In Ethiopia, access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for 1.7 million people will be improved thanks to two new projects recently launched in the capital Addis Ababa. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will finance the work to the tune of 90 million dollars.
Five years. That’s how long it will take to implement two projects launched on 3 November 2023 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in the presence of Ervin Massinga, the US Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Asfaw Dingamo, the Ethiopian Minister of State for Water Supply and Sanitation in the Ministry of Water and Energy. The “Urban Wash” and “Climate Resilient Wash” projects will improve access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) for 1.7 million people in the country by 2028. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has released a total of 90 million dollars to finance the work.
The first project, “Urban Wash”, is in line with USAID’s “Expanding Water and Sanitation Project” initiative, which focuses on institutionalising the provision of wash services, increasing the accountability of wash service providers, supporting policy and regulatory reforms and expanding the private sector, and will be rolled out in ten secondary towns in Ethiopia. The project will focus on professionalising municipal public services and creating markets for Wash services such as safe toilet bowls and hand-washing stations that “everyone can afford”. “The project will also help local authorities to plan and budget for infrastructure in their areas,” explained the US Embassy in Ethiopia.
The Climate Resilient Wash Project, also funded to the tune of $45 million, will focus on providing wash services to underserved rural populations in the regional states of Afar, Oromia, Somali and South and Central Ethiopia. Climate resilient water services will be developed for pastoral communities, as well as affordable sanitation and hygiene products and services. “We know that by providing our Ethiopian brothers and sisters with handwashing facilities, improved latrines and other sanitation equipment, children will miss fewer days of school, which will help families thrive,” said Ervin Massinga, the US Ambassador to Ethiopia.
Of the 1.7 million people targeted by the “Urban Wash” and “Climate Resilient Wash” projects, 900,000 Ethiopians will have continuous access to drinking water and 800,000 to basic sanitation services. According to the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), only 49.6% of Ethiopia’s population currently has access to a basic water supply, 8.9% to basic sanitation services, and 4.8% to basic hygiene services. As a result, 60 to 80% of communicable diseases are attributed to limited access to drinking water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene services in the country, and 25,000 deaths of children under the age of five each year are due to diarrhoea, according to UNICEF.
The “Urban Wash” and “Climate Resilient Wash” projects financed by USAID will also help to create tens of thousands of jobs for unemployed Ethiopian technicians specialising in the water and sanitation sectors.