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MWA Ethiopia Data on WPDx

August 9, 2022 – MWA Ethiopia recently posted on the WPDx blog. It includes an excellent update from MWA Ethiopia Director Tedla Mulatu and staff on the program underway now and is a reminder that WPDx depends on organizations to post their data to the site, as part of our effort to be transparent as well as share practical information about current work with all members.

See more on WPDx on MWA ‘s site and at .


MWA Ethiopia Learning Document on Long-term Strategic Planning is Published


MWA is pleased to present the third learning document in a series prepared by the MWA Ethiopia partnership, now available at This paper details the steps taken in Ethiopia, by MWA and member partners, to support three district (woreda) governments in a long-term strategic planning process. The process resulted in ambitious plans going through 2030 for how to achieve full coverage across entire districts. The plans include life cycle costing, use of new approaches to improve serve delivery levels, assumptions about costs, population growth, # of users per technology, etc. This paper looks at the process that was envisioned versus the process as it unfolded in reality and provides lessons learned and recommendations.  Partners whose work and collaborative efforts contributed to the paper include: CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, Helvetas, IRC WASH, Wateraid and World Vision. Funding for this work was generously provided by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

To read this document click here.


The Millennium Water Alliance Responds to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Ethiopia

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Ethiopia, the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) and its members CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, IRC WASH, WaterAid, and World Vision launched into action. Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ethiopia in mid-March, the federal government and regional states have taken many measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, in June confirmed cases started to increase more rapidly and there were 14,547 confirmed cases and 228 deaths as of July 27. The Government of Ethiopia called on NGOs, government entities, businesses, and other organizations to work together to prevent and mitigate the outbreak as much as possible. Many organizations have mobilized financial and in-kind resources and support.

Thanks to the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (CNHF), MWA members collaborating on a five-year Sustainable WASH Program (SWP) have supported government priorities to address critical gaps in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of today, MWA members, using funds from CNHF and other programs and donors, have provided more than USD 1.7 million to the national government response and additional funds to support efforts of the Amhara Regional government and district governments.

The partnership conducted quick response activities such as gap assessments, technical and managerial training for health workers, provision of personal protective equipment and hygiene supplies, provision of sanitizers, and installation of handwashing stations. MWA and the SWP have also utilized innovative hygiene behavior change communication methods such as music, drama, and poster messaging.

Photo Credit: Habtam Achenef of World Vision

At the same time, the SWP partnership continues to do what is possible, while complying with safety regulations, to move forward the wholistic activities of the SWP.  Partners have conducted virtual meetings and engaged regularly across NGO and government partners via phone. Of particular note, the SWP is piloting the Clean Clinic Approach (CCA) in health care facilities in several woredas (districts) of the Amhara National Regional State. The first year of this pilot, focused on the North Mecha woreda, proved to be successful at supporting improved management and prioritization of WASH facilities in health centers. The CCA, originally developed during a USAID funded program by Save the Children, uses a phase-by-phase approach to improve the knowledge, skills and infrastructure management of WASH in health facilities. Additional SWP aspects look at community water access, with a focus on improving functionality rates, supporting schools with WASH facilities, water point management models, long-term planning, funding prioritization and hygiene behaviors. The SWP is guided by long-term strategic plans developed by the district governments with support from MWA, which provide a path to reach full water coverage across the districts by 2030.

The SWP’s COVID-19 response activities with health facilities and communities are linked to the longer-term system strengthening priorities of the SWP. The presence of an existing collaborative partnership and the CNHF’s decision to allow reprioritization of grant funds have allowed the partners and the government to collaborate efficiently in responding to the threat of COVID-19.

For more information, contact:

July 28, 2020



Position Paper #5:

WASH Capacity Development

(Released November 13, 2019)


MWA is pleased to present the final paper in a series of five prepared by the MWA Ethiopia partnership, now available at .  This new document examines the opportunities and needs for capacity development in the WASH sector of Ethiopia and makes recommendations about what is needed to achieve SDG goal target 6.1.


Recommendations include:

  • Support the private sector with business operating skills to improve efficiency and sustainability.
  • Increase the focus on WASH monitoring systems so that necessary information is available for capacity development and resource allocation decision making.
  • Take a systems approach to capacity building that goes beyond trainings to include incentives, resources and evidence-based decision making.
  • Encourage CSOs to use a facilitation approach to support government leadership in the sector.

See the full recommendations list in the paper below. You can find the preceding four position papers on strategic planning (May 3, 2019), service-delivery models (June 20, 2019), government-led monitoring (August 21, 2019), and financing (October 3, 2019) also below, and at !

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in preparing these new and valuable resources for the sector.

Position Paper #4:

Financing for Safe Water Explored


Posted October 3, 2019

New Learning Paper Examines Chlorine Dispenser Experience

MWA Ethiopia has released a new paper that assesses our experience with chlorine dispensers in Ethiopia in recent years. The paper is available in print and online (below). Four major collaborative papers released since April 2019 – with more coming in October and November – outline WASH progress and challenges in the 2017-2019 MWA Ethiopia Bridge Program.

Learning Papers

Learning Paper #1: Learning from Piloting Dispensers for Safe Water

Position Papers


Position Paper #1: Planning Differently: Developing long-term, strategic plans for district-wide water, sanitation and hygiene services

Position Paper #2: Service delivery models for universal, safe and sustainable water services in Ethiopia

Position Paper #3: Government-led monitoring for sustained water service delivery

Position Paper #4: Financing universal, safe and sustainable water services in Ethiopia

Posted September 26, 2019

MWA Releases Third Position Paper on WASH Implementation in Ethiopia




Posted August 21, 2019



Sustainable WASH Program Launch

The Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) hosted a celebratory program launch event in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia on August 13 and 14, 2019. The launch was held following the formal signing of the program implementation agreement between MWA and five Amhara regional bureaus. This five-year program, the Sustainable WASH Program, is possible thanks to funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and match fund contributions from MWA members working on this program. The goal of this program is to contribute to Ethiopia’s nationwide achievement of safe, affordable and sustainable water service delivery by 2030. This program is convened and led by MWA and member partners include CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, IRC WASH, WaterAid and World Vision. Additional technical support and partnership is coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, Splash and the Water, Health and Development program of Stanford University.  This program has a focus in three target woredas which are Dera, Farta and North Mecha as well as regional and national plans for convening, learning and system strengthening.

Attendees of the launch event included special guests from the regional government of the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) including: Dr. Tsega Tibebu, Deputy Head of Bureau of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ato Yimer Habte, Deputy Bureau Head for Water, Irrigation and Energy Development, as well as participants from the regional bureaus of Health, Education, and Women, Youth and Children. Additionally, government staff from water, health and education sectors from the three target woredas of the program attended along with program partner teams.

In the opening remarks, Dr. Tsegay expressed the need for MWA and government offices to work in close partnership in order to realize the objectives of the Sustainable WASH program. Ato Yimer affirmedthat this is a comprehensive intervention that includes both water service implementation and system strengthening at institutions and communities and involves multiple organizations with extensive experience and expertise in the WASH sector.

This five-year program is expected to deliver on its objectives in close partnership with the regional and districts government offices. The specific objectives of the program are:

Objective 1: Strengthen key aspects of water service delivery system including planning, partnerships, resources and institutional capacity by 2024

Objective 2: Increase access to safe water and improved hygiene and sanitation services in public schools, through the use of new and proven models, to reach over 45,000 students by 2024

Objective 3: Increase access to safe and sustainable water and hygiene services at healthcare facilities, through the use of new and proven models, to reach 505,000 people by 2024

Objective 4: Increase the proportion of people served with basic accessby 8% and reduce non-functionalityby 6% through testing and implementing new and proven models and strengthening government-led   monitoring systems by 2024

Objective 5: Increase access to safe waterfor over 200,000 people through the deployment of new and proven service modalities and technologies by 2024.



Posted August 21, 2019

MWA Convenes WASH in Health Care Facilities Event in Ethiopia

Washington, DC, August 21, 2019 — MWA released today a report on  a special convening of stakeholders in Ethiopia on the status of healthcare facilities in the poorest areas of the country. See the new PDF at the bottom of this story.

Building on global momentum to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities, the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) convened a week of workshops and meetings in Addis Ababa during July, 2019 focused on this critical topic to foster conversations, dig into reasons behind for poor WASH facilities and brainstorm innovative interventions.

Ethiopia has more than 3000 health centers[i], 16,000 health postsiand 125 hospitals, with plans to build many more over the next few years[ii]. A 2017 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that only 65% of rural health facilities (excluding health posts) had access to an improved water source and only 30% had access to piped water. This shows the critical importance of focusing on water access, availability of sanitation and hygiene facilities and sustained maintenance and use in Ethiopian health care facilities. Efforts to address this gap at health care facilities can have a significant impact.

The week included meetings with several ministries and global organizations, with the core of the week being a two-day workshop where participants included health extension workers, health center directors, woreda (district) sector office heads, regional government staff and NGO partners. Opening remarks on the importance of this work were provided by Dr. Beshah Mogesse, the Commissioner for the Water Development Commission. MWA convened this workshop with the objective to engage with government, health workers and NGO partners using a unique problem analysis methodology to gain insights into root causes for the lack of WASH in health care facilities. Participants also brainstormed potential solutions for the identified causes. These meetings and workshops were made possible thanks to funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and design, facilitation and technical expertise from the Stanford University Program on Water, Health and Development, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Catholic Relief Services.

The CDC conducted a study in select woredas of Ethiopia. One particularly interesting finding from the study was that the health workforce in health centers were knowledgeable about the importance of handwashing, however in reality, handwashing practices were inadequate at critical times. Many of the interviewed staff indicated difficulty engaging in proper handwashing practices due to lack of water supply and handwashing facilities. Also of note, a WHO report in 2017 stated that there is a lack of integration and coordination of WASH activities in health facilities and recommended increased coordination across water, health and other sectors.  Select interesting causes of poor WASH services in health facilities identified during the events of the week include:

  1. Previously, health facilities were often built without consideration for water access, thus leading to health facilities where water access is very difficult and/or expensive to implement
  2. Lack of prioritization of available funding for development, operations and maintenance of WASH infrastructure at health center facilities
  3. Insufficient funds available to ensure adequate WASH facilities in all critical areas of health care facilities (toilets, water access, handwashing stations)
  4. Lack of accountability mechanisms in place to holder health center leadership or government accountable for ensuring functioning WASH facilities
  5. Poor working conditions and salaries at woreda offices and health offices result in high t staff turnover and difficulties ensuring necessary knowledge and capacity
  6. Lack of partnerships and information flow (between health centers and NGOs, between layers of government, between health and water sectors, etc.)
  7. Roles and responsibilities and nationally produced guidelines not understood and/or not implemented in practice
  8. Perverse professional incentives that result in items such as generators or expensive medical equipment being prioritized over WASH facilities.

These findings are particularly interesting because in many ways Ethiopia is a leader in efforts to improve WASH services across the country. For example, Ethiopia has one of the few Sector-Wide Approaches as shown in the One WASH National Program I and II (OWNP) which include health, water, education and finance ministries and set out roles and responsibilities for each.  OWNP II, launched in late 2018, includes a much stronger emphasis on WASH in institutions including health care facilities than its predecessor. Ethiopia is also home to the Clean and Safe Health Initiative (CASH) which was started in hospitals and has now been cascaded to many health centers. The CASH initiative was updated in 2017 with support from WHO to include components of WHO’s WASHFIT tool.

MWA just began a new five-year program in Ethiopia, working in woredas in the Amhara National Regional State with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This week of meetings and workshops will shape the future work of MWA and members on WASH in healthcare facilities. Be sure to see the full report below.

[i]Health centers typically provide promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative outpatient care including basic laboratory and pharmacy services. Centers typically have a few beds for emergency and delivery services. Health centers serve as a referral centers for health posts serve 15,000-25,000 people in a woreda.

Health posts typically provide promotive and preventive health care services and serve 3,000-5,000 in a woreda.

[ii]World Health Organization (2017). Achieving quality universal health coverage through better water, sanitation and hygiene services in health care facilities: a focus on Ethiopia.


Posted August 21, 2019

MWA Releases Second Position Paper on WASH
Implementation in Ethiopia

Posted June 20th, 2019


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Awards $7.5 Million to Millennium Water Alliance to Improve Safe Water Access in Ethiopia

Washington, DC, May 9, 2019 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded $7.5 million to the Millennium Water Alliance over five years to improve access to water services for more than 500,000 people in communities and institutions.

The new program focuses on three districts in the Amhara region – Dera, Farta, North Mecha – to strengthen water service delivery systems, and to work with water authorities to improve management and to support access to safe, sustainable water and hygiene at institutions such as health care facilities and schools.

MWA members collaborating in Ethiopia include CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, IRC WASH, WaterAid, and World Vision. Other strategic and technical partners include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stanford University (Woods Institute), Splash, and Evidence Action.

“This new program aligns with our focus on governments to implement long-term plans for sustainability,” said Chris Dunston, Senior Program Officer – International Programs, of the Hilton Foundation. “MWA’s work is district-wide, systems-focused, and will also be a learning platform from which others can replicate the ideas. This is how the Foundation sees NGOs working in closer partnership with governments and others to reach systems of scale toward the global goal of full coverage by 2030.”

MWA Executive Director Keith Wright noted that “the new 2019-2024 program will build on the work of the bridge program in 2018 in which we supported district [woreda] governments to develop strategic plans for how to reach SDG 6.1 by the year 2030.

“MWA is excited to convene this program in Ethiopia, helping to push global sector-wide thinking on how to use collective impact and NGO partners as facilitators to support local governments,” Wright said. “MWA will also use this project as a platform to test innovations and compile results to support the broader WASH sector, and encourage replication of successful approaches.”

The $7.5 million funds from the Hilton Foundation will be applied to drinking water programming, while sanitation and hygiene work will be carried out using matching funds from MWA members implementing the program. The Hilton Foundation began funding work by MWA in Ethiopia in 2006, through programs of varying size and focus.

A shallow well built by WaterAid Ethiopia used by community members in Kurt Bahir Village Of North Mecha District; Feb. 2019

The new program aligns with district goals. The districts set their five-year targets, on average, to increase basic water access from 30 to 69% and safely managed from 1 to 18%. The district-wide plans are costed, incorporating life cycle costs, and assume financial contributions from national, regional and district governments, communities, multiple donors and loans.

During the bridge program, 200 dispensers were installed at community water sources, adding to 49 piloted under the 2014-2017 MWA-Ethiopia program. Also in 2018, the program facilitated 538 households to develop self-supply wells, meaning rehabilitating older wells or creating news ones directly on residents’ premises for their own use. This self-supply focus has been adopted as one major approach by the Ethiopian government for use where practical.

Mesfin Gerenew, Civil and Water works engineer for World Vision Ethiopia, explains the SQ Flex Solar Pump during a joint program monitoring visit to the Hamusit school in the Dera District.

“Perhaps even more importantly for the long-term, we worked hard in that program to build strong partnerships with other NGOs and government, using a long-term vision for the districts,” Wright said. “This is at the core of all of MWA’s work, in Ethiopia and other countries.”


My Yimer Habte, Deputy Head of Water, Irrigation, and Energy for the Amhara Regional government, stressed the continuing coordination between MWA and the Ethiopian government:  “The close collaboration between government bureaus and offices and the Millennium Water Alliance in generating evidence on WASH status, SDG WASH Strategic Planning, sensitization of the community, and the installation of Dispensers for Safe Water, is very exemplary. This is an effective partnership toward the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 and the Growth and Transformation Plan II in the three target woredas.”


The grant from the Hilton Foundation includes a focus on WASH in healthcare facilities in the target woredas. Recent global studies on healthcare facilities in low-income nations have revealed startling statistics, and found that only 2% of healthcare facilities provide all the basic water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management services. In a recent MWA case study of 11 healthcare facilities in Ethiopia and Kenya, none of them met all the water, sanitation, hygiene, cleaning, and waste management criteria selected for that study.


The Millennium Water Alliance is the 501(c)(3) consortium of leading charities helping to bring safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. MWA works with governments, corporations, foundations, individuals, and other NGOs to advance best practices, share knowledge, build collaborations, and advocate for greater commitment to this global goal. MWA’s members include CARE, Catholic Relief Services, El Porvenir, Food for the Hungry, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, IRC–WASH, Living Water International, Pure Water for the World, Water4, WaterAid America, Water For People, Water Mission, and World Vision.


Contact for more information:

Laura Brunson, MWA Global Program Director

Tedla Mulatu, MWA Ethiopia Program Director

Julia Friedman, Senior Communications Manager, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation














MWA Releases New Position Paper on Supporting Local Government in Long-Term WASH Strategic Planning


Posted May 3rd, 2019



Self-supply Enables Community Resilience

Azagn Delagn, pumping water from well using rope pump. Photo Ashenafi A. / CRS

“Previously, we couldn’t have clean water in our premise,” says Azagn Delagn, beneficiary from Addis Alem village.

According to the World Bank, from 2005 to 2015, Ethiopia was ranked as one of the world’s fastest growing economies – experiencing strong, broad-based economic growth averaging 10.3% a year.

Along with growing economies, such as Ethiopia, also comes growth of people’s aspirations for improved services. One of the ways in which these aspirations are being met is through households developing their own water supplies within their compounds. This is particularly important given a largely rural population that is often located in sparse settlements. Household self-supply in Ethiopia has also been enabled through the government’s direction of serving 30% of the rural population through self-supply service delivery model. It is a model aimed at enabling people to have their own water supply system through using their own funds to dig their own wells or construct water harvesting systems at their household or in small groups.

Government and NGOs use initial self-supply promotion to encourage households to start with what they can afford or get a loan from a micro-finance institution. The first step might be to develop a hand-dug well. Then, as funds are available, households continue to move up the self-supply ladder to improve the water point with a cover and then a rope pump and eventually a cement cover and hand pump. Self-supply wells that have been improved in this way have strong potential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “safely managed” service level whereby water source is located at premises and available when needed – with improvement in water quality.

Families who have benefited from CRS’s efforts under the Millennium Water Alliance Bridge Program in Ethiopia offer typical examples of the viability of the self-supply model.  The short-term project, generously funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (CNHF), has created demand among the communities and accelerated uptake of household level investment in water supply.  At the beginning of the intervention, community awareness regarding the advantages of self-supply and knowledge about costs and advantages/disadvantages of appropriate technologies were created. Following this, a supply chain for rope pumps was established with local entrepreneurs and artisans so that the households can get the services within easy reach.

Azagn Delagn, age 36, mother of four, has a rope pump installed in her compound which she spent USD 116 to buy and have installed.  Azagn is one of 650 people benefiting from this self-supply project implemented by CRS in North Mecha woreda, Amhara Region, with support from CNHF. This means Azagn is now able to get clean water in her premise at a relatively low cost.

“Previously, we couldn’t have clean water in our premise,” Azagn says. “The water we used to get from traditional well was very turbid and unclean. I particularly benefited from the new rope pump as I can do other activities without concern that my children approach the open well and fall into it.  More to this, I can now water my vegetables and provide the cattle with water by extending pipe from the rope pump. My children could also operate the pump which otherwise was very difficult and dangerous to draw water in the previous bucket and rope operated open well condition.”

Once Azagn’s neighbors saw the rope pump installed in her house, the word spread. Her neighbors are showing a strong interest in acquiring the service of rope pumps. More people are registering to have rope pumps; demand has already surpassed 625 people. These beneficiaries are in addition to the many other households of similar self-supply and water quality improvement activities done by the Millennium Water Alliance Bridge Program in North Mecha and other woredas of Amhara Region.  As summer draws near, Azagn hopes that her new water facility would be of immense benefit to her and her family.


For more information contact:

Laura Brunson,

Tedla Mulatu,



Posted November 30, 2018

Evidence Action is an active partner of  MWA. Founded in 2013,  Evidence Action is dedicated to scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty. We are happy to share their blog post about their work with chlorine dispensers in our MWA Ethiopia Program:

Testing Waters:

Can our Dispensers for Safe Water model improve safe water access in Ethiopia?

By Richard Kibuuka, Cherrelle Druppers, and Julie Wang’ombe

Evidence Action

Dispensers for Safe Water improves access to safe drinking water among rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa by installing easy-to-use chlorine dispensers right next to communal water points, making it easy for community members to chlorinate their water. Water chlorination is a safe and effective way of improving water quality, killing pathogens that cause diseases like cholera and diarrhea. The program trains and deploys trusted community volunteers, known as “promoters”, to encourage community use of the dispensers and to ensure they are properly refilled and maintained. Since 2013, the program has grown significantly both in terms of user base and geographic coverage. We currently operate over 27,000 dispensers providing access to safe water for 4 million people in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi at an annual cost of just $1.36 per person served. We’ve also prevented an estimated two million cases of diarrheal disease in children under the age of five to date, which is the second leading cause of death in under-five children globally.

In 2016, the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) approached Evidence Action with an interest in piloting our safe water model in Ethiopia, where over 48 million people still lack access to safe water despite the monumental strides that have been made to tackle the issue there. MWA and their partners were interested in Dispensers for Safe Water as a high-impact, cost-effective, and scalable way of addressing acute diarrhea and communicable diseases like typhoid. One MWA program implementer, CARE International, had previously experimented with distributing powdered chlorine through government-employed health extension workers, but data from the initiative showed that this method of chlorine provision did not translate into increased chlorination rates among households, and contaminated water remained a problem. Dispensers for Safe Water’s approach seemed promising, eliminating the need for users to remember to regularly chlorinate their water at home as well as maintaining consistently high adoption rates. The conspicuous blue dispenser, located at the users’ regular water point, serves as an instant reminder, and the chlorination process is integrated into users’ routine water-fetching, simplifying the process of treating water.

For us, the partnership offered a chance to gauge whether another organization can implement the Dispensers for Safe Water model given our support in supplying the hardware, sharing implementation best practices, and supporting program monitoring. This differs from our typical model, where we undertake all aspects of implementation, monitoring, and follow-up in the communities we serve.


As a first step, we partnered with MWA, with CARE as MWA’s lead implementing partner, to conduct a preliminary feasibility study and small-scale pilot to better understand the context and assess the delivery model. Specifically, we wanted to know:

  1. What water treatment options are available in the target communities, whether they work, and if not, why not
  2. What opportunities there might be to partner extensively with the government to co-implement the program alongside MWA and its partners
  3. What are local demand and attitudes towards chlorine-based water treatment and consumption of chlorinated water (given the potential for aversion to the taste and odor of chlorine, for instance)
  4. What gaps exist in the local chlorine supply chain that might need to be bridged

Our feasibility study, conducted in three kebeles (communities), found that only 22% of households took steps to make their water safe to drink. Of those, 81% boiled their water, which, while effective at killing pathogens, does not protect water from recontamination that can take place through poor water storage and retrieval practices. We also found that, although 54% of households were aware that chlorine could be used to treat water and 25% listed chlorine as their preferred water treatment method, 94% of households had never used chlorine to treat water. When asked why, nearly 90% of these households indicated that chlorine was not available to them.

To better understand what water treatment options were available in the market, we visited eight local retailers serving between 10 and 500 households and found that only one of them stocked water treatment products (WaterGuard and Aquatabs).

*Usage of chlorine to treat water is self-reported by households and is different from the objective drinking water test for chlorine residual. Chart from Evidence Action

Recognizing a gap in available water treatment options that the Dispensers for Safe Water model could potentially fill, we initiated a small-scale pilot to learn more. Evidence Action supplied MWA with 49 dispensers for 3 districts (known as ‘woreda’) as part of MWA’s broader program to provide safe water or improved sanitation access to an additional 300,000 people in rural Ethiopia. We also trained government officials and implementing partner staff on how to install and maintain chlorine dispensers (including how to identify optimal sites for dispensers – locations where water sources serve a significant number of households and water is not too turbid to be treated by chlorine), how to educate the community about the new technology, and how to select and train volunteer community members to champion the use of the dispensers, keep them filled with chlorine, and report hardware issues.

Our support included designing the monitoring framework for the pilot and training CARE’s monitoring team on how to collect the applicable data. Meanwhile, chlorine was purchased locally, stored at government-run health centers, and regularly delivered to community-based volunteer promoters by government-employed health extension workers. The pilot ran from November 2016 to August 2017.


Before the pilot, baseline data showed that an average of 5% of households were using chlorine to treat their water. Data collected between April and July 2017, following the implementation of Dispensers for Safe Water, showed that, on average, 79% of households were using chlorine to treat their water. During the same period of time, the functionality rate of dispensers remained high, averaging 98% – which is critical since the regular use of dispensers often drops if hardware breaks or malfunctions and remains out-of-order for long periods of time. Based on our experiences in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, we also know that regular interaction between community promoters and the households they serve is associated with increased dispenser use. In the Ethiopia pilot, household survey results showed that “within the last 30 days”, 99% of households had seen their promoter and 98% of households had interacted with their promoter specifically about the dispensers. Additionally, households scored their promoters’ performance on average at 4.3 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the highest score), with 96% of satisfied households attributing their satisfaction to the fact that “the promoter [taught them] how to use the dispenser.” Interestingly, word about the new chlorine dispensers spread beyond the communities in which the pilot was implemented, and we received anecdotal evidence of other communities asking local government officials to install dispensers in their areas too.

We will work with MWA to track these indicators over time. It is possible for initial community excitement at the introduction of a new technology to wane with familiarity. Similarly, promoters’ zeal to spread information, ensure dispensers are promptly refilled, and make certain that hardware issues are quickly identified and addressed, can fall too. Nonetheless, the early findings of the pilot remain encouraging. They suggest the potential for the Dispensers for Safe Water model to improve safe water access at larger scale in Ethiopia and that delivering the program through partners, with Evidence Action’s technical support, could prove useful for amplifying Dispensers for Safe Water’s impact.


Based on the promising results from the first phase of the trial, MWA has now kicked off phase two. The second phase involves installing 200 new dispensers and branching into new kebeles and woredas (districts), while following up with households from the first phase to track adoption rates (how many households continue to use the dispenser) and program quality (whether or not hardware has malfunctioned, whether chlorine is being promptly refilled when it runs low, etc.) over time. The second phase is slightly different from the first, as we iterate our way towards an effective delivery model at scale. One significant difference is that there are more MWA partners engaged in implementation, including Catholic Relief Services, Helvetas, and FH Ethiopia.

A second and more critical difference is that we are, for the first time, trialling a unique pay-for-chlorine system. Dispensers for Safe Water is typically a free service – a program design choice informed by extensive research showing the prohibitive effects of even small user charges for health products. However, our pilot partnership with MWA, with CARE serving as lead implementer, offers an opportunity to explore whether asking communities to pool together small amounts of money for the purchase of chlorine can work in a context where households are already paying a small amount to maintain their water sources and are asked to supplement this existing cost. In the current (second) phase of the trial, communities are beginning to contribute towards the purchase of chlorine, which is a promising start. However, we will monitor how this payment feature affects adoption rates over time and factor that data into our decision-making around whether to recommend its incorporation into the Ethiopia program, with a commitment to remaining evidence-based as we support MWA’s efforts to effectively address an urgent challenge facing millions of Ethiopians. As we continue to “test the waters” in Ethiopia, we will share updates on our progress and results.


Read the story on Evidence Action’s website, HERE.

Posted September 20, 2018


MWA Supports District-Wide Planning in Line with Global SDGs


Photo credit: Laura Brunson

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 12, 2018 – The Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) in Ethiopia is planning strategically with government in a way we have not done before.  Under our global strategic plan, we prioritize “putting government at the center,” in which planning takes place with government in the lead, aiming to help accelerate progress toward the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

MWA and the entire WASH sector understand that some projects in years past failed because of insufficient planning.  The programs of the Millennium Development era (2000 – 2015) often lacked attention to life cycle costing, on-going operations and maintenance, capacity development, and household water quality, among other issues.

With generous funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, MWA is working in Ethiopia with partners in a short Bridge Program, an important part of which is planning for long-term activities that support not only hardware, but also the broader systems needed to sustain access to WASH and help achieve full coverage.

Our first step was an in-depth analysis using existing and newly-collected data to understand the local context. This data step allows for evidence-based decision making and prioritization. The next major step is working with government, preferably with government leading, on a collaborative planning process that ideally results in a roadmap through 2030 for how to achieve the WASH SDGs across a district (woreda).

MWA, with members CARE, World Vision, FH Ethiopia, HELVETAS, WaterAid, IRC WASH, and Catholic Relief Services, is working closely with woreda, zonal, and regional governments in several sectors, including Water, Health, Education, Finance, Agriculture, and Administration.  SDG strategic plans are being developed collaboratively through a series of workshops and meetings where government partners work alongside NGOs and other woreda stakeholders.  The workshops focus on areas such as hardware and technology usage, costing, maintenance models, and financing. This planning process is built on the evidence obtained during the assessment phase.

Traditionally in Ethiopia, districts create annual work plans based on five-year strategic plans and heavily focused on hardware implementation and rehabilitation. These SDG strategic plans are unique in that they are developed for a 12-year period, and are inclusive of aspects such as life cycle costing, financing, and consideration of maintenance and service-delivery levels.

MWA’s evolved approach is aligned with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s new Safe Water Strategy, and the sector-wide movement towards focusing on a district-wide, systems-based approach. This sort of long-term planning and partnership is an integral part of the systems-based approach.

More information about this long-term planning approach will soon be available in the first of a series of MWA Ethiopia Position Papers published as part of this Bridge Program. By the end of the year, a woreda- wide SDG strategic plan will be available for review.  MWA appreciates the learning provided by IRC Ghana and other partners who led a similar process in a district in Ghana, and the teamwork and commitment of all Ethiopia Bridge Program partners.


MWA Comments on 2004-2009 Evaluation

Show Differences Between Then, Now

Posted August 27, 2018


MWA, Government of Ethiopia Sign Agreement on New East Africa Regional Office


MWA Executive Director Keith Wright and Professor Afework Kassa, the State Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday, August 9, 2018 — The Millennium Water Alliance on August 7 signed an agreement with the Government of Ethiopia to open a new East Africa regional office in Addis Ababa.

At a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MWA Executive Director Keith Wright met with Professor Afework Kassa, the State Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other Ministry staff, to inaugurate a Memorandum of Understanding. Wright noted that MWA and its members have operated in Ethiopia since 2004, investing more than US$45.6 million in programs between 2004 to 2017 to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services for more than 1.5 million people in the Amhara, Benishangul, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray regions.

“MWA is working to mobilize more resources so that in addition to our efforts to scale up our existing WASH programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, we can also put great effort toward opening consortia in new countries, such as South Sudan and Uganda,” Wright said.

MWA’s five-year Kenya RAPID program, with a budget of over US$35 million, targets more than 450,000 beneficiaries for improved access to water for multiple uses and sanitation access in five northern counties in Kenya.



Sitting on a Gold Mine

A team representing government and NGOs from Ethiopia joined a visit to Ghana to learn about planning for achieving the WASH Sustainable Development Goals.


By John Butterworth (IRC WASH) and Laura Brunson (MWA)


April 23, 2018— The district of Asutifi North in Ghana is literally sitting on a gold mine. Located 300 km north-west of Accra in the Brong Ahafo region near the town of Kenyasi, the mine produces 350,000 ounces of gold a year (or ten tonnes) according to its owner, Newmont. A lot of this wealth leaves the district but the mine employs 2,500 employees and contractors and the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation aims to ensure that gold mining benefits the local community. It invests 1 USD per ounce of ounce of gold sold and 1% net profits.

Launching the Asutifi North Full WASH Coverage Initiative. Photo credit: IRC

The district assembly in Asutifi North has been developing a master plan for its Full WASH Coverage Initiative to provide safe water and sanitation for all 80,000 residents of the district. This plan is its own gold mine in a different sense. It includes ideas that the district and its development partners seek to exploit to bring meaningful change to water, sanitation, hygiene, health and well-being. The wider aim is to work out how to achieve Full WASH coverage and contribute to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6.1 and 6.2 in the country. As one of the first districts in Ghana to engage in this type of long-term planning, the initiative seeks to collect evidence on how to bring about significant change, will share lessons and will provide encouragement on how this might be done elsewhere.

As well as local leaders, the launch of the initiative attracted professionals from Uganda, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, all seeking to find answers to a similar question: how to strengthen the local government-led systems for WASH services delivery? The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has been supporting these efforts through its Safe Water Strategy and is backing the initiative with catalytic financing and ideas in 6 focus countries. In Ethiopia, the effort is being led by the Millennium Water Alliance (involving Care, Catholic Relief Services, WaterAid, Helvetas, World Vision and Food for the Hungry) with the support of IRC WASH. The Ethiopian delegation that MWA and IRC WASH took along to learn about the Asutifi North experience included representatives of all these organisations and the regional government of Amhara.

The Ethiopian delegation to Ghana on SDG planning. Photo credit: IRC

One of the big takeaways from Asutifi North was that getting the partnership right is vital and that this requires a lot of initial investment. Ato Yimer Habtie, Deputy Bureau Head of the Bureau of Water Irrigation and Energy in Amhara Region reflected on the strong partnership between the government, NGOs and donors and suggested its replication in Ethiopia. NGO representatives also appreciated the way that the partnership has been built and were excited by the programming around systems strengthening.

In Ghana, the group that has come together includes the Asutifi North District Assembly, IRC, the Safe Water Network, World Vision International, Netcentric Campaigns, Aquaya Institute, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation, GIZ, and Inc as well as traditional authorities, CSOs and the local private sector. All these partners bring different perspectives and skills. This kind of partnership means a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions to develop a shared vision and activities. But now there is a widely owned plan that the district planning officer, technical staff and local leaders are all equally passionate about. There is something agreed that the partners can commit to and work towards delivering.

The MWA in Ethiopia is working on a similar process to develop strategic WASH plans to deliver on the SDGs in three districts in Amhara Region (Dera, Farta and North Mecha). These plans are expected to include delivering basic access to services to the unserved while at the same time, driving up service standards to meet national and international goals. New service delivery models such as rural water utilities, moving towards more professionalization in water services delivery, finding new solutions to poor water quality and building the capacity of government are all ideas that are expected to be included.

If successful, these plans will help districts to attract resources and provide the local vision and collaboration needed to deliver on WASH SDG expectations. In 2015/16, the entire Ethiopian WASH sector was estimated to have had a budget of just over 500 million USD. But projections by the Water Sector Working group have suggested 6 times that level of finance or 3 billion USD might be needed for new capital investments, while continuing to spend the current level of resourcing on operations and maintenance. Those 10 tonnes of gold from the Ahafo mine are worth 460 million USD a year. Ethiopia will need to find a different way than gold mining to put all the needed financing in place, but the new strategic plans are expected to show the way.

Posted April 23, 2018

End-Line Evaluation: MWA Evaluates Success of Self-Supply Acceleration Pilot


Artisan helps build Self-supply well. Photo: Laura Brunson

The Millennium Water Alliance- Ethiopia Program conducted an innovative Self-supply Acceleration pilot during its 2014-2017 program funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This Self-supply Acceleration program helped enable households to construct and improve their own water supplies. The lack of subsidy provided at the household level of Self-supply is one of the most challenging aspects of this service-delivery model. As a result, the pilot worked to develop the necessary support systems for positioning Self-supply as a viable option for families, using activities such as creating demand in communities; building government interest and expertise in Self-supply; offering a variety of potential technology options; strengthening private sector capacity by providing training to expand their social marketing and monitoring abilities; and expanding the loan portfolio of micro-finance institutions to accommodate loans for WASH. Key Self-supply work was done in five woredas: Dera, Farta, Estie, Omona, and Dugda.

An end-line evaluation of the program found that, though the initial interest from government and communities was low primarily due to the lack of subsidy, influencing and capacity-building efforts resulted in major improvements with buy-in and government support. Overall, through both household and community Self-supply, 731 wells were constructed or improved, and approximately 18,275 people benefited directly from the pilot. At the time of the report, 100 percent of hand-pumps were functional, which increased the accessibility of multiple use services at the household level. This allowed for corresponding reductions in workload and increased time for additional productive activities, such as education. One exciting find is that peer-to-peer promotion played a significant role in encouraging families to adopt Self-supply.

This pilot project was implemented by different partners including CARE, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services,, IRC, and Aqua for All; Aqua for All’s role included both financial support and engagement with private sector activities. Due to efforts during this pilot, woreda staff were prepared to continue Self-supply activities independently at the pilot’s conclusion. During a recent follow-up visit by MWA to one of the Self-supply kebeles, a family that implemented a household well and hand-pump through the program was found to have a fully functioning well, which included a cement apron as well as a hand-pump. The family reported that they are now able to grow a wider variety of crops for consumption and sale, including cabbage and onions. This level of autonomy and subsequent expansion of crops makes a significant difference in their lives.

The growth in grassroots interest at the household level and the combined support of public and private sectors demonstrated in the end-line evaluation indicates that Self-supply Acceleration is a valuable approach to expanding water access for multiple uses in Ethiopia.

To read the full report, visit the members-only forum HERE. If you have difficulty accessing the forum, please email


Posted March 12, 2018


Introducing New MWA Ethiopia Program Director


Last month we welcomed Tedla Mulatu Temesgen to our MWA secretariat in Addis Ababa as our Ethiopia Program Director.

Mr. Mulatu joined MWA in January, 2018 and brought with him over 15 years of experience in business development, donor management, technical assistance, and program development. Prior to MWA, Mr. Mulatu worked in various senior level positions for Amref Health Africa, Voluntary Service Overseas, and Generation Integrated Rural Development Consultant. He holds a Global Executive MBA from United States International University, an M.A. degree in Educational Research and Evaluation from Addis Ababa University (AAU), an International Postgraduate Diploma in project management from Cambridge International College, UK, and a B.A. degree in Sociology and Social Administration from AAU.

MWA has worked in Ethiopia since 2004, reaching over 1.5 million people in rural areas with improved access to water, sanitation or hygiene. Over the years, MWA Ethiopia programs have been supported by USAID, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Vitol Foundation, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, and matching funds from MWA member organizations.

During 2018, MWA Ethiopia is focusing on a Bridge Program funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. MWA members collaborating on this program include: IRC, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, HELVETAS, Food for the Hungry, WaterAid, and World Vision. Additional program partners include: Splash, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Stanford Wood Institute.

Mr. Mulatu joins the MWA Ethiopia secretariat, which includes Melkamu Jaleta, MWA Country Representative; Mussie Tezazu, CQI and MEL Manager; and Yisehak Leta Guttema, Grants Manager. He can be reached at


Posted February 5, 2018


2017 MWA Ethiopia Program Brochure

Posted June 14, 2017


WASH/IWRM Program Increases Agricultural

Productivity and Improves Livelihoods

 New Video Shows Integrated Water Resource Management in Action in Ethiopia WASH Program Funded by Hilton, Coca-Cola

Washington, DC , December 18, 2014 – The Millennium Water Alliance and its implementing partner in Ethiopia, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), have released two new videos on the WASH program in Ethiopia funded by The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (CNHF) and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF).

 The videos – one eight minute version and one two-minute version – focus on how MWA member and Ethiopia program partner CRS, along with its local partner, Water Action, have been piloting a “multiple use services “ (MUS) approach in five Ethiopian woredas. The funding from TCCAF and CNHF has enabled MWA and its partners to expand their focus on MUS.

The MUS program at the Ancharo watershed in Kalu woreda (Amhara region) has been in place since 2010, and Ancharo residents have seen a dramatic shift in agricultural productivity. The WASH component is the focus of the MWA-Ethiopia Program, but at the same time CRS is working on a package of interventions combining WASH with agriculture, food security, and livelihood diversification.

The MWA-Ethiopia Program, involving CRS, CARE, Living Water International, WaterAid, World Vision, and local partners, has improved access to water for more than 350,000 people over three years.

See the full video here:

See the two-minute highlight version here:

For more information, contact:


Melkamu Jaleta, Ethiopia Country Director