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Community Based Enterprises to Improved WASH Services for Reduction of Malnutrition, Safer Environment and Peace in Post-Ebola Liberia

The on going piloting project at Dolo and Unification Town of Magribi county complements this project through sharing good practices.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Oxfam will replicate a successful pilot project in Liberia using a Public-Private Partnership model to manage water supply and address chronic malnutrition through a nutrition-sensitive WASH intervention. 32% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished due to insufficient food intake and because of health and environmental factors, including poor WASH, which results in repeated infections that prevent the body using and absorbing nutrients, increasing susceptibility to disease and creating a vicious cycle. Government spending on WASH in Liberia is below 1% of the total annual domestic budget. Most investment in urban and rural water and sanitation is expected to be borne by households, without any strategy on how to provide preferred and affordable sanitation solutions. Our project is a community-driven innovative approach to construct subsidized WASH facilities, providing affordable and sustainable services, income generation and food production with clear social, economic, and environmental benefits. Innovative WASH interventions at clinics, schools, communities and households will break the vicious “diarrhea/nematodes/enteropathy-malnutrition” cycle through education and infrastructure development. Training, tools and safe water support urban farming and backyard gardening for households and communities (especially women and youth) will improve food production and sustainable livelihoods. Partnerships will ensure financial accountability, manage supply and demand, identify sustainable, affordable and reliable technologies and enhance cooperation. The capacity of community-based organizations and enterprises (CBOs/CBEs), especially those run by/for women and youth, will be strengthened to foster local ownership and enhance their ability to influence government in WASH and nutrition. Youth and women empowerment, healthier children, better management of scarce resources and reduction in poverty and deprivation will improved community cohesion and promote peace.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Selection will be based on geography prioritising areas with extreme poverty, malnutrition and health risks due to poor WASH and health service provision (10,000 individuals: 2,000 households in 15 rural and 2 peri-urban communities). Beneficiaries will be involved in finalising selection criteria and will support the identification and selection of community based organisations and enterprises for service provision. Significant concrete benefits include access to improved water supply; reduced disease and death (especially reduction in water-borne diseases); increase in quality, nutritious foods; income generation; decrease time and cost associated with fetching water and caring for the sick; increased school attendance, especially for girls; increased dignity; prevention and protection from violence; and decrease in plastic pollution (especially from single-use drinking water bags which block drainage systems, contributing to flooding and both mosquito- and water-borne diseases).

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are very few organisations that are implementing nutrition-sensitive WASH programmes in Liberia. This was raised at the WASH Joint Sector Review as recently as May 2018. This will be the unique project with its market-based approach with community based enterprises to improve the creation of demand and supply part of the market value chain for safe water and environment. This project will provide an alternative solution for the financing gap in Liberia through implementation of WASH Programme piloting market based approach for community and institutions with nutrition sensitive WASH that can be replicated to respond to the chronic malnutrition with an increased access to safe water and sanitation for the urban, peri-urban and rural dwellers in Liberia with 30-40 % contribution to the initial investment and full cost coverage for operation and maintenance. It will also enhance communities’ ownership to improve sustainability of WASH facilities.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Oxfam have been operational in Liberia since 1995 and operates with field offices in the often-neglected south-eastern part of the country. The project team will be led by the Gender Justice, WASH programme managers, and supported by the MEAL manager and other project officers as well as Oxfam staff in finance and logistics, and will be implemented in partnership with local CBOs, CBEs and other nutrition focused agencies.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

This project is inspired by an ongoing pilot project in Dolo Town and Unification Town/peri-urban areas in Margibi county, Liberia. These towns were among the hardest hit by the deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, at which time Oxfam in Liberia began providing life-saving water, WASH infrastructure and education. Today, the WASH facilities are managed by local CBEs; the project shows promising results and is ready to be replicated and scaled up and out to include other innovations an

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Though Liberia has not experienced armed conflict in 15 years, there are many incidences of violence in local communities with high levels of poverty and unequal access to resources, which are often mismanaged and captured by local elites. Prosperity, achieved through income generation and food security will promote peace in remote communities in the Southeast, where government provision of public goods is sorely lacking. Intimate partner violence is also very common, with about 40% of women experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. Peace at the household and community level will also be achieved through the economic and political empowerment of women and youth, including the strengthening of their collective power. Increased prosperity will also lead to less pressure on the planet, such as through felling and burning trees to make charcoal. The planet is also protected through green farming, clean water supply, and decreased open defecation and plastic pollution.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Within the Liberian context, the approach demonstrates, in partnership with community, local government, Community based social organisations, community bases enterprises, women right groups and national government, a community driven innovative approach to construct partially subsidised WASH facilities with affordable and sustainable services along the market value chain from production to sale, with derived economic benefits.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Oxfam have been working with Revercess community on long term development programs mainly focusing with CLTS approach to insure open deification free communities that reduced the transmission route of fecalcoliform by 70%. 100% of the communities covered in the CLTS approach were certified open defecation free certificates, which is high success rate compared to the 70% national level success on CLTS. They also show high initiation and commitment to adapt and contribute to development initiation

Geographic Focus

South East Liberia in Revercess county communities with extreme poverty and malnutrition rate.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

24 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)


Liberia Comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey provides the justification for the project –the situation of chronic food insecurity causing severe levels of malnutrition and stunting in much of Liberia. Food insecurity is widespread, with every fifth household considered food insecure, mainly affecting poor rural households with informal livelihoods. Almost one-third of children under five are stunted.


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