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Article published on Ethiopian National WASH Inventory

Published on: 28/03/2012

As part of a special issue focused on water and sanitation policies and practice over the past couple of decades, an article by Welle et al. reflects on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory.

IDS has just published a special issue of its Bulletin entitled ‘Some for All?’ Politics and Pathways in Water and Sanitation. The issue brings together a selection of articles on water and sanitation experiences over the past two decades since two key meetings that influenced global policies were held in new Delhi in 1990 and Dublin in 1992. One of the articles in the issue, to which IRC contributed, focuses on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory drawing upon the findings of two workshops organised by RiPPLE.

Enabling or Disabling? Reflections on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory Process

Abstract: The New Delhi Statement of 1990 called for universal water supply coverage by the year 2000, a goal that was later replaced by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the timeframe of 2015. As we are fast approaching this deadline, discussions are already under way for targets beyond the MDGs. In the wake of these developments, it is worth taking stock of what we can learn from existing efforts to measure access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services. This article zooms in on one aspect of sector monitoring – national inventories – carried out in many developing countries as a first step to improve sector performance monitoring. Using the example of the National WASH Inventory in Ethiopia, under way in 2010/11, as a case study, we examine possible reasons why so often these costly and human resource-intensive baselines tend to remain underutilised.


Welle, K., Schaefer, F., Butterworth, J & Bostoen, K. 2012. Enabling or Disabling? Reflections on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory Process. IDS Bulletin 43(2), pp.44–50.

Electronic access and contact

The issue can be accessed at the Wiley website (link below - payment required unless your institution already holds a subscription) and some other articles are available free of charge for a period. The authors can be contacted via John Butterworth.


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