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Published on: 05/12/2022

The fourth session of the learning platform taking place at Batu Town

The Ziway-Shalla Sub basin Climate Resilient WASH (CR WASH) learning platform was established in 2020 with the aim of stakeholder engagement to promote CR WASH, and integrated water resources management (IWRM) and bridge the gap between WASH and IWRM in the Central Rift valley area. The platform is supported by the WASH SDG programme financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands (DGIS).

Four organisations; the Ministry of Water and Energy, Oromia Water and Energy Resources Development Bureau, Wetlands International, and IRC WASH, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly establish and facilitate a learning and dialogue platform with a focus on climate resilient WASH (CR WASH) in the Central Rift Valley area.

The members of the platform are government offices at different levels (federal, regional, zonal and woreda), NGOs and development partners working in the area, research institutions, and private sector actors. The stakeholders are selected based on an agreed agenda, in addition to the regular participants at the federal and regional levels. The participation of the private sector in the platform has been limited, but that has changed since the fifth meeting where a private flower farm has started actively participating and agreed to give a presentation and facilitate a field visit in their project area.

The platform has conducted five learning sessions since its establishment and launching in 2020. The platform was launched in the presence of community representatives, woreda, regional and national stakeholders. The agendas of each learning platform are proposed at the end of each meeting where participants are free to suggest and raise ideas and approved by the steering committee for preparation and facilitation. The steering committee consists of representatives from the four signatories of the MoU.

To understand the contribution of the learning platform, and its challenges, and gather recommendations for its sustainability, we conducted several key informant interviews with members of the learning platform. According to the study, some of the contributions of the platform are:

  • Improve stakeholders’ understanding on climate resilience and related activities in the country
  • Effective in bringing stakeholders together and sharing information with the broader stakeholders
  • Created an opportunity for different organisations to present research and learning papers regularly
  • Helped NGOs and government offices at different levels to work together
  • Create an opportunity for professionals working on CR WASH and WRM to know each other, discuss and coordinate on challenges, and find collective solutions
  • The Telegram group of the learning platform has been an effective way to communicate with the platform members in addition to the quarterly meetings. The information shared on the Telegram group and the discussions are very interesting and encouraging

The interviewed platform members had several recommendations. The field visit to Shala Lake was successful and highly appreciated. It helped participants contextualize some of the activities and make the discussions more tangible. The field visit also showed the need for coordination and alignment of activities between the government and development partners. This confirms the main challenge of the platform which is lack of coordination between the government and development partners during the planning process.

Quarterly meetings and follow-up

It will benefit the platform if the responsible stakeholders take up some action points and report back on them at the following meeting. Currently, action points taken at the end of each meeting mostly concentrate on who should present what at the next meeting. For the platform to go beyond dialogue and discussion, the action points need to be more than the next meeting agenda and need to be followed up properly.

Experience sharing from other catchments and/ or basins that have different approaches and learnings is also important.

In conclusion, the CR WASH learning platform has been relevant in bringing stakeholders together and for sharing activities, research and learning among different organisations. Facilitation of the platform is not technically difficult for the two government signatories Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and Oromia Water, Mines and Energy Bureau. But acquiring budget from the government for the facilitation of this platform could be a challenge. Organising a virtual meeting has been suggested by the key informants as an option to overcome the facilitation challenge, but it may not be as effective as in-person meetings, since field visits are strongly recommended.


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