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Published on: 05/07/2021

IRC WASH Ethiopia staff recently attended the launching of the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) by the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW). According to AMCOW, “the ASPG… are designed to provide guidance to African governments on the review, revision, and development of sanitation policies and strategies for their implementation.” IRC WASH Ethiopia has supported the development process at the invitation of the Ministry of Health, attending and providing input at a stakeholder consultation meeting and participating in a virtual consultation on the document.

The guidelines will be valuable to Ethiopia as the country does not currently have an official sanitation policy. It is hoped that these guidelines will be an entry point for developing a national framework, help improve coordination nationally, better track progress, and allow for comparisons regionally. Overall, progress in sanitation has not been as successful as water and it is hoped these guidelines refocus and re-energise stakeholders to engage in improving sanitation in Ethiopia.

IRC WASH Ethiopia looks forward to engaging with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy and other local partners to build upon the momentum these guidelines provide and give sanitation the attention it deserves. IRC WASH can also capitalise by continuing to advocate for sanitation financing, private sector engagement (with particular emphasis on women entrepreneurs), and taxation related to sanitation products

Involvement of IRC Ethiopia
  • Invited to participate by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry facilitated the stakeholder meeting. IRC WASH Ethiopia participated and provided input.
  • IRC WASH Ethiopia participated in discussion in online forums.
  • Issues have been raised in Africa sub meetings in which IRC staff and associates participated.
  • The launch of the guidelines was attended by IRC staff.
  • IRC WASH is active in AMCOW (secretariat under the African Union responsible for sanitation) (in AfriSan meetings, subcommittees).
How it impacts Ethiopia
  • No sanitation policy in Ethiopia so this will help shape one.
  • Long overdue to have clear policy and guidance.
  • Many activities but difficult to enforce across the country.
  • Demands all states to embrace and have commitment based on this framework.
  • Hope to improve coordination in the country for sanitation.
  • Entry point for more national frameworks, better systems, track changes through time.
  • Help compare performance regionally.
How it impacts IRC WASH
  • Know the gap in WASH, but sanitation is not a focus.
  • Advantage – momentum and reason to engage with government on sanitation.
  • Helpful to WASH actors to catalyse them to do more in sanitation.
  • Achieved national target for water but not sanitation in the past, this will continue to give more focus and remotivate actors.
  • Ministry of Health is mandated. Sanitation sits in different government offices, personnel, etc. No activity by government to make people aware. Awareness and priority are missing and this can help enforce standards.
  • Opportunity for more partnerships.

This article is based on an interview with Michael Abera.

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