Creating a decent place to live for residents of Peace Island in Monrovia
Habitat for Humanity and its partner organization World Hope International, along with YMCA and the government of Liberia, completed construction works of a multi-year complex slum upgrading project to improve access to water, sanitation, solid waste collection services and a community infrastructure facility to promote social cohesion in Peace Island, Congo Town.
MONROVIA, LIBERIA (March 18, 2021) – Dignitaries, government officials from the National WASH Commission and Monrovia City Corporation, partner organizations and community representatives gathered in Peace Island to unveil new water and sanitation facilities completed in the area for the complex slum upgrading project. This work started in 2018 through the support of the Cities Alliance, the OPEC Fund for International Development, ADH Germany and the government of Liberia. The chief guest, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia Hon. Clair Marie Weah, and the Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs, Paulita Wie, were present at the dedication event in Peace Island.
Partner organizations have constructed a community social hall, infrastructure facilities, including two high yielding boreholes with solar pump systems to provide safe drinking water to over 30,000 people; an elevated water reservoir with six poly tanks; three water kiosks with a distribution network to all facilities constructed under the program. The area has been equipped with two eco-sanitation toilets facilities with bio digestors, two existing sanitation units were renovated. For the first time, a complete solid waste management system involving primary waste collection, waste removal services, recycling and composting was implemented. A community clean-up campaign helped to removal of over 63,000 cubic meters of waste from the area. To facilitate the process, a modern reinforced concrete bin is installed in the community to collect garbage. All the facilities are operated through community-based enterprises supervised by the Community Project Management under the guidance of the Township Commissioner and relevant technical line ministries. Through YMCA, the community carried out sanitation and hygiene promotion activities at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, residents of Peace Island have been able to curb the spread of the virus.
“To meet the housing needs of the growing urban slum population, basic services and infrastructure development interventions are necessary at the community level, then a market-based approach for sustained service delivery as well as policy and regulation environment,” says Mathew Ndote, the Chief of Party at Habitat for Humanity International. “I am really happy that our project has demonstrated how to tackle these problems and find solutions to complex urban challenges at multiple levels. We know that it is possible to transforms urban slums into a decent place to live.”
Access to adequate and affordable housing and upgrading of slum settlements is a core component of achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, as envisioned in the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. However, cities are still struggling in achieving this goal.
“We are thrilled to be part of this historic effort in Peace Island to bring vital, clean water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure to the slum community,” says Wellington Kollie, Country. Director for World Hope International, Liberia. “Having these systems in place is a great step forward in affirming the human dignity of the people who call Peace Island home and is an important step forward in improving their health and wellbeing and creating opportunities for the future. I am grateful that World Hope has been able to work alongside of our partners and this community in making it a decent place to live - a place that has access to clean water and sanitation systems and a new lease on hope.”
Peace Island is a large settlement of Monrovia with a population of around 36,000 people. Primary challenges facing residents were lack of access to clean water, uncollected solid waste and informal dumping sites causing major health hazards. Open defecation was also a major pollutant to the environment and destructive to the nearby mangroves as residents used plastic bags to dump human waste into the swamp. Monrovia is considered the wettest capital in the world, over 70 percent of the population in Monrovia is marred by numerous hazards, risks and vulnerabilities. Because of elevation and the poor citywide drainage systems, most residents are continuously affected by flooding while some communities are seriously affected by sea erosion. Fourteen years of civil war and the recent Ebola crisis have significantly contributed to the unhealthy and hazardous conditions in which the majority of urban residents live.
In Liberia, a five-year comprehensive slum upgrading and affordable housing framework was developed under the Cities Alliance Liberia Country Program. It is being implemented in partnership between Habitat for Humanity, the government of Liberia, Slum Dwellers International, YMCA, UN-Habitat and Women in Informal Employment. World Hope International has recently joined this collaboration and implemented construction of planned facilities.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.habitat.org/emea.
About World Hope International
For 25 years, World Hope International has been working around the world to provide those in need with opportunity, dignity, and hope so they can possess the tools for change in themselves, their family, and their community. World Hope focuses on clean water and energy, protection, global health, and social ventures. The Christian relief and development organization uses market-based and community-driven solutions to empower, protect, and build resiliency through innovative, environmentally conscious, and transformative projects. World Hope invites everyone to be part of this work through financial support, volunteering, and advocacy as, together, we work with vulnerable and exploited communities to alleviate poverty, suffering, and injustice. To learn more, visit www.worldhope.org.