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Ethiopia News

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.

EVIDENCE FIRST

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.

PROMISING RESULTS

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.

ITERATE, AGAIN

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 Water.org 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, Water.org, 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 jessica.cooper@mwawater.org.

 

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 Tedla.Mulatu@mwawater.org.

 

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  Melkamu.jaleta@mwawater.org