Water Access in Liberia

Access to a steady supply of clean water is a perpetual problem in Liberia and other African countries. This issue is of particular relevance to FUEL Youth and its activities in Liberia. In 2003, FUEL Youth founder Edward Fahnbulleh returned to his home village of Messima in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia after nearly two decades of civil war. When arriving, he was shocked to find a high mortality rate amongst young children in the village. One of the primary causes of this mortality rate is the prevalence of water-borne diseases, mostly from livestock, which find their way into the village drinking supply during the rainy season. Realizing the critical importance of establishing a clean water source to reduce child mortality rates, Edward set out to build a proper well for this village, and since then the rainy-season death rate amongst youth in Messima has greatly decreased!

FUEL Youth decided to take further action to establish a clean water source as part of efforts to advance community development on Swaggart Island, part of Bushrod Island, which is located right outside of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city. In 2009, FUEL Youth started to help construct a water tower next to the United Christian Academy (UCA) as part of a planned water infrastructure to offer a clean water source to the community of Swaggart Island. The youth at UCA currently have no constant clean water source. The Swaggart Island Community Water tower will support the youth at UCA as well as all community members on Swaggart Island.

An exciting development in water access is a new water plant under the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), which claims it will be able to supply “pipe borne water to nearly 1.5 million inhabitants” both in the capital of Monrovia and its suburbs. This is an impressive development to help improve infrastructure and clean water access in Liberia after the devastation of the civil war. As a result of this water plant, the amount of safe drinking water will increase from 5.5 million gallons daily to 10 million. LWSC, in tandem with the World Bank, will work to further increase the supply of pipe borne water into Monrovia, and the government will receive a significant boost to enhance safe drinking water in Liberia. We at FUEL Youth find this to be a very exciting development, as we have seen firsthand the struggle to secure clean water sources. LWSC has said these developments would not have been possible without the help of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her international connections. Other joint initiatives, including ones with World Bank and USAID, to provide further pipe borne water are underway, which is a great sign for the future!

To learn more about steps to improve the health, environment and quality of life for those living in Monrovia, visit: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109200912.html

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