By Piet deVries, Senior Advisor, Global Communities
For four years, we were busy creating access to safe sanitation for communities in Liberia. And if not for an unprecedented epidemic of what is now one of the world’s most feared diseases — Ebola — almost no one outside of the country would have known about it.
That wouldn’t have been surprising. We were making making solid, consistent progress with Community-Led Total Sanitation, but it was one of those projects unlikely to generate much excitement outside the development community. We began this work through the USAID-funded Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) program in 2010 in the three Liberian counties of Nimba, Lofa, and Bong. Our program gained the support of the national government, and we worked with them to develop their sanitation strategy to improve the health of rural communities across the country. By early 2014, we had helped 284 communities become “open defecation-free,” and were working on more.
All that changed with Ebola.
Photo: Liberia, Ebola Recovery. Source: USAID / CC