MONTSERRADO COUNTY, LIBERIA-The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have launched Sanitation and Economic Empowerment projects worth 500,000 US Dollars.
The project was launched recently in Johnsonville, Kpelle Town Market, with Bong County, Margibi and Rural Montserrado Counties as beneficiaries.
Providing an overview of the project and roles and responsibilities of partners,the Senior Project Officer of Catholic Relief Services , Theophilus Davies, said:” The the installation of the hand washing facilities will enable marketers at selected markets and buyers carry out hand washing.”
He said the facilities will set the platform for the prevention and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Davis also disclosed that as part of the project, hygiene promoters will be deployed at selected markets to carry hygiene promotion.
He also said $200,000 thousand of the $500,000 will be set aside as Economic Empowerment for selected communities, so as to provide some empowerment for them due to the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus.
Also speaking at the launch, the Health Office Director of USAID, Jessica Healey, said the initiative is intended to aid the Government of Liberia to battle the COVID-19 virus.
Healey said the hand washing facilities at selected markets will help in the fight of the COVID-19 virus.
She said:” Hands washing play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of disease, which are transmitted through the hands.”
Madam Healey assured Liberians that the US Government is committed to supporting initiatives of the Liberian Government that will bring about improvement in the life of its citizenry.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberia WASH Civil Society, the Executive Director of United Youth, Timothy Kpeh, praised USAID and CRS for the funding of the project.
Mr. Kpeh used the ocassion to remind the Government of Liberia to ensure that the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene are addressed properly with the aim of improving the status of Liberians, when comes to WASH.
The WASH CSO Advocate wants Government increase budgetary allocation for WASH in the National Budget.
“Ninety percent of our WASH activities are supported by international partners, and our international partners will not continue to do so always”, Mr. Kpeh added.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the National WASH Commission, Bobby Whitefield, commended USAID and the CRS for the initiative, describing it as a way of preventing the spread diseases.
Ambassador Whitefiled asserted that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Government is committed to the process of providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to its citizenry.
He admonished beneficiaries to ensure that the facilities that will be installed at their various markets be sustained and maintained
The WASH Commission Chairman also supported calls by WASH CSOs for Government to make the necessary funding to the commission, to enable it perform the task of ensuring that the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services is improved.
The superintendent of the kpelle Town Market, Mrs. Roseline Ngakpe and the chairman of Kpelleh Town Community , Joel Gayflor, thanked USAID and the CRS for providing the facilities to the market.
They assured USAID and CRS that the facilities will be maintained and sustained for the betterment of the market and community.