By Samuel Ben Turay
Civil society organizations (CSOs) working on water and sanitation in the country have urged government to prioritize water in the implementation of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’.
The CSOs, including WASH-NET and Living Water International, were speaking at an event hosted on water and sanitation at the United Methodist Church headquarters in Freetown yesterday.
WASH-Net Chairman, Musa Ansumana Soko, said the organization is an alliance of civil society organizations in Sierra Leone with the desire of addressing the critical barriers to achieving universal and sustainable sanitation and drinking water for all.
He urged the government to work with his organization to ensure access to safe drinking water. He said the barriers to accessing clean water include insufficient political prioritization, weak sector capacity to develop and implement effective plans and strategies, coupled with inadequate investments to place WASH at the heart of the national development agenda.
Director of Living Water International (LWI), Hastings Banda, urged government to place more emphasis on water and sanitation for the people. He said LWI is a faith-based non-profit organization that helps communities in developing countries acquire safe drinking water in response to the global water crisis.
Sierra Leone is a country that has huge amount of water resources contained in more than 20 major rivers. Most parts of the country receive annual rainfall of more than 3000mm, with almost all parts of the country having abundant ground water.
Despite the huge amount of water resources in the country, at national level, only 57% of people in the country have access to and use improved drinking water resource. Apart from the low access to improved water sources, a significant proportion of rural water supplies in Sierra Leone either fail or fall into a state of disrepair shortly after being constructed, with many of such water sources being functional on a seasonal basis.
Thus, more than 10,000 water sources in Sierra Leone are not functioning as originally intended, which represents a significant failed investment in the WASH sector, according to a report titled ‘Rural Water Supply and Small Towns Water Strategy, 2013’.