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Published on: 27/01/2012

Speaking at the opening of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) Forum on 29 November 2011 in Kampala Uganda the Ethiopian State Minister H.E. Ato Kebede Gerba highlighted some of the key problems, and efforts underway to tackle them in Ethiopia. The forum title was Rural Water Supply in the 21st Century: Myths of the Past, Visions for the Future. The State Minister emphasised that remarkable progress has been made, and now 68% Ethiopians have access to water according to the Ministry of Water and Energy. Nevertheless, problems are never far away. These include high levels of non-functionality, unserved scattered rural communities, poor supply chains for pumps and materials and inadequate funding. The government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) includes a target of 100% access to safe rural water supply. A further target is to reduce the number of systems not working at any one time to only 10%. This is all ‘ambitious but achievable’ said the Minister who went on to highlight some of the key activities that could make it possible to achieve and sustain universal access.

We ‘have to have’ a reliable National WASH Inventory which provides an accurate baseline of the WASH situation across the country said the Minister and the systems should ensure that data can be ‘uploaded or downloaded and used at the community, woreda, regional and national level whenever required’. He went on to say that a single service delivery approach is not effective and learning from past experiences, four service delivery approaches are recognized: Woreda Managed Projects (WMP) are led by the woreda (the equivalent of district and lowest level where water supply professionals work in the administration), Community Managed Projects (where decision-making and operations are further decentralized to communities through an innovative financing and support model), Self Supply (where households take the lead and with less subsidy) and urban water supplies where a cost recovery model is followed.

The aim is for ‘one plan, one report, and one consolidated WASH account’. The intention is that this will make much easier for the water sector to reach the final 32% and deliver sustainable services. It should help respond to a key challenge according to the Minister: raising funds.

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre’s new Ethiopia Country Programme, established from January 2012, aims to support these efforts through intensification of efforts with our partners in the country including the government. It builds upon our collaboration with RiPPLE and has prioritised some of the very areas highlighted in the Minister’s speech: improving sector monitoring, developing self supply as a service delivery model and improving community water supply models.


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