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ERRWASH-ECHO15: Emergency clean water


Project Title: WASH Emergency Response to Drought and Conflict Affected People in Hamer Woreda, South Omo Zone

The ECHO15 project had two primary goals: to improve access to and use of clean water for Hamer communities affected by conflict and drought, and to reduce water borne disease in those communities. The project serves over 26,000 people, members of two tribes living in 10 kebeles1 in Hamer Woreda2.


The ECHO15 project benefits 26,226 (12,387 males and 13,839 females) emergency-affected people living in Hamer Woreda, members of two tribes: the Hamer and the Erbore.  Hamer communities include: Minogelti, Angude, Kola Keja, Dembayte, Mirsha Kuluma, Besheda, and Gembala; and Erbore kebeles include Zegerma, Gondaroba, and Murale.


The erratic spring 2015 rainy season turned out to be short and the area plunged into an emergency drought situation. The area had poor water coverage to start with, and overuse and lack of maintenance put more existing wells out of commission. Armed conflict between the Hamer tribe and government security forces prevented maintenance on existing wells by government technicians and the communities did not have the tools or skills to fix the damaged wells.


This short-term, emergency project focused on providing access to clean water, improving environmental and personal sanitation and hygiene, and facilitating the ability of the communities to self-monitor and self-manage their water points. To improve access to clean water, we refurbished 22 non-functioning and damaged water wells and one roof catchment system. Twenty-two Water User Associations (WUA) were established, one per water well, (76 males, 47 females, totaling 123 people) as per the new government regulations. The WUA members received working tools and safety supplies and were trained to perform preventative maintenance and monitor the defecation free zone surrounding their water well.

Community-based Learning in Action (CBLA) activities designed to motivate traditional adults to transition to healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior was facilitated by sixteen Community Health Promoters (7 females) and GTLI Social Workers. Due to the active participation by emergent leaders in each of the communities, better than anticipated results were achieved. All of the target communities developed their own Community Action Plan, detailing how they plan to continue to encourage wide-spread adoption of healthy behaviors.


In five months, despite of the difficulties caused by ongoing drought and continuing conflict, more than 26,000 people gained improved access to safe water by the rehabilitation of 23 water schemes (22 wells and 1 roof catchment system). In addition, these communities are now positioned to be able to maintain their water wells. Equally important, 2,140 females over 15 years of age are now able to fetch water close to home which significantly reduces their exposure to violent attack.

Forty per cent (40%) of the community transitioned to healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior, which will decrease the incidents of diarrhea, which in turn improves their ability to combat malnutrition.


Before   After
# People gaining improved access to clean water   0   26,226
# Functioning water schemes (maintained by community)   0   23
% households transitioning to pit latrine usage and healthy hygiene behaviors   0%  40% (571 of 1426)
# of trained water committee members (responsible for maintaining wells) 0 123 (47 females)


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Colin MartindaleERRWASH-ECHO15: Emergency clean water