Promoting Sanitation Guidelines for Tailored Solutions in Liberia

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Eugene Caine knows firsthand the dire need for sanitation standards in Liberia.

Eugene lives and works in Monrovia, the Liberian capital city that frequently makes headlines for its poor solid waste management and hygiene practices.

“The sanitation issue at the national level is unique. More than 40% of our population is practising open defecation. That is [even] heavier at the rural level.”

Eugene is the Senior Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist at the National WASH Commission. The Commission is a multi-stakeholder regulatory body created by the government to address the lack of water resource standardization at the heart of Liberia’s WASH crises. 

To deepen his knowledge for his post, Eugene joined the Training Course for ISO 30500 and ISO 24521: International Non-sewered Sanitation Standards. The standards provide guidelines for managing domestic wastewater services and designing prefabricated wastewater treatment solutions not attached to sewer or drainage systems.  

Eugene says he is reaping the benefits. 

“I was able to support the Environmental Protection Agency to design a [draft] sanitation regulation. It covers the entire country, but it will address particular institutional and urban and rural responsibilities.”

Eugene also contributed to the WaterAid-led development of a manual for installing and managing Bio-Digester Tiger Worm Toilets. This low-cost sanitation solution uses commonly found earthworms to turn human waste into fertilizer. 

“We supported them from the Commission and Ministry of Health standpoint to be able to design the facility, and then we are monitoring the facility now. We just had our first quarterly monitoring of that facility and hope to continue more.”

Eugene, who is also Liberia’s focal point monitoring SDG indicator 6.3.2, is advocating for other WASH specialists to get more training, despite resource constraints. 

“My knowledge… has been able to help the WASH Commission greatly. And to share some of the discussions and some of the instruments that we need to develop to support water, sanitation and hygiene. So that has been great for me, and I’m still hoping to convince most of my colleagues. Someone here didn’t come from a [sanitation] background, so I explained, and he’s now doing the courses.”