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Friday, June 14, 2024

REP. WILLIAMS INAUGURATED AS NEW CHAIRPERSON OF HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WATER, SANITATION, HYGIENE, AND ENVIRONMENT

Date:

MONROVIA – The leadership of the House of Representatives, represented by Deputy Speaker Hon. Thomas P. Fallah, officially inaugurated Pleebo Sodoken District #2 Maryland County lawmaker Hon. Anthony F. Williams as the new chairperson of the House’s statutory committee on Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Environment on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Hon. Williams succeeds Hon. Thomas Goshua of Grand Bassa County. The inauguration ceremony was held during the WASH Multi-Stakeholder Acquaintance Meeting at the Capitol, which gathered international partners in the sector, including the African Development Bank (AFDB), USAID, PSI, C4H, Living Water, World Bank, as well as sectoral line ministries and agencies like the MCC, Public Works, Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Ministry of Health, EPA, and the WASH Commission. Civil society organizations and other actors in the WASH sector also attended.

The ceremony was chaired and endorsed by the new House committee on WASH & Environment under the theme “Improving Our Living Environment Through Safe Drinking Water, Waste Management, and International Partnerships.” The main focus of the meeting was identifying the most vulnerable counties struggling with environmental and WASH challenges, and recognizing funding mechanisms and policy initiatives aimed at transforming the lives of both rural and urban dwellers. This includes issuing early warning mechanisms to ensure adequate access to safe drinking water, environmentally friendly public latrines, and instituting robust monitoring systems to ensure that donor funds are used for their intended purposes.

Remarking at the program, the newly inducted chairperson, Hon. Williams, emphasized the need for collective effort in addressing the perennial problems in the sector.

He stated: “I am deeply honored and grateful for the trust you have placed in me by appointing me as the chairman of the WASH and Environment committee. It is a privilege to serve along with dedicated and passionate individuals who share a common goal: to make a positive impact on our community and the environment. I look forward to working collaboratively with each of you, leveraging our collective expertise, and driving meaningful change. Together, we can address critical issues related to water, sanitation, hygiene, and environmental sustainability. Let us embark on this journey with enthusiasm, commitment, and a shared vision.”

Hon. Williams also spoke about the need to build synergies to address fragmentation in the WASH sector, which is evident among government ministries and agencies like the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Health, and the MCC, all dealing with the same issues separately. He disclosed that the co-chair of the WASH & Environment committee will submit a bill named the “WASH Ministry” to amend existing laws and centralize WASH activities, providing partners with a clear perspective on where they are investing their funds and support.

Furthermore, Hon. Williams recommended establishing a department of WASH at tertiary institutions and universities. He lamented the importance of taking donor projects beyond Monrovia to various counties and districts, where ordinary people face more significant challenges related to WASH and environmental issues. In closing, he pointed out the inefficiency of having more than three to four partners working on the same projects in one county or district, urging them to move to other areas where their work is not being duplicated.

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