Gbarnga 2022 Declaration Signed

MONROVIA-Following an intensive and interactive brainstorming exercise relative to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector of Liberia, participants dominantly Superintendents, relevant stakeholders in the sector as well as Civil Society organizations jointly penned down their signatures to mark the official signing of Gbarnga 2022 declaration to end open defecation in Liberia by 2025.

The three days in the house and outdoor sessions respectively looked at challenges, progress as well as future plans for the improvement of the sector, especially with the focus on the people.

The fourteen counts declaration among other things highlighted that a dedicated staff be designated by the County Superintendent as a focal person in the County that County Superintendents advocate with their legislative caucuses and other stakeholders to allocate about 5% of funding for sub-National level for the implementation of Liberia ending open defecation roadmap 2025.

As a means of motivating the communities, the declaration captures the facilitation and rewards for individuals and communities, sub-National level structures and organizations mainly for those who will render special contributions to the WASH Promotion.

To reflect a holistic approach, the declaration also calls for active engagements from government organizations, political parties, civil society organizations, workers, teachers, the media, transport unions as well as security agencies and etc on the CHATWASH Movement to play an instrumental role in carrying forward Sanitation and Hygiene promotion as a social movement.

At the same time, the Gbarnga declaration recommends the establishment of the federation of WASH users committee of Liberia and capacitate them to conduct large-scale mass awareness, knowledge sharing and capacity building programs on promotion of sustainable WASH activities in partnership with WASH users committees and other organizations.

From the media perspective, the sensitive document highlighted the conduct of Sanitation and Hygiene promotion in a media-friendly manner to motivate and enhance the effectiveness of the role of the media.

Moreover, all schools, health centers, marketplaces, restaurants and public places ensure hygiene and sanitation education in practice, to establish the school as a venue for learning Hygiene and sanitation behavior change as well as conduct large scale hygiene and sanitation promotion and awareness-raising activities in line with the (National Hygiene for Health campaign strategy within their coverage/ service area)

Additionally, the declaration calls for capacity building and logistical and other support to be directed from central government and partners in WASH for the Empowerment of Counties and other sub-National level structures on a regular basis, to form or reform WASH coordination committees in all Counties, districts, cities and other sub-National structures where they are yet to form by the end of 2022 and to assist all coordination committees in formulating and implementing hygiene plan based on baseline data for their respective areas and that all governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations conduct programs in coordination with the County, Districts water and sanitation coordination committees in their working areas based on common criteria and to accord special priority to capacity enhancement program while conducting programs,  among others.

The key document with a special timeline of ending open defecation by 2025 according to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission Bobby Whitfield has political-will evidence of President George Weah’s commitment to prioritizing the sector.

Ambassador Whitfield named funding / support , transparency and accountability to the process including total ownership by the Locals as well as behavior change by the people among others as crucial components and pillars which he stated will help ensure that Liberia achieve the strategic goal of ending open defecation by 2025.

The WASH Boss in his closing statement assured the gathering of President Weah’s commitment to signing the roadmap document for the process which he noted will be a great boost and key milestone for the sector.

In a brief conversation with the participants mainly the Superintendents of Liberia, the respective vice- jurors to the President, all pledged their support and new approaches in delaying with WASH activities in their respective Counties with a focus on ending open defecation by 2025.

Already Grand Gedeh County has allocated $5,000.00 United States Dollars during their County sitting to focus on WASH issues while Rivergee has also allocated US$100,000 for health including WASH for the County while other Superintendents as part of the declaration promise to advocate with their legislative causes to providing funding for WASH in order to meet up with the key document deadline by 2025.

“Unlike before, we will be totally engaged and will play an active role, educate our people and work collectively to ensure we end open defecation by 2025”, the Superintendents re-echoed their commitments for the betterment of the society.

Meanwhile, The CHATWASH Movement of Liberia workshop held in Gbarnga Bong County from  March 16-18, 2022  was funded by UNICEF and brought together Superintendents of Liberia including relevant stakeholders, actors, partners and civil society organizations among others to discuss pivotal issues in the sector in order to subsequently help improve the livelihood of the people.



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