A coastal West African country, Liberia covers about 43,000 square miles and is home to 4.5 million people. English is the official language of Liberia, in addition to over 20 tribal dialects making up 95% of the population. Liberia was formerly colonized by the American Colonization Society and declared it’s independence in 1847, but independence was not recognized by the U.S. until after the American Civil War in 1862.
The first president of Liberia was Joseph Jenks Roberts, an African American from Virginia that resettled in Liberia after the country declared independence. Roberts influenced the Liberian constitution and flag, modeled after the U.S. Liberia is the only republic in Africa to have self-proclaimed independence, not resulting from a revolt of power, as well as the oldest modern republic in Africa. Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations and Organization of African Unity.
Because of a 14 year civil war that broke out after a military coup in 1980, the entire economy was decimated and now 85% of the population lives below the international poverty line. Economic stability was once again threatened in 2014 by the Ebola virus epidemic, infecting over 9,860 Liberians and taking the lives of over 4,400, according to the World Health Organization.
Lack of safe water and sanitation causes over 700 deaths per year in children under five.
The Water Crisis in Liberia
According to WaterAid, 1.1 million Liberians lack access to safe water and 3.7 million don’t have access to proper sanitation. Lack of safe water and sanitation causes over 700 deaths per year in children under five. Liberia is consistently in the bottom five poorest countries in the world according to the UN, the CIA and USAID. According to WaSH Liberia, Liberia has over 10,000 improved water points. Of this 10,000, 6,371 are fully functional and 3,630 are poorly functioning or broken.
The Water Solution in Liberia
Water4 started efforts Liberia in 2016 through partnership with The Last Well, an organization with the goal to eliminate Liberian water scarcity and proclaim the Gospel to the nation by 2020. The Water4 drilling efforts in Liberia are facilitated by the Water of Hope team, led by John Barry, mentored by Dan and Danielle Hentschl, and employing nine people. In 2016, the Sierra Leone teams drilled 30 wells in Liberia with The Last Well. Because of the project’s success, the team moved to Liberia at the beginning of 2017 and developed Water of Hope, with the goal to complete 30 new water projects with The Last Well in 2017. Water4 plans to partner with The Last Well through 2020 drilling at least 30 wells per year, providing clean and Living Water to all Liberians.
Since starting operations in 2017, Water of Hope has grown in the knowledge and experience of manual drilling techniques, and confidence in sharing the Gospel with communities through their work and lives. Through this, they have also witnessed two churches planted in communities where they work, Petroken and Kaytuzon.
Not only has the team’s expertise and community involvement grown, but employees capacity to improve their livelihoods has increased dramatically. Many are able to make investments in the family through quality education and healthcare contributions.
“We thank God for the opportunity and the life transformation that drilling has brought us,” said Dan Hentschl. “We are trying our hardest and we know that God is helping.”
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, The Last Well, WaSH Liberia / Category: Countries