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You are here: HomeThe Ethiopian HeraldSocietyRevamping WASH sector development

Revamping WASH sector development

Dr. Peter Salama Denis Thieulin,  listens to a representative of Yenech village WASCO at a  water point constructed by EU-UNICEF( Photo by Jiro Ose).

              Young girls are also engage in fetching water

Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services coupled with poor hygiene practices kills people and gets thousands of children and adults sick every day. It also leads many to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for a healthy life. Poor sanitation, water and hygiene (WaSH) also have many other serious repercussions. Children particularly girls are most of the time deprived of their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend larger parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness as health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WaSH proper health and sustainable development is impossible.

Ethiopia is one of the countries that have made remarkable progress in the past few years in implementing UAP (Universal Access Plan). Accordingly, water supply access in rural areas is increasing substantially from 19 per cent in 1990 to 67 per cent in 2013. While basic sanitation stands at 68.5 per cent. The target is to achieve universal access by 2015 with 98 per cent access to water supply, and reduction of proportion of non-functioning facilities to 10 per cent, according to 2012 National WASH Inventory (NWI). For instance, Amhara Regional water supply total coverage in 2011 was at 52.9 per cent, while the functionality rate average was at 79.6 per cent slightly higher than the national average (74.5). In addition to access to health facility, latrine and water supply services were at 77.1 and 29.7 per cent respectively while, access to school basic latrine and water supply facilities were at 63.5 and 27 per cent respectively. However, access to improved latrines in schools was only at 21.8 per cent. But, the March 2013 NWI results show improvement at 61.8 per cent water supply access (rural 60.7 and urban 70.6 per cent), while the sanitation status is at 86 per cent.

COWASH is providing essential social service to over 80 per cent of the population of the Country. It is providing water supply to hundreds of thousands of communities with different socio-economic and cultural identities which required organizing tens of thousands of communities to operate and sustain these schemes.

Amhara State, one of the states where EU-UNICEF are supporting the Ethiopian government efforts in achieving accelerated WASH services delivery through the bilateral project, Community-Led Accelerated WaSH (COWASH). “EU-UNICEF support very much improved the provision of access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services to a large number communities. Currently, in the state EU-UNICEF supports a total of 19 woredas and seven towns WASH programmes as well as the nutrition programme,”said, Ayenew Belay, state Finance and Economic Development Bureau (BoFED) Head.

The inclusion of hygiene education as part of hygiene and sanitation intervention in community led total sanitation carried out in all 19 Amhara state porgramme woredas also contributed to the periodical improvement of rural communities in accessing to basic sanitation facilities in the state at large, he added.

“I would like to acknowledge and congratulate, EU-UNICEF(European Union-UNICEF), for the continuous unreserved financial and technical contribution in all our development endeavors aligned with the GTP, especially in the WaSH and nutrition programmes which is registering remarkable regional as well as woreda achievement,” said Amhara State Chief, Ayalew Gobzie acknowledging the support EU-UNICEF high level visit to Machakel woreda on 16—17 July 2013.

“The WASH sector contribution alone enables us to provide improved services for millions of people in the state. This achievement is a reminder that if we work hard we can achieve the 100 percent GTP targets," but, Ayalew further said, “in order to do that we need more potable water schemes especially in small towns. Hence, your technical and financial support is crucial. Therefore, I request EU-UNICEF to strengthen their support and cooperation to the sector.”

Denis Theulin, Head of EU Delegation, said, “I am impressed by what I the people and the state government are doing towards improving access to safe water and sanitation as well as nutrition wise despite some drawbacks,” he added that, “our support is in line with GTP intention. EU-Ethiopia cooperation centered on the common objective of reducing poverty and consistent with the goal of achieving sustainable development. Currently, EU support to the WASH sector is around 100 million EUR.”

Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF country Representative, on the occasion said, “The progress we saw following this visit is a proof that Ethiopia can achieve a few more MDG targets with the will, the effort and the commitment of its people and government.”

Furthermore, over the past years, the state WASH sector has been registering very encouraging results that demonstrated the government and the society's commitment and determination to ensure greater access to sanitation and water supply. “The achievement is especially good news for the girl and children. Achieving this goal will go a long way with regard to saving children's lives, enabling girls to attend school and to the women it could mean a workable approach to save time and labour.” Salama affirmed that, “At this specific juncture I would like to reiterate UNICEF's commitment to support the region's effort to provide the society with improved WASH services for all its population.”

However, according the state BoFED, the ongoing WASH planning targets at identifying some 91 towns that require new water supply construction and 15 towns requiring rehabilitation of exiting water supply schemes with an estimated cost of over 2.05 bln birr.

Machakel woreda has an estimated 140 thousand rural and urban residents. The woreda achieved 100 per cent health service facilities access through 11 regular and upgrading health centres, 24 health posts and nine rural drug stores.

As well as 88 per cent primary education coverage which some 33 thousand students have access to these services through 55 kindergarten and primary schools. While the woreda community water supply coverage reached 59.1 per cent (rural 45.6,urban 86.1),according to the woreda health bureau and UNICEF 2013 report. An update sanitation services is also provided through the ongoing 35 health facilitates but only 11 have access to improved latrine and 11 schools have safe water supply access and about 30 schools have access to some kind of latrine facilities out of which only 9 per cent possess improved separate latrine blocks for boys and girls.

Last year alone the woreda with the application of Community Managed Programme (CMP) approach completed 43 community water supply schemes (CWSS) serving over 13 thousand people, in addition to the ongoing scaling up of the Community Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene (CLTSH) construction of 27 CWSS and six institutional CWSS.

Yenech village is one of the many villages in Ammauel Zuria Kebele in Machakel woreda. Enatihun Gessesse is one of the two women sitting on the water committee of the village said, “To fetch water, we the women and girls used to walk long distances through forest which especially expose girls for rape and abduction. Now, we have the pleasure of drinking clean water at our door step and all our girls are attending school.”

Our water committee is fully responsible for the funds and the management of the village water supply. The villagers contribute 2 birr every month for operation and maintenance. We also meet every month to discuss matters related to water,” she added.

Ammanel Kebele CMP coordinator, Hbtamu Kassahun, said, “The kebele has 59.9 total coverage through some 170 water schemes that benefit around 4,000 residents. According to him, the local communities are addressing their own water issues through project management and physical construction directly and are responsible for the water supply development process through planning, implementation and maintenance. “The funds for the community are transferred via micro-finance institutions (MFIs) for the development of the water schemes, ” Habtamu explained.

Regional level BoFED signs the fund management agreement with the MFI that stipulates the responsibilities and authority of each party in relation to the CMP. This is because, compared to other financial institutions like Commercial Bank of Ethiopia), MFI is found to be the only institution which maintains large networks of branches at local level and have proven to be willing. Then, MFI channels investment funds to CMP projects. Although the programmes receive grants (100 per cent ) to date, the MFIs get a commission (3 per cent ) for the services rendered.

The innovation in fund flows coupled with the training and capacity building components on WaSH and health aspects to the woredas to plan and support communities (rather than building schemes themselves) using local private sector and locally adapted procurement procedures is a triangular partnership resulting in a win-win situation. When the communities are able to keep their WASH services reliable, they may consider investing the extra gained from water source in income generating activities that will speed up rural development.

As the year 2015 for reaching the MDGs and GTP targets is approaching fast, Minstry of Water and Energy (MoWE) is ready to start implementing the new sectoral, One National WaSH Plan (OWNP), instead of the ongoing scattered project based implementation of WaSH in Ethiopia. This national strategy is to harmonize, align, integrate and accelerate the WaSH implementation in order to achieve the MDGs and GTP targets.

According to Dr. Samuel Godfrey, UNICEF's WASH chief, “Simply put, OWNP is the harmonization process of all donor WASH programmes into one WASH sector. The idea is to have one plan, one budget, one report and one financial mechanism to enable the government and the partners to reach the GTP targets. As well as to mobilize new financial resources from UNICEF and other development partners to address the gaps in urban WASH across the country.”

As to him, the OWNP is a five years project with two phases. The first phase will be up until 2015 and the next beyond the MDGs for three years. The plan involves a budget of around 2.9 bln. USD and a construction of more than 100 thousand new water schemes. The country will start implementing the new OWNP as of January 2014 he added.

To this end, EU-UNICEF's engagement in collaboration with the water sector has registered best results not only in making aid effectiveness and bringing a difference at the grass root level, but also in influencing the government sectoral implementation strategy. The GTP has ambitious plans for WASH through its UAP II which seeks to reach 98.5 per cent to safe water and 100 per cent access to sanitation and water supply by 2015 which is in fact more ambitious than the MDGs. Since Ethiopia already met the set MDG 7 target, MoWE is confident that Ethiopia will meet the GTP and MDG beyond targets.

The Amhara State GTP target is also to provide 100 per cent water supply coverage both for rural and urban the communities.

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