14 February 2018

Ethiopia: Reaching the Unreached

analysis

Mestewat Ahmed, in her 40s, is a resident of the Sefer Village of Wegidi Woreda in South Wollo Zone, Amhara State. She vividly remembers the previous long lines she used to fetch water. As she uttered to crew of journalists, she had spent most of her working hours in the places where water is available for 3-to-4 hours till 4:00pm.

The topography of the place where she was born and residing is rigid. It is easily imaginable that how much Mestewat and her peers might be suffer to searching for water.

"There are worst times that the quantity of water reduced and took us longer times than usual to fill the jars with water." she said adding that on such junctures, we sometimes got into clashes not to get back home with empty jars.

Shewaye Haile, at her late 50s, also builds on the same talk with her neighbor Mestewat saying the water crisis some years back was high in her vicinity.

For both Mestewat and Shewaye, the situation had negative impacts on their kids' education, sanitation, hygiene and health conditions. Apart from the water woe, the two mothers shared their past burdens at home chores.

Having the public concern in point and realizing the fact that merely government's intervention could not be enough to alleviate communities' problems, Menschen fuer Menschen (MfM) Foundation has been executing various development activities in various parts of the country to fill the gaps.

With this same purpose, hence, the Foundation last week inaugurated Lemi-Robite Rural Towns Water Supply system in Wegidi Woreda, South Wollo Zone of the Amhara State. The Project is said benefit over 6240 people of whom Mestewat and Shewaye are among the beneficiaries of the towns.

The inaugurated projects encompass supply of electro-mechanical units, boreholes, borehole drilling, construction of civil work and installation of electro-mechanical works, consultancy services on construction supervision and community capacity building and is expected to serve the communities for the coming 30 years.

Lemi-Robite Rural Towns Water Supply Project consists of the construction of 26 water points (23 for public use and 3 for schools), 11.3 km distribution line, 3.56 Km pressure main, 5 showers, construction of four VIP latrines, 200 cubic meter reservoir with total budget of 14.4 million Birr of which, the contribution of the public both in labor and cash is 1.6 million or 11 percent of the total cost.

The project increased the water supply, sanitation and hygiene coverage of Lemi Robite communities from 18.49 to 100 percent and the time spent to fetch water in the towns has also been reduced from an hour to ten minutes, according to the Foundation.

Furthermore, the project has lessened the burden of women and children through provision of piped water supply at possible closer vicinity, improved the health status of the communities by providing safe and adequate potable water.

The projects have also contributed a lot in achieving national Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) goals and targets set on the National Development Plans such as the Universal Access Plan (UAP), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to potable water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Lemi-Robite water supply project is fully funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by (MfM) Foundation.

The Foundation has constructed five rural towns' water supplies namely: Alge in Ilu Ababura Zone, Lemi and Ginager in North Shoa Zone, Arekit in Gurage Zone and the recently inaugurated water supply and sanitation projects in Wegidi Woreda, South Wollo Zone in the villages of Taye, Sefer and Abotie under the Lemi-Robite rural town's water supply project.

In addition, Seyo and Makafta Rural Town projects are under construction in West Shoa and South Wollo Zones respectively. Over the last three decades, the Foundation has also developed 2,369 hand-dug wells and springs in various parts of the country and benefited more than 704,200 people in its intervention

Mestewat said that the projects have benefited her in many dimensions. "Now we have the water at our doorsteps. It saved us the time we used to spend to fetch water and at large it eases our burdens. Water is no more a concern for me and my neighbors," Mestewat said with greater happiness and relief.

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