SNV and other implementing partners (Woord and Daad, The Well in Action and Digital opportunity Trust) launched Inspiring Water Entrepreneurship in Tigray (iWET) project in Ethiopia.
Inspiring Water Entrepreneurship in Tigray (iWET) is a five years project that aims to contribute to the improved health and productivity of rural communities in 12 project woredas of Tigray region.
In the region, access to clean water supply at reasonable distance (1.5km radius) remained about 70% unlike the national effort to reach to 100%. According to a baseline survey made in 2015 by Restoring Water Systems Functionality in Tigray pilot project, maintenance service requests took an average of one month before getting proper response. Another baseline conducted in 2017 in six iWET project implementation woredas reveals that out of 240 respondents 50% have indicated that, on average, their water point remained non-functional from two weeks to more than three months per year.
The iWET project is a scaling-up program designed following the successful completion of two pilot projects (Restoring Water Systems Functionality in Tigray by SNV and Manual drilling technology by The Well in Action), which the former contributed in reducing non-functionality of water supply schemes from an average of 18 to 10% within 21 months (April 2015-Dec.2016).
iWET is implemented by four partners. One of the partners, SNV, will be responsible to Increasing Access to and Sustainable Use of Drinking and Production Water Systems component of the project.
To get long-term results in increasing access to and sustainable use of drinking and productive water, speakers during the launching event stressed on shift in ways of working. “There must be change. Change in system, in working together and change in the mind set of the society. Sustainable change happens when people assume responsibility for themselves and others” Jan Lock, Director, Woord and Daad said.
In the region, post-construction support service for water supply and irrigation systems in general and maintenance and spare parts supply in particular has long been given for free or at subsidy. This problem combined with the limited number of technicians at government water offices deprived the community from accessing safe drinking water at reasonable distance.
“The partnership for iWET project is particularly different from other partnerships for reasons, such as, fully integrated cluster based implementation approach led by one cluster coordinator per cluster, engagement of multiple sectors and giving due emphasis for innovation and best practice adaptations” Mesfin Tadesse, Deputy Country Director, SNV Ethiopia. This unique nature of the project is expected to transform the post-construction support and other WASH services through creating commercially viable maintenance and spare part supply services for water, irrigation and bio-gas businesses.
Meseret Gebremariam, Director, Charities and Societies, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in his closing remark said “access to water is one of the key agendas in our country. Focusing in this key issue is very important. We all have a responsibility to sustain access to water and make a lasting difference in the lives of the poor”.
In the course of five years, SNV will support the construction of new drinking water supply systems in schools and health centres and maintenance of non-functional drinking and productive water systems; facilitate the establishment, enhancement and linkage of the capacity of Private Local Service Providers (PLSPs) to microfinance institutions and beneficiaries; build financial and scheme management skills of WASHCOs; and support the public sector in performance monitoring and strengthening PLSP in water quality surveillance and testing capacity.
Moreover, SNV will play a key role in establishing 12 commercially viable Private local service providers (PLSPs), build the capacity of 1200 WASHCos, 48 woreda water office staff and 240 health extension workers, reduce downtime of water schemes from 50 days to a maximum of 3 days, benefit 62 elementary schools and 24 health centres from improved and/or newly constructed water supply systems. In total at least 800,000 rural people in the 12 woredas will benefited from the project.
iWET project is financed by AFAS foundation through Woord and Daad (project lead), while SNV Ethiopia (leading the implementation), The Well in Action (TWA), Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Tigray region Bureau of Water resources, Bureau of Health, Bureau of Small and Micro enterprises, Bureau of Youth and Sports affairs, Bureau of Education implement the project.