Published on: 31/07/2023
"Participants need to mainstream the concept during plan revision [...] and cascade the training to co-workers."
- Mamo Yalew, Amhara region scheme management director, WASH Systems Academy participant.
Before 2017, most people working in the sector were skeptical about the approaches to deliver sustainable WASH services. To increase awareness and understanding of systems strengthening, IRC worked with other WASH actors in the country to conduct pilot programmes that used different leverage points and approaches to strengthening local systems. These took place in 20 rural districts – but there are a total of 780 in the country.
Building on the learning from those districts, we identified that a pathway to achieving scale would be to work at a higher level - with subnational and national institutions. The WASH Systems Academy has also assisted in this process. Currently, the number of registrants and users of the WASH Systems Academy in Ethiopia has exceeded 1000. Material from the Academy has been integrated into university courses and modules have been translated into Amharic and Afan Oromo. We're also collaborating with the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute (EWTI) to develop training for water sector professionals.
In 2022, we jointly organised a training of trainers (ToT) course with EWTI to spread these concepts faster and further. Tilik Tena Wondim from Bahir Dar University completed a three-day immersion course and said that all sector leaders would benefit from experiencing the course and applying the lessons in their work.
While we retain long-term commitments to two partner areas and three scaling areas, the WASH Systems Academy has proven to be an essential tool for sharing insights from these programmes and scaling our impact across the country. More ToT courses are planned for 2023 including for those who hold key posts beyond WASH: in finance, planning, and in civil society organisations.