Facing Africa, Facing Ourselves
By Bridgit Brown
Despite the 2005 victory of Liberia’s first female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, millions of its people lack clean drinking water. With all of its water pipelines destroyed by the fairly recent civil war, Liberia is one of a number of nations that must rely on the international community to provide way for the basic needs of its people.
Saran Kaba Jones, Founder and Executive Director of FACE Africa, is on a mission to identify and replicate proven models for development and social change in communities in Africa. A native of Liberia, the 27-year old left the country in 1989 – just before the civil war began. She has since lived in Ivory Coast, Egypt, France, Cyprus, and finally Massachusetts, which has become her second home.
It was her first return home after 18 years that encouraged Kaba Jones to further develop FACE Africa.
“The war severely damaged the country’s infrastructure and the majority of people lack access to basic necessities like water. For most Liberians, ground water fetched from wells, streams, or rivers remain the primary source of drinking water. These unpurified sources of water carry waterborne bacteria that cause diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever among other diseases leading to high infant mortality rates in the country”.
Citing that over sixty percent of Liberia’s population lives on less than one dollar per day, Kaba Jones said that one of the reasons for founding FACE Africa was the need to create an opportunity for more fortunate [Liberians] like herself to assist the government since it is not in a position to do everything that it can to help the people right now.
“The experience of returning home reinforced the fact that governments alone cannot empower its people, hence my strong desire in seeing FACE Africa reach its goals and objectives, even if the first step is giving them clean drinking water."