By Bill W. Cooper
In commemoration of World Toilet Day, the National Water and Sanitation Hygiene Commission (WASH), the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and partners, have presented to President George M. Weah, a roadmap on ending open defecation in Liberia by 2025.
The colorful event which began with a parade and ended with an indoor program at the Monrovia City Corporation brought together several stakeholders from across the different WASH sector including representatives from USAID, UNICEF and students among others.
With support from the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), this year’s World Toilet Day is being celebrated under the theme: “Valuing Toilet.”
World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day on 19, November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Furthermore, Worldwide, 4.2 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 673 million people practice open defecation.
Presenting the roadmap to the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), Wilson Tarpeh, WASH CEO, Bobby Whitfield stressed that the instrument when signed by the Liberian leader will help significantly in the fight in ending open defecation across the country.
According to him, the tendency of practicing open defecation by Liberians is seriously affecting the livelihood of the country and its people and as such, the need for all Liberians to unite and end said practice by 2025 can never be overemphasized.
The WASH CEO reemphasized his call to Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah for augmenting the Commission’s budget, and stressed that it is no secret that the commission is challenged financially in addressing the many challenges confronting the WASH sector.
He added that Liberia can never be a better place when the issue of sanitation is not addressed holistically, stressing, “Thankfully the President has shown interest in supporting the commission by establishing the WASH and placing in the national budget during his first term, but I think there is still a lot to be done.”
“The commission needs more support from the MCC compact report which Liberia has now failed for the fourth time running, and sanitation was one of the indicators that led to our failure. So, I hope my big brother can do due diligence by helping to augment our budget for fiscal year 2021/2022,” Amb. Whitfield averred.
Receiving the document on behalf of President Weah, EPA Executive Director, Wilson K. Tarpeh lauded both the WASH commission and NPHIL for the effort exerted in the crafting of the roadmap, while at the same time expressed his optimism that the document will be signed by the Liberian leader for its holistic implementation.
Earlier, delivering the keynote address, the Director of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Foundation Global, Dr. Kamal Kar, stated that the main objective of the roadmap is to help eradicate the issue of open defecation in all districts and counties across Liberia.
According to him, the roadmap will also help the WASH commission identify and solve the sanitation issue in the country, while at the same time called on Liberians to join and support the commission in addressing the sanitation nightmare in the country.
“This roadmap will also discuss and outline plans for hastening up the process of achieving open defecation free in Liberia by the end of 2023 as well as chalk out plans by declaring at least two ODF regions by the end of 2022,” he added.
For his part, the NPHIL Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Deputy Director, Amos F. Gborie stressed the importance of ending open defecation in Liberia by 2022 and thereby described the roadmap as a great milestone and big boost for the country in achieving its goals on sanitation. He further pledged the NPHIL’s fullest support in making sure that the implementation of the roadmap which is intended to help end open defecation in Liberia is actualized.
Weah Receives Roadmap
To End Open Defecation In Liberia
By Bill W. Cooper