old Hawa from the Clara Town slum in Monrovia, going to toilet is a risky business. Every morning, she has to walk on a thin plank over a swamp to reach the ramshackle toilet made of discarded zinc sheets and old rickety wooden poles. Besides the danger of falling into the infected water, the toilet is a serious health hazard to the local communities. However, these problems may soon be solved.

As part of its global commitment to expand access to clean water and sanitation to over 60 million people in poor countries by 2015, the United Kingdom through the Department of International Development (DFID) has committed £4,750,000 ($ 7.4 million) to UNICEF Liberia to expand access to clean water and better sanitation.

The two-year funding support will provide over 100,000 people (especially vulnerable women and children), in rural and urban communities of Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee counties with clean drinking water, latrines and hygiene awareness. The project will also provide similar support to cholera prone urban slum communities in Monrovia, Montserrado County.

“The DFID support is a follow up on its humanitarian assistance to the remote eastern border counties of Liberia which were affected by the 2011 political instability in Cote d’Ivoire. The programme will also support urban slums in Monrovia, Ganta, Zwedru, Pleebo and Harper by addressing the low levels of access to WASH facilities thus achieving associated health benefits and reduce the risk of diarrheal disease outbreaks," said Phil Evans, Head of DFID offices in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The counties were selected based on their low socio- economic indicators such as poverty rates, food insecurity and existing water and sanitation coverage, as well as their vulnerability to transmission and outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera.

UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) and Ministry of Education (MoE) and NGOs will construct hand-dug wells and bore holes in target communities to increase access to clean and consistent water. UNICEF and partners will also promote household water treatment products to improve water quality at point of use, and reduce the risk of diarrhoeal disease outbreaks.

The project will also support the promotion of sanitation improvements through Community Led Total Sanitation and social marketing of sanitation solutions.

UNICEF will construct separate boys and girls toilets in schools and promote health and hygiene by supporting School Health Clubs and hand washing with soap and water through provision of hand washing facilities.

Essential equipment such as water quality testing devices, motorbikes for effective monitoring and evaluation exercises and office equipment and supplies such as laptops and printers will be provided to implementing partners.

To ensure sustainable use of the water and sanitation facilities, selected community members will be trained to operate and maintain these facilities and set up spare parts shops in strategic locations, thus enhancing long term sustainability.

The project will also strengthen technical knowledge and capacity of staff of MPW, MoHSW and MoE in developing, implementing and monitoring water and sanitation interventions in the country, and support development and documentation of current good practices.

At the end of the two-year project, the target communities will benefit from reduced incidences of diarrheal diseases and outbreaks. Community members, especially children will have better understanding on healthy and hygienic behaviours such as washing hands with soap and water and using latrines. The project will contribute to improved child survival and development in Liberia through increased sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene practices by 2015.

“Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children in Liberia every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities,” said UNICEF Liberia Representative Sheldon Yett. “DFID’s contribution will ensure that more children in this country are able to enjoy their rights to clean water, hygiene and sanitation,” he added.

For additional information, please contact:

Mr. Miraj Pradhan, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Liberia.
Tel +231 0770267110. Email: mpradhan@unicef.org

Mr. Kinley Dorji, Reports Officer, UNICEF Liberia
Tel +231 0770267111. Email: kdorji@unicef.org