Published on: 29/04/2016
The theme of World Water Day 2016 - Water and Jobs - focused on how enough and the right quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods, and even transform societies and economies. Linked to this theme, the National Self Supply Task Force in collaboration with IRC, MWA, JICA, Water for All and Water.Org organised the 2016 My Water, My Business Fair in March aiming to bring together Self-supply and similar household-led investment approaches to learn from one another.
The My Water, My Business events kicked-off with an exhibition at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, followed by a seminar on 23 March. More than 40 exhibitors at the fair showcased their products such as manual drilling tools, pumps and water treatment chemicals and filters. Loan services by Micro Finance Institutions for household investments were also promoted.
I was delighted that more than 135 people then participated in the seminar. Participants came from different government sectors: Water, Health, Agriculture, Micro Finance, Technical Vocational Colleges and Woredas as well as NGOs, the private sectors and donors. Ten papers covered topics such as group-led Self-supply, household biogas interventions, human resource development, rope pump technology transfer for Self-supply, loan provision for household-led investment, and the monitoring Self-supply.
Challenges that are faced in Self-supply acceleration implementation were debated such as the lack of proper marketing for Self-supply, low awareness on hygiene and sanitation, lack of access to finance and poor product and service quality.
You can read more about the many businesses that participated in the events in the second edition of the Self-supply Fair Business Catalogue aiming to promote local initiatives and businesses in improving access to safe water supplies. Aqua for All lauched their 'Challenge fund' at the seminar to support these efforts. The 'Challenge fund' is a competition-based grant providing finance for private sector development efforts.
What was very special about this year's Fair was the approach to develop and engage private sectors through involving Micro and Small Enterprise Offices/Agencies and Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVETs). The experience of Micro Finance Institutions, particularly that of Omo Micro Finance from SNNPR in providing loan services to households for self-supply facility development, is also important experience that other MFIs can learn from and replicate.
An award ceremony for local service providers and supporters in JICA supported WAS-RoPSS Self-supply Acceleration Project woredas of SNNPR recognised some of efforts of rope pump manufacturers, village technicians (rope pump installers and menders), woreda level government Offices and TVETs with prizes awarded by officials from the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity.
The Self-supply Fair brought attention to household-level efforts, where private sector development can play an important role. The Fair also connected sector policymakers, development partners, professionals, local governments and communities. We believe it made a difference, and a small contribution to increasing water and increasing jobs through self-supply.
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