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Girl carrying water in South Ari woreda, Ethiopia


Access to WASH facilities in Ethiopia is increasing, but services are not yet consistently sustained. We are committed to supporting partner districts, Mile and South Ari, in providing sustainable WASH services to everyone.

IRC's team of 13 is led by director John Butterworth. In rural areas, we focus on strengthening WASH in partner woredas Mile and South Ari. We also support the Millennium Water Alliance in another three woredas. In the capital, Addis Ababa, we focus on access to WASH in schools.  As a leading provider of knowledge management services for the WASH sector, we are supporting the national government in strengthening data management and use. 

Access to WASH services: basic and improved water 38% | basic sanitation 7% (open defecation 27%) | basic hygiene 1% (source, JMP)

Ethiopia has a rapidly growing modern economy, and huge strides have been made in extending access to water and sanitation. But the country is still home to some 39 million people without access to safe drinking water. One in four communal water schemes is broken, and other challenges to be overcome include poor water quality and the long distances and times associated with water collection.

In rural areas, sanitation access is actually better than water access, with 60 per cent of households having access to latrine facilities, but there are concerns about sustaining open-defecation free status, the quality of facilities, and a lack of progress in improving sanitation. There are also major gaps in provision of water and sanitation outside the home, including in health clinics and schools.

IRC has been working in Ethiopia for more than a decade. Achieving the target of universal access to water and sanitation remains a top priority for us. IRC Ethiopia works closely with the Ethiopian government, especially the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the Ministry of Health. We support government and its development partners, including NGOs, to implement the 'One WASH National Programme' vision of an effective and coordinated sector in the country.