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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: Speaker Koffa & WASH Activists Brainstorm On Sector’s Progress

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The establishment of a standing committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the House of Representatives seems to be gaining momentum by the day.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, a high-level meeting convened by United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency and Development in Liberia (UYPETDL) with support from WaterAid Liberia  held  talks with House Speaker Cllr. Fonati Koffa.

Attendees at the meeting with the Speaker included, UYPETDL Executive Director and Secretariat Head of the Legislative WASH Caucus, Timothy Kpeh, WaterAid Liberia Country Director, Chuchu Selman and Acting Chairman of the Legislative WASH Caucus, Grand Bassa County Representative Thomas Goshua.

Discussion at the meeting focused on the establishment of a standing committee on WASH at the House of Representatives and briefed Speaker Koffa on challenges of the country’s WASH sector and the need for legislative intervention.

Representative Goshua told Speaker Koffa that as the House of Representatives is embarking on amending its rules, the establishment of a standing committee on WASH will afford that body more oversight of the WASH sector.

WaterAid Liberia Country Director, Chuchu Selman, explained that partners were willing to invest in the WASH sector but would need backup support from the government.

“Looking at PPP arrangements, probably the Legislature will have to be involved. And those are some of the concrete actions that are needed to resolve the issues in the sector,” Mr. Selman added.

Also speaking, Timothy Kpeh, highlighted the usurpation of functions of WASH activities among government ministries and agencies, something he said is hindering accountability and progress in the sector.

For his part, Speaker Koffa stressed the need for the government to make commitment to international obligations through the budget and ensure they are “extinguished” as the budget is passed.

He noted that the establishment of a standing committee on WASH will be essential as it will work with other actors to ensure growth in the sector.

“These are important public policy issues. These are things that make us healthy as a country and a healthy population is a population that lives longer,” Speaker Koffa noted.

The House Speaker said having a good WASH program that the country implements with commitment helps citizens achieve goals of higher life expectancy.

Speaker Koffa assured of working with the Legislative WASH Caucus and the Caucus Secretariat to ensure the establishment of the WASH Standing Committee and attach the relevant importance to the committee.

At the same time, Speaker Fonati Koffa has signed onto a WASH Pledge Card.

The WASH Pledge Card is a commitment by public officials assuring of their support to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Liberia.

 

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