Project Launch in Freetown by WASH-Net and YPPD through supports from UNDP

Across Sierra Leone, a number of projects experience decline of newly built water supply and sanitation infrastructure soon after its lifespan comes to an end. Using the basic principle behind this project, it is very clear that the user community has a major role in its installation, control over decision-making and the responsibility for operation and maintenance. Strengthening inclusion and capacity of user communities therefore builds local ownership that contributes to sustainable functioning of the water supply facilities at the community level.

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-Net) in partnership with Youth Partnership for Peace and Development (YPPD) through funding support from UNDP, on Friday 7th June 2019 officially launched the Adaptive Capacities of Water Services on Climate Project (Village Savings and Loans Scheme) at the Africell/American Corner Bathurst Street office in Freetown. The project is expected to benefit 9 communities across the western are rural and urban in Freetown.

The objective of the project is to improve the health status of people and their communities, in particular, to identify project district through sustained and increased water supply services.

Making a presentation at a meeting held with community people, local council representatives from the Freetown City Council and Western Area Rural District Council and UNDP partners the CEO of WASH-Net, Musa Ansumana Soko said Sierra Leone is currently off track on meeting the target of halving the percentage of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. He pointed out that 57% of the country’s population has access to safe drinking water, 30% of all schools are without running water and 14% of all under 5 child deaths are due to diarrhea and other water related illnesses.  He said women and girls are particularly affected spending time and energy on water collection, which could be spent on education or livelihood activity.

He said their activates will be based on baseline assessment and community scorecards and Initial community mapping exercises, identify WASH Committees and conduct intensive VSLA training and introduction of the guide, develop and produce IEC/BCC materials, organize monthly Interface Meetings to assess progress of targeted communities, undertake wide range of media engagements, documentary evidence, conduct community sensitization meetings using WASH VSLA linkages    and train Local WASH actors (caretakers, WASH Committees/Management Teams) acquire more technical capacity for provision and maintenance of facilities.

In his statement, the National Project Manager for the Project, Sam Goba gave a brief background about the project and stated that their is role is to build human capacity and to provide WASH facilities. He used the forum to point out the various intervention they have done and promise to prove more in the interest of the people.

In her contribution the Representative from Freetown City Council Fatmata Kamara expressed satisfaction of the project while at the same time reaffirming her trust confidence for a successful implementation. She further highlighted they as a council is in charge to provide WASH services as government but due to funding and capacity limitations, NGOs and CSOs do step in to complement government’s efforts. She called on community people to make good use of the opportunity by making ownerships so that facility can serve it intended proposes. Questions, comment, suggestion, contribution and official launch of the project climaxed the program.

By Komba Fillie

WASH Media Network.