Water, Sanitation and Hygiene media advocating for better water, sanitation and hygiene in the country has engaged editors and station managers of both print and electronic media at the WASHnet office on ways how they can prioritize and familiarize themselves with water, sanitation and hygiene stories in their different media outlets.
In his statement, the Coordinator of WASH Media network, Komba Fillie started by saying that the network was established on the 7th November 2013 and it is comprised of journalists working in the print and electronic media. He also said that the role of the network is media advocacy on water, sanitation and hygiene, pointing out that the initiative was brought about due to gaps in the media relating to media reports on water, sanitation and hygiene.
He explained that the network comprised of the national executive committee consisting of two based in Freetown, one based in the provinces and four regional coordinators including a District Focal Persons in all twelve districts. He said the networks are answerable to their respective regional coordinators. he also added that they consider the managing editors as the foundation stone for the general growth and progress of the network and encouraged them to prioritized WASH stories in their respective outlet.
The Program Manager of WASHnet, Saffa Andrew Koroma who was Chairman of the occasion said achieving sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene is directly linked with the achievement of Target 10 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which aims at halving the proportion of people without sustainable accesses to safe drinking water by 2015. He said government has committed itself to achieving this as is explicit in the Agenda for Prosperity by reaching at least 66% to 74% of beneficiaries nationwide.
He maintained that the system that should provide people access to safe water and sanitation either don’t exist or have broken down. “Public stand pumps are not running, distribution pipes have broken and in most instances pipe-borne water does not flow. Money is wasted, people resort to drinking filthy water, while people continue to use open spaces as toilets,” Saffa Andrew Koroma stated.
He said in spite of the tremendous efforts taken to tackle today’s crisis in the water and sanitation sector, yet more challenges remain ahead that make it harder and even threaten to unwind progress made so far. These challenges he said include the impact of population growth, rapid urbanization and climate change.
The responses of the editors were positive and they lauded the idea and assured that they will henceforth write and publish stories about water sanitation and hygiene in the country.
By Nancy Koroma
Wednesday September 17, 2014