Partners for clean water and sanitation
Despite substantial progress in recent years, access to clean water and proper sanitation is still largely inadequate in Ethiopia’s rural regions. We supported Amref and Water.org to pool their resources to reach the underserved population of Dera district, where water is mostly unsafe, used both for humans and animals, and open defecation is the norm. Over three years, more than 31,500 Ethiopians gained easy access to clean water and improved sanitation services. The promotion of hygiene and sanitation in schools and villages ensured communities are now knowledgeable about the importance of these services, prepared to fully support the financial implications and to monitor their functionality and quality in the years to come.
In 2015, Ethiopia announced that the number of people without access to safe drinking water had been halved. The country had also achieved a substantial reduction in the percentage of people lacking basic sanitation. This rapid acceleration was a milestone achievement, but national coverage is still largely inadequate.
Strongly encouraging cooperation in the field between our partners, we supported Amref and Water.org to pool their resources to reach the underserved population of the Dera district, where water is mostly unsafe, used both for humans and animals, and open defecation is the norm. Their joint interventions addressed the “software” components of social mobilization and hygiene promotion campaigns as well as the more customary “hardware” components, including facility and infrastructure building and improvement.
Today over 31,500 Ethiopians (+10% on the initial target) not only benefit from improved and sustainable access to water and sanitation services, but also know why these services are important and use them on a regular basis, improving their hygiene and overall health.
- 100 water systems (hand-dug wells, protected springs, shallow wells or motorised pipes) were either newly constructed (60) or rehabilitated (40) by local artisans; the water treated and its quality tested. All ongoing water treatment and testing will now depend on trained district officials and health extension workers.
- 9 latrine blocks were built in 7 primary schools in rural areas and in 2 semi-urban communities.
- 100 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (with a total of 500 members selected and trained) have been established to collect water tariffs from the villagers and manage funding for the routine operation and maintenance of the water systems responsibly.
- 880 public conversations involving some 2,000 people ensured communities understood and fully supported the financial implications of the infrastructures built in their area and could actively monitor their functionality and quality.
- 70 students in 27 schools became active members of newly-established water, sanitation and hygiene clubs, along with their school heads and teachers. The promotion of hygiene and sanitation in schools is a proven pathway to healthier, better-performing children. Pupils subsequently disseminate information and catalyse change at home.
- 700 village communicators were trained and then directly involved in awareness-raising activities to disseminate good hygiene and sanitation knowledge and promote positive practices.
- Both Amref and Water.org strengthened the capacity of local water and sanitation stakeholders by means of strategic planning, knowledge management through data generation, and monitoring and evaluation practices.
“For each dollar invested, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) initiatives bring economic benefits of $3 to $34 because of improved health and productivity.”