ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia is the largest and most populated country located in the Horn of Africa. It had been one of the most rapidly growing states among the 188 IMF member countries by 2016 with its GDP having risen at a rate between 8 percent and 11 percent. Despite these improvements, Ethiopia is still left as one of the poorest countries in the world. Over the past 20 years, Ethiopia has faced droughts all over the country. Wells, rivers and bodies of water have dried up or have come close to it. In rural areas, these droughts can cause Ethiopians to fall ill. However, the World Bank has introduced the project One WASH, which aims to improve Ethiopia’s water crisis.
WASH is a term that stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. WASH programs are typically enacted to raise awareness and teach citizens and teachers how to maintain a sanitary environment and gain access to clean water in countries with water issues. There are multiple WASH programs such as UNICEF’s WASH team, Project Wet’s WASH training course and Ethiopia’s OPENWASH program. The World Bank commenced the One WASH, Consolidated Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Account Project (One WASH—CWA) to increase access to sanitary water as well as hygiene services, water delivery and resource management in Ethiopia.
The World Bank reports that, over the past 10 years, Ethiopia has made notable progress in increasing access to water supply and sanitation (WSS), but there are still improvements to be made. The One WASH program will focus on “communities with low service coverage, high prevalence of excreta-and-water-borne diseases and stunting, as well as drought and flood-prone areas.” The program hopes to benefit approximately 3 million people through the provision of safe water supply services under these five components.
- Promoting hygienic practices and increasing access to WSS in rural areas that were not properly supported by the Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (WASHP) or that need the development of service in later communities for universal access. They also plan to strengthen service delivery management capacity.
- Using Urban hygiene and WSS to help aid in expanding access to WSS amenities as well as enhancing the capacity of local water boards and utilities. This will help direct water resources and WSS service delivery in smaller and moderately sized towns.
- Promoting Institutional WSS and hygiene to increase access to WASH provisions in schools. It specifically aims to “improve health impacts, decrease school dropout rates, and increase the resilience of WSS services to floods and droughts and reduce the contamination of water bodies.”
- Reinforcing Climate-resilient WASH in the direction of water resources for service delivery as well as gain more access to WASH provisions in chosen “flood- and drought-prone areas.” This will include three subcomponents of monitoring and planning, service delivery and a contingency emergency response component (CERC).
- Strengthening institutional and project management that focuses on reinforcing the project procedures and revision and updating of technical guidelines and manuals.
Ethiopia has made considerable progress towards cleaning and improving access to water. As a largely impoverished country in an area plagued by droughts, Ethiopia itself along with organizations such as the World Bank, UNICEF and the Water Project have been making great improvements to alleviate their water crisis. The still-new One WASH Project hopes to add on to the developments that have been made by increasing access to sanitary water as well as hygiene services to avoid health issues and reduce water scarcity.
– Jade Thompson