The Water Sanitation Network (WASH-NET) has ended a day’s dialogue for candidates taking part in the November 17th elections 2012 in the Kambia district.
In his statement, the Acting Regional Coordinator WASH-NET North District Focal Person, Foday Sesay said that WASH-NET’s aim is for the people of this country to have access to sanitation and clean water.
He added that all over the world, people are joining forces to end the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis, which is why WASH-NET Sierra Leone is trying to persuade political leaders to make water and Sanitation, a priority in their manifestos.
He added that WASH-NET Sierra Leone is symbolically using the pledges of political parties to prioritize safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities.
Sesay said that mid this year, Kambia district experienced a cholera outbreak and presently the district is without pipe-borne water and that only two chiefdoms can boast of pipe-borne water.
The chairman of WASH-NET Sierra Leone, Musa Ansumana Soko expressed his profound gratitude on behalf of his organization to stakeholders, political party representatives, media and civil society for honouring their invitation on the pledge to prioritize water, sanitation and hygiene.
Musa Ansumana Soko gave a brief background of WASH-NET Sierra Leone and how they achieved success by supporting the government’s agenda in development on water, sanitation and hygiene project throughout the country.
He added that WASH-NET Sierra Leone was as result of an outcome of the September 2010 learning forum that was organized by the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW).
Soko said that WASH-NET Sierra Leone is a composition of civil society organizations(CSOs) representing various constituencies in Sierra Leone, with a working committee of seven (7) organizations, advocating for adequate budgetary allocation and financing to the WASH sector as an integral component of ensuring adequate WASH for all.
He added that Sierra Leone is facing big challenges with regards to sanitation and urgent attention is needed, if it is to meet its national and international commitments. He emphasized that Sierra Leone’s MDG targets are that by 2015, 74% of the population should have access to safe drinking water and 66% of the population should have access to sanitation, however, he said currently only 57% of the population have access to safe drinking water and 40% have access to improved sanitation.
In her contribution, the section chief of Magbea Village in Kambia District, Yalimamy Pamkay Kapen said eight(8) Chiefdoms in Kambai district are Open Defecation Free (ODF) latrines and 70% of latrines are not in good order in Kambai district.
The chief added that “election period is one of the few times when we, as ordinary citizens, have the ears of the politicians and can raise our voices to tell them what matters to us”.
She emphasized that WASH-NET Sierra Leone is timely for creating the enabling environment for political parties aspirants to commit themselves into the water, sanitation and hygiene manifesto campaign in Kambia district.
The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) candidate for Kambia District chairman Ibrahim Kabba , in his statement, thanked WASH-NET Sierra Leone for bringing this program to their needs.
He also denounced violence and called on everyone to take politics as a game, that every citizen should play peacefully. Kabba assured the gathering that water, sanitation and hygiene is part of his manifesto.
Alhaji Momoh Conteh, the All Peoples Congress (APC) candidate for constituency 141, ward 135, in Kambia district said that he would continue to write projects for the development of his constituency as had been doing before.
He emphasized that water, sanitation and hygiene is essential to everyone in the country and called on WASH-NET to continue this sensitization campaign on water, sanitation and hygiene in every corner of Sierra Leone.
Ishmail Marthin, Independent candidate for ward 122 Kambia district said he will pledge to priorities water, sanitation and hygiene facilities as part of his Agenda.
Agnes Bola, the Revolutionary United Front Party(RUFP) aspirant for ward 122 Kambia district, also expressed her desire to develop the district, if elected, as she had been doing in the past, before she entered into politics.
By Abibatu Kamara