In 2004, shortly after the war ended, Living Water staff traveled to Liberia to assess the water situation. The visit revealed the great need and opportunity to help communities access safe water in the war-ravaged country. Since then, Living Water Liberia grown into a full WASH program and has been actively involved in addressing WASH needs, working directly with county government in the construction of new wells repairing broken pumps, and hygiene and sanitation education using the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. We help establish water user committees and provide them with relevant management, technical, and supply chain support to address the issue of sustainability in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works.
Living Water Liberia began its first WASH Program Area (WPA) in 2013 in Margibi county. In 2015, in response to the post-Ebola recovery efforts, Living Water Liberia began implementing WASH projects in the southeastern region (Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland) in partnership with UNICEF to increase access to water in schools, health centers, and other vulnerable communities.
Living Water Liberia has built a strong and committed team that effectively implements programs with a community engagement approach designed to ensure full participation of beneficiaries and foster a stronger sense of ownership of the WASH facilities. Our regional office provides relevant technical support through staff capacity building and monitoring to ensure that all program implementation meet relevant guidelines and quality standards. Over ten years of experience providing safe water and the living water, as well as with other activities like the Ebola crisis response, has equipped and increased Living Water Liberia’s capacity to address WASH needs and will continue to do so moving forward.
By June 2021, Living Water Liberia will transition out of the Margibi WPA, focusing our efforts in Montserrado, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland counties. Eighty percent of our efforts and resources will be concentrated in these focus areas, and twenty percent will be focused outside these areas. Two new WASH Program Areas (WPAs) will be established in Nimba and Bong counties. A mid-term evaluation and functionality survey will be conducted in the Margibi WPA (Gibi and Kakata Districts), and the results will help us strengthen operations, build more relationships with churches and local stakeholders, and, at the same time, develop an exit strategy.
Living Water Liberia drills boreholes and rehabilitates broken wells in areas with low water access. Most organizations involved in WASH projects in Liberia drill hand-dug wells in shallow or low water table areas that are not deep enough to provide sustainable water supply year-round due to hard rock formations. The majority of the water points constructed by these agencies go dry during the dry season, leaving people without water. Because of this, focus will be placed on borehole construction in areas that are in need to ensure sustainable and safe water supply.
Shallow wells up to a maximum of 70 meters are fitted with an Afridev hand pump. Deep wells (more than 100 meters) are equipped with a submersible pump, considering factors like size of community, cost efficiency, and sustainability. Water quality tests are undertaken prior to the rehabilitation of existing wells to determine if the water quality is adequate for rehabilitation or if a new borehole is needed. All water points are tested for water quality after the project is completed and before delivery to the communities to ensure the suitability of the water for drinking and to identify any potential microbiological and chemical contamination for further treatment. These activities are carried out in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders at both the local and national levels in order to ensure ownership and sustainability.
Living Water Liberia uses the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, which has proven effective in improving sanitation through pre-triggering, triggering, and post-triggering trainings. Community members analyze their own sanitation profile including the extent of open defecation and the spread of fecal-oral contamination that detrimentally affects all community members. Trained facilitators then use activities to steer the community towards the realization of the negative impact of open defecation, but they do not lead or enforce a decision to take any action, as this must be from the beneficiaries themselves. Through participatory exercises, discussions, and awareness, a community plan to become open-defecation free (ODF) and promote hygienic behaviors is developed, along with construction of latrines by the communities themselves. This approach encourages people to change their hygiene behaviors without prescribing how to do so. It also empowers local leaders and facilitators as they move on to other communities to share these messages and uses the momentum of collective action and social cohesion to address other livelihood issues in the community.
Once the community receives ODF status, Living Water Liberia provides basic sanitation kits including items such as a wheelbarrow, rake, shovel, matches, and a safe water solution (typically a borehole). The team also links them with Global Community (a non-governmental organization with resources for post-ODF scale-up activities) and per the National CLTS Guidelines, Living Water Liberia facilitates a cash motivation of $60 USD for each local leader whose communities are declared ODF.
Outside of CLTS, our hygiene promoters cover 15 total topics using Living Water’s participatory curriculum, dealing with three topics per training. Trained Community Health Volunteers guided by the Living Water team conduct house-to-house hygiene promotion and public health education. These sessions are given at each new or rehabilitated water point and include lessons such as proper handwashing, water transportation and storage, proper disposal of feces, disease transmission and prevention, and diarrhea management. Hygiene messages are shared through radio, flyers, and other means to enhance awareness. Living Water Liberia also constructs institutional VIP latrines and handwashing stands in schools and health centers to improve sanitation.
Living Water Liberia has built strong relationships with local churches by strengthening and encouraging them towards integral mission (physical and spiritual ministry). We empower and mobilize churches, and in some cases, establish partnerships with existing church networks or organizations to develop small, holistic plans with the intention of growing bigger. This is done by accessing capacities and envisioning activities of local churches including training of pastors and church leaders both at the county and national levels.
Other activities include:
Living Water Liberia will present the gospel at every water point in communities where we work and use the following to reach more people with gospel:
To learn more about supporting our work here—such as equipment, water projects, or our entire program area, please contact your local Living Water Representative.
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