Quiet Heroes in the Fight against Ebola

Newly graduated WASH entrepreneurs prepare to deploy to their target communities. Photo credit: Global Communities Liberia

While the Ebola crisis was at its peak in Liberia, a small group of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) entrepreneurs helped in a significant way by repairing hand pumps in clinics and other health facilities in some of the country’s hardest-hit counties. By restoring access to water — not only for drinking, but also for infection prevention and control — these WASH entrepreneurs ensured that facilities had the resources they needed to promote handwashing and safe hygiene practices that could help combat the spread of the disease.

Liberia’s Bong, Lofa, and Nimba counties were some of the areas most affected during the Ebola crisis. The communities in these counties are largely rural and hard to reach. Roads and infrastructure are poor and government services are limited. In these rural communities access to water and sanitation facilities are extreme challenges. According to the latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, nearly 80 percent of rural Liberians do not have adequate sanitation facilities. At the same time, 47 percent of rural residents do not have safe drinking water sources.

Read the full article in USAID's Global Waters magazine.