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ERRWASH-12: Emergency clean water

Image: An Erga from Assilekebele.

 

What

Project Title: Emergency WASH in Disaster-Affected Hamar Woreda

The ERRWASH-12 project was launched in 2012 to provide emergency relief of safe water to 7,200 people living in in the Hamar woreda1 in South Omo Zone, Ethiopia.

 

Who

The beneficiaries of the ERRWASH-12 project are 7,200 Hamar pastoralists living in 15 kebeles:2 Lala, Area Umbale, Assile, Mirsha, Betagalafa, Shanko, Kelema, AchiAlgone, Area Keyisa, Simbele, Denbayte, Genbela, Demeka, Angude, Kolakeja, and WoroDayina.

 

Why

The Hamar region had developed a reputation for failed emergency relief projects. More than 40% of the existing water schemes were non-functioning. Many wells were constructed too close to the sandy riverbeds without adequate protection from flash flooding and livestock.

For the people in these 15 communities, safe drinking water was not available, open field defecation was standard practice, the incidence of water-borne and communicable disease was over 85%, and inter-tribal killing was a frequent occurrence as people competed for scare water.

 

How

The project focused on providing emergency water relief, but our goal included making sure the communities themselves could maintain their access to clean water. To reestablish clean water, the project refurbished the 15 non-functioning and damaged water schemes. With community participation we established or re-energized local water sanitation committees, training the members to maintain and manage their water points.

Key to sustainability is motivating the community to adopt safe hygiene and sanitation practices. Because of the short, emergency timeline of the ERRWASH-12 project, we hired Ergas (community facilitators) from previous projects as consultants to assist GTLI employees with our community learning process.

The experienced Ergas helped us fast-track the emergence of 110 new Ergas from the communities to encourage community adoption of new sanitation and hygiene behaviors. We formed household inspection teams to promote proper disposal of feces, safe water management, and hand washing. With community participation we marked defecation free zones surrounding the refurbished water points.

 

Impact

In a short 5 months 7,500 people gained access to 15 newly functioning wells providing clean water. But the longer lasting impact for these communities is they were positioned to be able to maintain those wells. More than twice the number of tribal members participated in our community learning process to promote sanitation and hygiene behaviors than we expected. One reason for this success was the work of consultant 15 Ergas from our previous projects in Hamar areas.

The impact on the lives of the women Ergas we hired was life changing for them and their communities. These pioneering Hamar women, who had been model facilitators in their own communities, overcame objections of their husbands to travel and work in these communities, remote from their own. Even though the Hamar men are not accustomed to listening to women, these persistent women were able to effectively encourage another Hamar community to change centuries-old harmful hygiene and sanitation practices. After five months away from home the women returned with their earned money to invest in their families and their futures.

 

Metrics

Before   After
# People accessing clean water   0   7,200
# Functioning wells (maintained by community)   0   15
% households using pit latrines and adopting healthy hygiene   0%   29%

 

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Don WantzERRWASH-12: Emergency clean water
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ERRWASH-13: Emergency clean water

Image: Women at risk traveling to and using traditional wells for water that is not safe to drink.

 

What

Project Title: Water Supply Emergency Response to flood-affected people in conflict-prone Dasenech & Nyangatom woredas, South Omo zone

The purpose of the IRC-13 project was to provide emergency relief of sustainable clean water and facilitate disease prevention for 6,500 people living in 11 kebeles1 in the Dasenech woreda2 in South Omo Zone, Ethiopia.

 

Who

The beneficiaries of the WASH-CS project were5,000 pastoralists living in 11 Dasenech communities of Ochloch, Doshe, Nakiya, Bandire, Armade, Nanekore, Torogole, Hado, Lokoro, Awoga, and Dalangmore.

 

Why

The lives of Dasenech women and children in this disaster-affected area were precarious. They suffered from malnutrition and high incidence of diarrhea caused by poor hygiene/sanitation and walked 2-3 hours every day to fetch water. Without access to conventional water wells, they were forced to collect water, standing on each others shoulders inside a hand-dug pit, up to 9 meters deep. Since these traditional wells are dug in sandy riverbeds, they often collapse, resulting in serious injury and occasional death.

 

How

The overall objectives of IRC-13 were to provide safe drinking water for 6,500 people by refurnishing 13 non-functioning water wells, empowering the water sanitation committees to maintain their water wells, and encouraging the community to adopt safe hygiene and sanitation behavior.

Water scheme refurbishment in the remote Dasenech woreda was very expensive compared to other areas of Ethiopia due to communication and transportation difficulties. Local material is not available and the stone for refurbishment work and access road repair must be trucked in from Turmi, 80 km away. Whenever possible we hired and trained Dasenech workers to help with the well refurbishment.

Previously, little development or emergency interventions had been invested in Dasenech woreda. The community members of Lokoro kebele were so excited that someone was willing to help them that the majority of the community became early adopters.

As always, using our community learning process we identified early adopters who then became community volunteer health promoters. Participation in our community learning process was more than double our target, and the Lokoro participation exceeded 72%.

 

Impact

Social resonance for this short-term project was amazing. After the Lokoro community, on their own initiative, built free standing shower rooms for males and females, 6 other communities followed suit. Lokoro also voluntarily constructed thirteen community pit latrines, because they were determined to become the first Dasenech village to be defecation-free.

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Don WantzERRWASH-13: Emergency clean water
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ERRWASH-14: Emergency clean water

Image: Crossing the South Omo River at normal water levels.

 

What

Project Title: Water Supply Emergency Response to flood-affected people in conflict-prone Dasenech Woreda, South Omo Zone

The purpose of the IRC-14 project was to provide emergency relief of safe water to 8,000 people living in the Dasenech and Nyangatom woredas1 near or adjacent to the flooding South Omo River in southwest Ethiopia.

 

Who

The Dasenech woreda and the Nyangatom woreda, with populations of 62,572 and 21,426 respectively, straddle the hotly contested South Omo River in extreme SW Ethiopia bordering Kenya.

 

Why

The South Omo River delta provides prime grazing land and crop land for both tribes. The November 2013 South Omo River flood devastated both areas, affecting more than half of the population and forced the migration of both people and livestock. The Dasenech headed northeast into Hamar territory and the Nyangatom migrated south into Kenya in search of water. This migration was the source of increasing conflict, including violence against women.

 

Who

The IRC-14 project was launched in early 2014 to provide emergency access to clean water for 8,000 people living in the Dasenech and Nyangatom woredas by refurbishing damaged water schemes, training beneficiaries to maintain their water schemes, and promoting the adoption of healthy hygiene and sanitation by the communities.

 

How

The project refurbished 16 water schemes, 11 in Nyangatom communities and 5 in Dasenech communities. We established water and sanitation committees in each of the 16 communities, empowering total of 112 people to perform preventative maintenance and repair of their wells. Using our community learning process we taught and encouraged healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior.

We recruited community participation to help with road repair to access the wells, digging canals for pipe, providing local materials of sand and wood, and fencing and demarcating the defecation free zones.

From our previous experience with our community learning process, we expected about 40% of the population over the age of 15 in the 16 communities to participate in the hygiene and sanitation sessions. We trained government Health Extension Workers to assist our social workers and the Ergas (community facilitators) who emerged in their communities as early adopters in the process.

 

Impact

The impact of this project was immediate, easing the mounting tension of the communities with tangible evidence that specific, concrete activities were underway to relieve their stress caused by water scarcity.

With access to clean water and the adoption of healthy hygiene and sanitation behaviors, the risk of malaria and water-borne disease were reduced. Women especially were under less threat of violence as they were able to fetch water from safe areas rather than travel long distances.

And as the pressure lessened for Dasenech and Nyangatom to migrate to find water, this decreased the tension caused by movement in these hotly contested areas.

 

Metrics

Before   After
# of people with local access to clean water   0   8,000
# of function wells   0   16

 

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Don WantzERRWASH-14: Emergency clean water

ERRWASH-15: Emergency clean water

What

Project Title: Water Supply Emergency Response to flood and conflict-affected people in conflict-prone Dasenech and Nyangatom Woredas, South Omo Zone

The IRC-15 project was launched in early 2015 to provide emergency access to clean water for 24,000 people living in the Dasenech and Nyangatom woredas1 by refurbishing damaged water schemes, training beneficiaries to maintain their water schemes, and promoting the adoption of healthy hygiene and sanitation by the communities.

 

Who

The Dasenech and the Nyangatom woredas, with populations of 62,572 and 21,426 respectively, straddle the hotly contested, and often flooding, South Omo River in extreme southwest Ethiopia bordering Kenya.

 

Why

In November 2014 the Omo River flooded for the second time in two months, causing significant damage to existing water points and destroying harvests. UNICEF reported that 56,000 people in Dasenech and 5,870 people living in Nyangatom were affected. In the past the the people could cope with the expected flooding of the Omo River in September and October. But deforestation in the highland areas is now contributing to more severe and frequent flooding. These repeated November floods damaged water supplies and forced too many people and livestock to converge on too few water resources.

 

How

The project objects are to refurbish 18 water schemes and establishor revitalize water and sanitation committees in each of the 17 communities, empowering total of 120 people to perform preventative maintenance and repair of their wells. Using our community learning process we teach and encourage healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior to community members.

 

Impact

GTLI responded to this emergency as a partner of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) by providing access to safe water for 24,296 people and empowering them to self-monitor and self-manage their water points. There are now 92 leaders in these communities, including 42 women, who have been trained to be Community Health Promoters, ensuring that the community has the knowledge to maintain their clean water points in the future. In addition, 1,087 adults, including 552 women, are demonstrating healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior to the people in their communities.

Metrics

Before   After
# of people with local access to clean water   0   24,296
# of functioning wells and roof catchment systems   0   18

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Don WantzERRWASH-15: Emergency clean water