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VIP Profile: Jenny Schmitzer

Published 02/14/2013 by Global Communities

VIP Profile: Jenny Schmitzer

Liberia, July – December 2012

Improving Sanitation and Hygiene in Urban Setting

To meet internal targets, almost 1 million Liberians need access to an improved water source and significantly increase sanitation standards by 2015. The Government of Liberia has responded by embracing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), as an innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to improve sanitation conditions, developed in Bangladesh around the year 2000 and now active in over 40 countries. CLITS were accepted since 2009 as a community-led approach to sanitation and hygiene and included in Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy documents. Also recently, the government developed the first draft of standard guidelines for CLTS implementation throughout the country.
Jenny Schmitzer joined the local Global Communities’ team on her second professional visit to Liberia; she first went with her graduate school in 2010. This time, Jenny was able to put her policy development skills to work as she assisted the National Coordinating Unit in writing and editing the guidelines. She also documented progress around CLTS, which had not been done in a comprehensive way yet. The resultant report allows Global Communities program to better track its CLTS project and offers insight into best practices, lessons learned and challenges.
Jenny assisted the local team in capacity development of government partners through its support of the wider sector assessment and plan. She also advanced Global Communities’ efforts around private sector engagement through her participation on the planning committee of the first annual WASH Market Day, a fair meant to link supply and demand for an improved, locally-owned and sustainable WASH sector in Liberia; many local vendors were able to showcase their goods and services. Jenny also helped Global Communities in developing alternative models to operations and management of publicly-owned but privately-managed urban latrine pilots in Monrovia.
Global Communities is implementing USAID’s Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) program until 2015 with partner Population Services International. The goal is to make measurable improvements in the WASH sector, as well as in the enabling environment, in target areas within the three counties of Bong, Lofa and Nimba, and selected communities in greater Monrovia. So far, the IWASH program boasts the most success with CLTS in Liberia.