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Climate resilient WASH discussions in Ethiopia

Published on: 15/11/2021

A climate resilient WASH learning platform has been established in Ziway-Shalla sub-basin in Ethiopia.

 

At the end of September 2021, different WASH stakeholders met in Adama town to discuss climate resilient WASH (CR WASH) in the Ziway-Shalla sub-basin. The learning platform was facilitated by IRC WASH Ethiopia and was the second learning platform conducted on this topic.

CR WASH is one of the thematic areas of the WASH SDG programme, a five-year programme funded by DGIS (the Directorate-General for International Cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and being implemented in four woredas in Oromia and Amhara Regions (Negelle Arsi and Shashamane Woredas in Oromia and Bahirdar Zuria and Lalibela Woredas in Amhara). The programme implementation is led by WASH Alliance International (WAI) in Oromia and Plan International in Amhara. Consortium members of WAI are Amref Health Africa, IRC WASH, Wetlands International (WI), Bole Biblical Baptist Church (BBC), and Akvo. In March 2020, an MoU was signed by the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Oromia Water, and Energy Bureau, IRC WASH, and Wetlands International to establish the Ziway-Shala sub-basin Climate Resilient Learning Platform. Wetlands International and IRC WASH Ethiopia are jointly facilitating the platform which is taking place once every quarter.

 

The discussion focused on identifying climate resilient WASH challenges and the solutions to improve the situation. According to the discussion, the impact of climate change on the WASH sector is enormous. Specifically, for the Ziway-Shalla sub-basin, the effect of environmental pollution is the biggest challenge mentioned.

Tamiru Gedefa from the Water Development Commission said that the implementation of CR WASH in Ethiopia started in 2017. He mentioned that in 2018, discussions with development partners and the Ministry of Finance began, a fundraising proposal was prepared, budget from government was allocated, and discussion with regional water bureaus started. Since then, implementation has started and is ongoing.

Azeb Tadesse, also from the Water Development Commission, said that the National Climate Resilient Water Safety Plan’s Strategic Framework and the implementation guideline was developed in 2015 and is a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach to CR WASH.

According to Azeb, the strategic objectives of the National CR Water Safety Plan focus on enhancing sustainability, improving all drinking water supply systems, strengthening water quality monitoring and surveillance, guiding the adoption of a climate resilient water safety approach, and strengthening the capacity of various actors involved.

Discussants stated that the grassroots implementation of CR WASH is weak and poor water quality is a serious problem. Nonetheless, Azeb said that they are trying to engage at the grassroots level through WASHCOs and owning and implementing a CR WASH water safety plan by all woredas is recommended. As lack of finance is an issue raised by most participants, creating a sense of ownership to the CR WASH water safety plan would enable woredas to develop proposals and look for finance and close their resource gap, according to Azeb.

Teshale Bekana, from the Oromia Region Water and Energy Resource Development Bureau, underscored four major points as a solution to tackle the problems: integration, collective planning, a community inclusive approach, and monitoring and evaluation. These are the major areas that need everyone’s attention and engagement.

The final discussion of the workshop identified research topics to be conducted in the future and the platform will create a research team and conduct research based on priority topics.

To learn more about the discussion, please see the meeting proceedings under Resources below. 

Resources