Tag Archives: Liberia

Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda

Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda. CitiScope, Oct 20 2016.

Good urban planning can’t happen without a better understanding of informal settlements, advocates say.

Earlier this year, when the Liberian government wanted to demolish informal housing in the West Point section of Monrovia, local community members had a strong argument to dissuade them.


West Point, Monrovia. (Nick Fraser/flickr/cc)

Thanks to a slum profiling initiative done the previous year through Shack/Slum Dwellers International, the community knew that many of West Point’s rudimentary, wooden toilets — so-called “hanging toilets” because of how they are built over the water — were located where the demolitions would take place. The toilets likely would get destroyed too.

Destroying the toilets, they argued, would pose a public health threat.

“That was where we came with our data and said ‘no’,” recalls Bill Jlateh Harris, of Shack/Slum Dwellers International, who lives in West Point. “If you take away [toilets] you expose us to open defecation and disease outbreaks. We appealed to them, using our documents, to stop the demolition exercise. It worked. Those structures are still there, in fact. They were not touched.”

The data community members collected in West Point includes information about the number of taps and toilets in the area, as well as population figures. It is available online through the “Know Your City” campaign, a data initiative from Shack/Slum Dwellers international that provides community-generated data from more than 7,700 communities in 224 cities.

Read the complete article.

Global Waters Radio: Piet deVries on Sanitation Behavior Change in Liberia

Global Waters Radio: Piet deVries on Sanitation Behavior Change in Liberia | Source: Global Waters, June 2016 |

Piet deVries is Senior WASH Specialist and Liberia Country Director for Global Communities, a Maryland-based NGO with programs in more than 20 countries around the world. In his recent sit-down with Global Waters Radio, deVries discussed his experiences in Liberia promoting community-led total sanitation (CLTS) over the past several years, as former chief of party for USAID/Liberia’s Improved Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (IWASH) program.


Photo Credit: Global Communities

CLTS is a methodology originally pioneered in Bangladesh that seeks to create sustainable improvements in community sanitation by prioritizing public education and equipping communities with the skills needed to build and maintain their own improved sanitation facilities. CLTS also encourages community members to support the behavioral changes necessary to eliminate the public health threats posed by open defecation — a common practice in much of rural West Africa.

Link to the podcast/complete article.

A Community Approach to Better Public Health in Rural Liberia

A Community Approach to Better Public Health in Rural Liberia. Global Waters, June 2016

Liberia is no stranger to difficult times, having weathered a devastating Ebola outbreak and now struggling through a slow economic recovery. Lost amid the headlines from these events is the story of Liberia’s quiet public health victories.


Residents of Lofa County’s Vahun district in Liberia gather to discuss strategy for sustaining recent local sanitation improvements. Photo Credit: Global Communities

Half of Liberia’s 4.5 million people live in the countryside and roughly the same amount practice open defecation.

This practice has jeopardized public health by facilitating the spread of diseases that cause diarrhea, Liberia’s sixth leading cause of death and the primary cause of childhood morbidity and mortality.

However, thanks to two programs that championed community-led sanitation improvements, USAID has now helped 1,500 Liberian communities achieve open defecation-free (ODF) status — fueling optimism about continued public health improvements in the near term

Read the complete article.

Tiger worm toilets: lessons learned from constructing household vermicomposting toilets in Liberia

Tiger worm toilets: lessons learned from constructing household vermicomposting toilets in Liberia. Waterlines, May 2016.

Authors: David Watako, Koslengar Mougabe, Thomas Heath.

In response to the poor urban sanitation in Monrovia’s slums and Buchanan’s peri-urban areas in Liberia, Oxfam piloted worm toilets (aka Tiger Toilets), constructing 180 toilets between 2011 and 2015. One toilet was constructed per household for families containing fewer than 10 people. Each toilet was connected to a biodigester containing 2 kg of African night crawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae).

This paper documents the programme approach including how the community was mobilized and the construction process. The results section reviews field observations, challenges, and the maintenance problems encountered. In the discussion the paper reviews the design changes, lessons learned, limits for scale, and critical factors for success (favourable environment, local supply, infiltration capacity, and local technicians).

The paper concludes that although the project is still ongoing, the study suggests that the African night crawlers can digest significant volumes of human excreta if proper conditions of aeration, moisture, and temperature are met.


Liberia: Government, USAID-Iwash Score Big CLTS Success

Liberia: Government, USAID-Iwash Score Big CLTS Success |Source, July 15, 2013|

A total of sixty one communities in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) after a meticulous process conducted by the government of Liberia with support from the USAID-funded IWASH Project jointly implemented by CHF International and PSI.

The IWASH Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Project Manager, Madam Elizabeth Geddeh said the government of Liberia, with support from IWASH, triggered one hundred twenty communities in February this year and that the sixty one communities are the first batch to achieve ODF, with the last celebration which took place July 11, 2013 in Lofa’s Kolahun District.

The other communities are progressing to ODF and are expected to be verified and certified by the end of September this year. It is expected a total of 100 communities out of the 120 triggered will achieve ODF status.

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Rose George – Dirty little secret: the loo that saves lives in Liberia

Diarrhoea kills more children than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined – and its main cause is food and water contaminated with human waste. Liberia’s president is trying to change all that.

For the worst country in the world, Liberia looks lush. All along the long road to Fish Town, the sumptuous rainforest on either side is a comfort, a green bath to soothe the dreadful red dust that is constant and the potholes that cause nose-bleeds, head-bumps and nausea even in this well-cushioned Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to WaterAid. We are scrunched into this car for days, because that’s how long it takes to get to Fish Town, only a few hours from Liberia’s capital Monrovia if you’re a crow, but 36 hours otherwise, because the country has only one decent main road.

Not just a flash in the pan: President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is on a mission to educate her people about the link between early mortality and bad sanitation. Photograph: Aubrey Wade for the Guardian

To get there, we must loop north, brushing the border with Guinea, before swooping back down to a town that isn’t much of a town, the joke goes, and doesn’t have much fish. But it’s busy these days because NGO 4x4s such as ours are zooming through on their way to help refugees escaping from Ivory Coast, the latest poor sods in this region to be kicked out of their country by war.

We, though, are not zooming towards refugees but towards something far less newsworthy. It is my sixth visit to Liberia. The first was in 2004, six months into the country’s first peace in 20 years. Liberia had suffered years of stunningly brutal civil wars, orchestrated largely by Charles Taylor, now on trial in the Hague for war crimes (a man who once sued a journalist for saying he had eaten a human heart, and lost); and by other warlords with names such as General Butt Naked, General Peanut Butter and Devil. And this war’s stories were more horrific than most: mass rape; boy soldiers kept going by drugs, looting and raping; parents killed by their own boys; checkpoints made from intestines. Imagine the worst and, if you looked, you’d find it here doubled.

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Liberia’s President signs WASH Compact

Liberia‘s President signs WASH Compact

The President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has finally signed the much talked about Liberia WASH Compact which was developed at the Multi Donor Conference on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) held at the S.K.D Spokes Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia last year May.

Liberian President, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

The Liberia WASH Compact is a product of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership aimed at ensuring that the Liberian population can have adequate access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities.

A release from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia quotes the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee under the leadership of the Public Works Ministry as saying President Johnson-Sirleaf who is WASH Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, signed the Compact last week.

The Liberia WASH Compact outlines the commitment to meet the MDGs challenges through partnership between Government, the Private Sector, Civil Society, Development Partners and the Media.

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