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Ethiopia News

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