MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The need to increase funding for water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition cannot be over emphasized.
WASH Civil Society continues to lead robust advocacy to attract government to ensure that increase funding is provided to WASH and nutrition.
United Youth is a WASH CSO that is involved in advocacy in the country, for WASH and nutrition to have a specific budget line in the national budget in various agencies and ministries implementing WASH and nutrition programs.
As part of United Youth WASH advocacy engagement, the organization met assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services, the Director of School Health at the Ministry of Education, National WASH Commission and the media.
At the Ministry of Public Works, the group engaged Assistant Public Works Minister of Community Services on the issue of specific budget line for rural water in the ministry’s budget.
The Executive Director of United Youth, Timothy Kpeh, explained the essence of the CSO group’s visit to the Community Services Department of the ministry.
Mr. Kpeh indicated that the engagement is intended to find out how much the department is receiving from National Government, when it comes to rural water, sanitation and hygiene and whether the department has a specific line in the ministry’s budget.
Responding , the Assistant public Minister for Community Services , Bolton Dennis, informed the WASH CSO, including Water Aid –Liberia staff , Sidua Hor and Zayzay Kolubah that that the department usually outlines its activities and funded need for the department, but it is not included in the Public Works Ministry budget.
Assistant Minister Dennis indicated that due to the lack of funding for the department, it makes it difficult for the department to carry out its rural water, sanitation and hygiene activities.
He said most of the department activities are funded by partners, especially UNICEF.
The engagement by United Youth took the organization to the Ministry of Education Department of School Health. The head of the department informed United Youth that the department is not receiving budgetary support from the Ministry.
Johnson Hinneh said most of its activities are heavily support by partners working in the WASH sector of the country.
The engagement of the organization with the media also took place with United Youth, calling on the media to raise issues surrounding WASH and nutrition in Liberia.
Mr. Kpeh said:” The media will play a pivotal role in the process that will attract the attention of government on the issues of WASH and Nutrition.”
In remarks, the Chairman of the WASH media, Augustine Myers, said the media is willing to work with WASH Civil Society Organizations in the drive to improve WASH and Nutrition in the country.
Mr. Myers pointed out that the media needs the support in the advocacy drive to ensure that WASH and Nutrition is giving the necessary support, to provide robust coverage of WASH and Nutrition issues.
United Youth also engaged the National WASH Commission to find out what are the challenges the commission faced with that could be used in its advocacy for WASH and Nutrition.
For his part, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Bobby Whitefield, asserted that the commission is challenged when it comes to increased funding for the agency activities.
Chairman Whitefield noted that the commission is receiving funding for salary payment of staff, and not to implement programs projected by the commission.
He said the commission is heavily supported by partners in the sector to carry out some of its activities.
United Youth engagement with these ministries and agencies is part of its Irish Aid and Water Aid-Liberia programs creating the platform to improve WASH and Nutrition in Liberia.