Source: UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani
In 2013, SWA partner country, Liberia, held its first joint sector review for the water and sanitation (WASH) sector. Since then, the sector has strengthened through the creation of a sector plan and strategy, and convened regularly for coordination meetings. In 2018, Liberia’s WASH sector is undergoing a second generation of reforms to further improve and strengthen the sector to promote a more progressive realization of WASH.
Despite regular coordination meetings, words exchanged during the gatherings did not translate into harmonized efforts, and water and sanitation actors operated in a siloed manner. The WASH sector lacked a tangible instrument to plan or manage water and sanitation activities, thus available mechanisms to align activities were insufficient.
During the country’s joint sector review in July 2018, recommendations were made to develop a programme which grounds activities related to all elements of the water cycle to the national plan, and allows for a system of monitoring and accountability. Moving forward, this programme will also serve as a reference point for the government and all international partners.
As a result of the recommendations, Liberia has created the ONE WASH Program with the goal of ensuring several key policy objectives including:
- That a Sector Wide Approach to implementation is adopted and sustained for WASH programmes
- That mutual accountability is enhanced through the joint planning of programmes, implementation of activities, and evaluation of outcomes
- That service acceleration is achieved through pooled resources, synergy building, and complementarity principles
With the support and commitment of partners like UNICEF, WaterAid, USAID, Oxfam, and a number of other NGOs, Liberia expects to begin implementation of the ONE WASH in early 2019 once the implementation framework is ready. The WASH Commission, created in 2011, will run the ONE WASH Program with a host of new commissioners. The Commission is developing a budget based on the ONE WASH Plan for submission to the Ministry of Finance for funding. It has positioned itself as the vehicle for improving sector governance and resource mobilization in the sector.
In creating the ONE WASH Program, Liberia has structured it in a manner which allows for the guiding documents to be operational and to adjust to shifting needs and priorities in the WASH sector. The programme includes a system of monitoring and accountability via a committee which regularly reviews progress on the priority activities. The function of the committee is to identify challenges in the implementation of activities and work to resolve the challenges rather than allowing them to linger.
As Liberia continues to push forward the ONE WASH Program, political will and leadership are instrumental to its success, as is multi-stakeholder support and adherence to the programme’s framework.