WASH Entrepreneur Economic Empowerment (WE3)

WASH entrepreneur launchThe WE3 project builds on Global Communities’ success training water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Entrepreneurs. While the Ebola crisis was at its peak, a small group of Global Communities’ trained 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 hand washing and safe hygiene practices that could help combat the spread of the disease. The entrepreneurs proved they were more cost-effective and able to more quickly access these clinics than pump mechanics from larger towns farther away.

Having a well-trained cadre of WASH entrepreneurs offers promising potential to provide essential WASH services as Liberia recovers from Ebola and seeks to establish stronger and more sustainable health systems. By providing a market-based model for WASH services, gains made through infrastructure investments and health programming can continue to grow independently even after donor-funded programs are complete. WASH entrepreneurs have demonstrated success by providing localized and affordable services to communities typically left out of the WASH market and through continued training, formalization and investment, these entrepreneurs can better link community demand and private sector supply for WASH services in Liberia.

water pump repairWith support from ExxonMobile and the National Oil Company of Liberia(NOCAL), the program is recruiting and training WASH entrepreneurs in in two underserved districts of Bong County – Suakoko and Panta Kpaai. In coordination with the Government of Liberia and the Ministry of Public Works, entrepreneurs are being rapid trained and deployed to yield immediate benefits to communities. At least 50 percent of new recruits are women. The training includes topics on water pump repair, soap making and sales, environment management for malaria control, job costing, financial management, reinvesting profits, contract management and marketing. In addition, Global Communities is supplying trained and certified WASH entrepreneurs with starter kits for pump repair and soap making.

The activities under the program include assessing communal and institutional WASH facilities in need of repair. In concert with the Ministry of Public Works, entrepreneurs are conducting in-depth assessments on WASH facilities at schools, clinics and in communities that need repairs and rehabilitation. Other key activities under the program include vendor identification and supply chain mapping. Global Communities is working entrepreneurs to identify WASH product vendors, companies and suppliers which vital to ensure the availability of WASH products at all times within target communities to promote sustainability and ownership.