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Before yesterdayIRC Sanitation

Strengthening WASH businesses in Ethiopia - Intellectual property rights

May 11th 2021 at 14:27
By: tsegaye

Some business owners and government officials have doubts regarding whether current intellectual property rights are adequately protected or enforced once granted.

The USAID Transform WASH team interviewed more than twenty key informants, business owners and government officials, in Ethiopia and the East Africa region to identify the main challenges facing WASH market development in Ethiopia. Based on the findings of this study, this is the third of a series of eight articles that explore the primary challenges that businesses face introducing or expanding their range of WASH products and services in the country. We will also highlight a set of recommended regulatory and policy actions to overcome these challenges. This post covers challenges related to protection of intellectual property rights, a significant area of concern among the key informants. 

According to the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, only about seven percent of Ethiopians have access to basic sanitation services, and more than one-fifth of the population practices open defecation (JMP, 2019). Achieving universal, sustainable access to basic WASH services in Ethiopia will require expanded involvement and development of the country’s private sector. The Government of Ethiopia recognizes the importance of the private sector at all levels  and leads a country-wide effort to strengthen businesses that offer WASH products and services. The Ministry of Health recently updated its market-based sanitation strategy, which aims to generate demand and expand access to supply of basic sanitation and related products.

To learn more, follow this link to the Learning Note.

Intellectual property (IP) rights are granted to persons or companies for creating a unique design, invention, process, or work of art or music. IP rights are awarded through a legal process and generally give the owner exclusive rights to use their creation for a specified period of time. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of legal mechanisms that codify IP rights.

If business owners do not earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent, they will feel unprotected, discouraged and may even decline to work in the business. Putting in place robust intellectual property rights fosters an environment in which innovation and productivity can flourish. Therefore, intellectual property rights are fundamental to business investment and growth. According to many stakeholders in Ethiopia, intellectual property regulations needs reconsideration to ensure adequate protections for inventors and businesses. Foreign investors feel the annual intellectual property right renewal process as a risk. In joint ventures the local partner is also obtaining the patent right, some foreign business owners are questionable that it will risk their intellectual property protection. There is also uncertainty about the adequate protection or enforcement of intellectual property rights once granted.

 Ethiopia's intellectual property rights and protection

IP rights for industrial designs enable companies to earn recognition and/or benefit financially from their inventions or creations. The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office registers intellectual property protections under the Patent Act. (Proclamation Concerning Inventions, Minor Inventions, Industrial Design No. 123/1995).

Two types of IP protection are most common with respect to WASH products:

  • Patent of Invention: This patent applies to the first registration of a piece of intellectual property invented in Ethiopia or for IP that is registered in Ethiopia within 12 months from successful first registration in another country. A patent of invention is granted an initial period of protection of 15 years and can be extended for another five years.
  • Patent of Introduction: This is used for protected inventions from abroad that will be introduced to Ethiopia. A patent of introduction is valid for a maximum of 10 years. However, patent owners must file to extend this protection every year - after the third year - and pay relevant maintenance fees. For some patent owners, the annual renewal process may be perceived as a risk and threat to their IP protection. For example, in the United States, depending on the patent, protection is granted for 14 to 20 years (with periodic fees) (STOPfakes.gov, 2016).

Most locally registered businesses interviewed for this study found the application process for patents to be relatively easy and straightforward. The application process requires a certificate of incorporation, suggesting it is advantageous to be a locally registered business or joint venture (a foreign business with a local counterpart).

For a joint venture, the local partner also acquires patent rights. Some patent owners have said the risks of this increase to their IP protection.

There also were concerns raised by respondents regarding whether current IP rights are adequately protected or enforced once granted. Businesses that have invested extensively in design innovations and their “brand” need to be able to protect those designs and brand names and will continue to rely upon patents and royalty payments to maintain their ability to operate competitively in the market.

Use of patents in licensed production

Licensed production is the authorized production (in Ethiopia) of a product using technology developed elsewhere. This involves obtaining permission from a company (licensor) to manufacture and sell its products. The company in Ethiopia that obtains these rights (the licensee) usually agrees to pay royalty fees to the owner or licensor (Haile, 2018).

For example, a plastics manufacturer established licensed manufacturing and distribution contracts with local manufacturers in the East Africa region, including in Kenya and Tanzania. IP rights (patent protection) played a crucial role by protecting the licensor’s technology, and they also gave the licensee (local manufacturer) a market advantage.

In Ethiopia, the same company experienced challenges licensing a local manufacturing company for production of their sanitation product. If a licensor does not have a valid Ethiopian manufacturing license, Ethiopian law does not permit the licensor to import and own a mold. Injection molds are the main capital investment required to start manufacturing plastic products. Therefore, a manufacturing licensee would purchase and import the mold and would then fully own the intellectual property. Such a transaction would be permanent; in effect, it would not allow the licensor subsequently to change the local manufacturer by giving the mold to a new licensee, if they felt that this was required. This limits flexibility among participants of the market and generally leads to increased costs of doing business, which are passed on to the consumer.

These licensing challenges could be avoided if an enterprise could obtain an Ethiopian manufacturing license. Other options include establishing a joint venture with a local manufacturing company, possibly with specific contractual arrangements between the licensor and licensee, to mitigate the risks discussed above. However, the financial and administrative hurdles associated with these approaches may be perceived as deterrents by potential investors, adding to the risk factors that inhibit companies from exploring local manufacturing of new WASH products in Ethiopia.


Stronger IP protection, as well as longer protection periods, could help encourage certain investors to introduce and/or invent new WASH products and services in Ethiopia. This type of reform also would encourage local manufacturing of essential WASH products.  USAID Transform WASH recommends:

  •  A review of trademark and patent protection systems and implementation of any needed reforms to ensure they are competitive both regionally and globally. Reforms might include issuing multi-year protections, ensuring joint-venture partners can retain certain IP protections, lengthening overall protection periods, and adequately enforcing current laws.
  • A review (and reform, if needed) of importation policies for manufacturing equipment to simplify licensed production of WASH products in Ethiopia.

By 2025 we should be at zero

May 3rd 2021 at 16:13

The First Lady of Burkina Faso urges the number of health care facilities in sub-Sahara Africa without effective drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services to be zero by 2025.

Madame Sika Kabore

On 26 April, the First Lady of Burkina Faso, Adjoavi Sika Kaboré, participated in the Africa Regional Leaders Summit on WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in health care facilities. She was accompanied by the Burkinabe Minister of Health, Charlemagne Ouédraogo. Together they demonstrated the importance of this issue and their strong commitment and leadership driving WASH in health care facilities.

In her address, she called for urgent action, not only to address the severe lack of WASH in health care facilities in response to the global pandemic, but to correct the massive challenges faced by the health community and the general population daily. Globally, half of health care facilities do not have basic drinking water supply services. Two out of three health care facilities lack basic sanitation services. The First Lady added that ‘there is no doubt that the health and well-being of health workers, patients and many other users of health care facilities are seriously endangered.’

Burkina Faso has mounted a response to this immense challenge. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water and Sanitation have adopted a national strategy which addresses access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in health care facilities. Progress has been made. But, despite the commitment and support of development partners, challenges persist.

The First Lady called on leaders to be courageous and ‘make strong and systemic contributions to the problems of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene’. In her call she referred to her husband’s - President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian KaborĂ© - 2015 motto, "zero water chores and a healthy living environment for all!" which reflects a firm commitment to the complete and definitive eradication of water, sanitation, and hygiene problems at all levels.

Zero health care facilities without effective drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services systems in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 is an achievable vision requiring a joint effort at sub-regional, regional, and global community level.

Let's follow First Lady KaborĂ©'s lead and do our part in helping get to zero. Whether you are a government official, member of civil society, work in the private sector, an academic, or donor - speak up, make a commitment, and take action and let’s make sure policies, regulations and funding match the ambition.


Read the translated speech in English below

The full address in French can be found underneath

Speech by Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso | Ouagadougou, 23 April 2021


Honourable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear participants,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to WHO, UNICEF and all the organisers for the initiative of this Summit, and the honour they do me to allow me to deliver this address in order to share my analysis on the major issues around water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities in Africa.

I would like to take this opportunity to salute the relevance, timeliness and urgency of the issue of improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene in health care centres in light of achieving universal health coverage.

Honourable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The situation in sub-Saharan Africa is worrying given reports which reveal that half of health facilities do not have basic drinking water supply services. This situation is made worse by the fact that two thirds of health facilities do not have basic sanitation services.

There is no doubt that the health and well-being of health workers, patients and many other users of health facilities are seriously endangered.

My country, Burkina Faso, is also faced with this reality. How can one respect basic hygiene rules in health centres without drinking water, without decent toilets, without hand hygiene facilities at the points of delivery of care?

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us, of the urgency to act. We are not immune to possible epidemics or pandemics whose consequences could further amplify.

We must act urgently, not only in response to the dread the Corona virus is causing around the world, but also to correct the massive consequences of the lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene in our health care facilities.

Influenza, acute gastroenteritis, food poisoning, skin and eye infections, intestinal parasitoses, all these pathologies have always been spread by poor hygiene, seriously limiting all our other efforts aimed at continuously increasing the performance of our health systems to ensure effective universal health coverage.

Honourable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

We must act urgently to establish efficient and reliable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services in our health care facilities.

In Burkina Faso, we make this challenge our own, to ensure that each health care facility has the WASH infrastructure and equipment in place and is functional allowing essential and quality health care services.

To do this, and despite the modest resources, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry in charge of Water and Sanitation have invested in the promotion of health care facility hygiene through a National Strategy, taking into account access to water and sanitation and hygiene.

Thanks to this commitment and the support of partners, several projects have been carried out and progress has been noted; challenges persist, however.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Beyond the worrying situation in health care facilities, the lack of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in households is also crucial. According to the WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), in 2019, 76% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa could not wash their hands due to lack of running water and soap. This represents more than 840 million people whose health is at risk.

We cannot hide the immensity of this challenge and we cannot hide our responsibility as leaders in our communities.

Although a priority, a response restricted to only health care facilities would be like planting a few trees to restore a forest. We must have the courage to act and make our strong and systemic contributions to the problems of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa.

Honourable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In its march towards universal health coverage, my country, Burkina Faso, deeply identifies with the issues related to access to water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities.

And that is why my husband, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, has made a strong commitment since 2015: "Zero water chores and a healthy living environment for all!". This commitment is the translation of his deep concern about to the daily tragedies of the majority of our population. It reflects his firm commitment to the complete and definitive eradication of water, sanitation and hygiene problems at all levels.

Zero health care facilities without effective drinking water, sanitation and hygiene systems in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 at the latest, this is the vision that I would like to share with you at this summit. But in addition, I would like to engage us all here jointly, to face the whole problem and resolutely aim for zero water chores and a healthy living environment for all and everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 at the latest: in households, and wherever our populations need it to live and thrive.

I base my conviction on a joint effort at the sub-regional, regional and global community level to achieve these objectives. The entire global health community, taking its responsibility for health prevention, must have the courage to tackle the painful symptoms of poverty, which are the deprivation of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in households.

For my part, I can assure you of my unwavering commitment to work actively, with the support of all international institutions, of all leaders concerned with ensuring fundamental human rights, so that all the commitments made by Burkina Faso Faso and all the declarations in favour of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, are translated into concrete actions and changes for the benefit of the populations of sub-Saharan Africa.

Let’s all be committed to ensure drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone and everywhere by 2030 at the latest!

Thank you !


Original speech in French

Discours de Motivation du Burkina Faso | Prononcée par Madame Sika Kabore, PremiÚre Dame du Burkina Faso  | Ouagadougou, le 23 avril 2021

Distinguées personnalités,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Chers participants,

Je tiens tout d'abord à exprimer ma sincÚre gratitude à l'OMS, à l'UNICEF et à tous les organisateurs pour l'initiative de ce Sommet, et l'honneur qu'ils me font de me permettre de prononcer cette allocution afin de partager mon analyse sur la question majeure de l'eau, de l'assainissement et de l'hygiÚne dans les établissements de santé en Afrique.

Je voudrais saisir cette excellente opportunité pour saluer la pertinence, l'actualité et l'urgence de la problématique de l'amélioration de l'accÚs à l'eau, à l'assainissement et à l'hygiÚne dans les établissements de santé en vue de l'instauration de la couverture sanitaire universelle.

Honorables invités,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

La situation en Afrique subsaharienne est préoccupante au regard des rapports qui révÚlent que la moitié des établissements de santé ne disposent pas de services élémentaires d'approvisionnement en eau potable. Cette situation est aggravée par le fait que deux tiers des établissements de santé ne disposent pas de services élémentaires d'assainissement.

Il n'y a pas de doute que la santĂ© et le bien-ĂȘtre des agents de santĂ©, des malades et de nombreux autres usagers des Ă©tablissements de santĂ© sont sĂ©rieusement mis en danger.

Mon pays, le Burkina Faso, est également confronté à cette réalité. Comment respecter les rÚgles d'hygiÚne élémentaires dans un établissement de santé sans eau potable, sans toilettes décentes, sans installation d'hygiÚne des mains aux points de prestation des soins ?

La pandémie de la COVID-19 nous rappelle, si besoin en était encore, l'urgence d'agir car nous ne sommes pas à l'abri d'éventuelles épidémies ou pandémies dont les conséquences pourraient encore s'amplifier.

Nous devons agir en urgence, non seulement en réponse à l'effroi que provoque le Coronavirus dans le monde, mais aussi pour corriger les conséquences massives du défaut d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiÚne dans nos établissements de santé.

La grippe, les gastro-entérites aiguës, les intoxications alimentaires, les infections cutanées et oculaires, les parasitoses digestives, toutes ces pathologies se propagent depuis toujours par le défaut d'hygiÚne, limitant sérieusement tous nos autres efforts visant à accroitre continuellement les performances de nos systÚmes de santé en vue de garantir une couverture sanitaire universelle effective.

Honorables invités,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

Nous devons agir en urgence pour instaurer des systĂšmes d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiĂšne efficaces et fiables dans nos Ă©tablissements sanitaires.

Au Burkina Faso, nous faisons nÎtre, ce challenge, de faire en sorte que chaque établissement de soins de santé dispose d'infrastructures et d'équipements en matiÚre d'eau, d'assainissement et d'hygiÚne en état de fonctionnement, permettant la mise en place de services de santé essentiels et de qualité.

Pour ce faire, et malgré les modestes ressources, le MinistÚre en charge de la santé et celui en charge de l'eau et de l'assainissement se sont investis dans la promotion de l'hygiÚne hospitaliÚre à travers une stratégie nationale prenant en compte aussi bien l'accÚs à l'eau et l'assainissement que l'hygiÚne des soins.

Fort de cet engagement et l'accompagnement des partenaires, plusieurs chantiers ont été réalisés et des améliorations ont été constatées ; des défis persistent cependant.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Au-delà de la situation préoccupante dans les formations sanitaires, le défaut d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiÚne dans les ménages est également crucial. D'aprÚs le programme commun OMS/UNICEF de suivi (JMP), en 2019, 76% de la population d'Afrique subsaharienne ne pouvait se laver les mains par manque d'eau courante et de savon. Cela représente plus de 840 millions de personnes dont la santé est mise en péril.

Nous ne pouvons pas occulter l'immensité de ce défi et nous ne pouvons pas occulter notre responsabilité en tant que leaders dans nos communautés.

Bien que prioritaire, une rĂ©ponse restreinte aux Ă©tablissements de santĂ© s'apparenterait Ă  planter quelques arbres pour restaurer une forĂȘt. Nous devons avoir le courage d'agir et d'apporter nos contributions fortes et systĂ©miques aux problĂšmes d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiĂšne en Afrique subsaharienne.

Honorables invités,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

Dans sa marche vers la couverture sanitaire universelle, mon pays, le Burkina Faso, cerne profondément les enjeux liés à l'accÚs à l'eau, à l'assainissement et à l'hygiÚne dans les établissements de santé.

Et c'est pour cela que mon Ă©poux, le PrĂ©sident du Faso, Son Excellence Monsieur Roch Marc Christian KABORÉ, a pris depuis 2015, un engagement fort : « ZĂ©ro corvĂ©e d'eau et un cadre de vie sain pour tous ! ». Cet engagement est la traduction de sa profonde prĂ©occupation face aux drames quotidiens de la majoritĂ© de notre population. Il traduit sa ferme volontĂ© d'Ă©radication complĂšte et dĂ©finitive des problĂšmes d'eau, d'assainissement et d'hygiĂšne Ă  tous les niveaux.

ZĂ©ro Ă©tablissement de santĂ© sans systĂšmes efficaces d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiĂšne en Afrique subsaharienne au plus tard en 2025, c'est la vision que je voudrais partager avec vous Ă  ce sommet. Mais en plus, je voudrais nous engager tous ici conjointement, Ă  affronter l'ensemble du problĂšme et viser rĂ©solument ZĂ©ro corvĂ©e d'eau et un cadre de vie sain pour tous et partout en Afrique subsaharienne au plus tard en 2030 : dans les mĂ©nages, et partout oĂč nos populations en ont besoin pour vivre et s'Ă©panouir.

Je fonde ma conviction sur une conjugaison des efforts à l'échelle communautaire sous régionale, régionale et mondiale pour réaliser ces objectifs. L'ensemble de la communauté mondiale de la santé, en prenant sa responsabilité de prévention sanitaire, doit avoir le courage de s'attaquer aux douloureux symptÎmes de la pauvreté que sont la privation d'eau potable, d'assainissement et d'hygiÚne dans les ménages.

Pour ma part, je puis vous assurer de mon engagement indĂ©fectible Ă  Ɠuvrer activement, avec l'appui de toutes les institutions internationales, de tous les leaders soucieux du respect des droits fondamentaux de la personne humaine, afin que tous les engagements pris par le Burkina Faso et toutes les dĂ©clarations en faveur de l'eau potable, de l'assainissement et de l'hygiĂšne, se traduisent en actes et changements concrets au profit des populations d'Afrique subsaharienne.

Toutes et tous engagés pour l'eau potable, l'assainissement et l'hygiÚne pour tous et partout au plus tard en 2030 !

Je vous remercie !


Rural sanitation project KĂšlĂš TchinĂš in Burkina Faso

March 30th 2021 at 11:56

KĂšlĂš TchinĂš is a project that aims to accelerate universal and sustainable access to sanitation in ten rural communes in the central west region of Burkina Faso.

steering committee of the project

On Tuesday 23 March 2021 in Koudougou, the steering committee held a workshop on the project to accelerate universal and sustainable access to sanitation (KÚlÚ TchinÚ) in ten rural communes of the central west region of Burkina Faso. Chaired by the governor of the central west region, this meeting aims to facilitate consultation between the stakeholders on the implementation of the project. 

Water is life, is always being advocated. However, one of the major development challenges in Burkina, and particularly in the central west, is adequate access to drinking water and sanitation services. Indeed, national statistics show a sanitation access rate of 19.7% in 2020 and 16.9% in the central west region.

This shows that more than Ÿ of the population does not have access to adequate sanitation. With this in mind, a consortium of NGOs composed of Eau Vive Internationale, WHH, IRC and SOS Sahel was formed to join forces with the local authorities to carry out a joint project called KĂšlĂš TchinĂš in the LĂ©lĂ© language, which means "the hygiene of the concession".

IrĂšne Coulibaly

The objective of the project to accelerate universal and sustainable access to sanitation in ten rural communes in the central west region of Burkina Faso is to take stock of the project's implementation since its inception. And to discuss the main difficulties encountered and identify solutions to improve the project's implementation and to plan the priority activities for the following year. It is financed by the European Union to the tune of one million five hundred thousand euros.

The opening ceremony was attended by regional and communal authorities, including the governor, who was also the chairperson of the activity, IrĂšne Coulibaly; the secretary general of the region; the president of the regional council; the high commissioners and the various mayors of the beneficiary communes.

Tambi Pascal Kaboré, president of AMBF

In his speech, the president of the regional AMBF, Tambi Pascal Kaboré, said that this workshop is the culmination of collective and considerable work undertaken since 2019. Hence his wish to see the involvement of all for a successful project.

Nearly 170,000 people will be directly affected by the project

According to Jean Philippe Jarry, country director of the NGO WHH and head of the consortium, this project will contribute to improving access to sanitation services in rural areas in a sustainable manner, taking into account the human rights-based approach. He added that the project will eventually make it possible to build 4,000 latrines and 4,500 cesspools, rehabilitate 500 latrines for households, train and equip 224 local craftsmen (masons), and build the capacities of the populations of 112 villages in good hygiene and sanitation practices.

Jean Philippe Jarry, country director of WHH

According to him, nearly 170,000 people will be directly affected by the project in the long term. Jean Philippe Jarry ended by inviting all the participants to an open approach to better identify the challenges for the success of the project. He said: "I strongly believe that through a synergy of action between the different actors, we can achieve significant results for the well-being of our people."

Large health expenses due to lack of sanitation

The president of the ceremony, IrĂšne Coulibaly, governor of the central west region, before officially launching the proceedings, stressed that a lack of hygiene and sanitation is one of the main causes of the so-called faecal peril diseases, the main cause of death among children and the elderly. She said that the expenses related to the lack of sanitation are estimated at more than 10 billion FCFA per year for health care according to WHO statistics. Hence, according to her, the urgency of eradicating this problem which poses a heavy burden on the well-being of the population as well as its socio-economic development.

The committee at the workshop

She also said that the implementation of the KĂšlĂš TchinĂš project will help achieve the objective of the government's policy through its National Wastewater and Excreta Sanitation Programme, which aims to ensure sustainable management of wastewater and excreta by 2030. While reiterating her commitment to accompany them in the completion of the project, IrĂšne Coulibaly invited the participants to have frank discussions that could remove the blockages and enable them to go back to the field with more determination to implement the remaining activities of the project.

It should be noted that the communes concerned by the KĂšlĂš TchinĂš project are Niabouri, Silly, To, Poa, Ramongo, Sabou, Sourgou, TĂ©nado, Bougnounou and Kassou.

Assainissement : Dix communes rurales du Centre-Ouest bénéficient

March 30th 2021 at 11:03

KÚlÚ TchinÚ est un projet visant à accélérer l'accÚs universel et durable à l'assainissement dans dix communes rurales de la région du Centre-Ouest du Burkina Faso.

Fonctionnaires pendant la réunion

Le mardi 23 mars 2021 Ă  Koudougou, s’est tenu l’atelier du comitĂ© de pilotage du projet d’accĂ©lĂ©ration de l’accĂšs universel et durable Ă  l’assainissement (KĂšlĂš TchinĂš) dans dix communes rurales du Centre-Ouest au Burkina Faso. PlacĂ©e sous la prĂ©sidence du gouverneur de la rĂ©gion du Centre-Ouest, cette rencontre vise Ă  faciliter la concertation entre les parties prenantes sur l’exĂ©cution du projet.

L’eau c’est la vie, a-t-on toujours prĂŽnĂ©. Cependant, l’un des enjeux majeurs de dĂ©veloppement au Burkina, et particuliĂšrement dans le Centre-Ouest, c’est l’accĂšs adĂ©quat aux services d’eau potable et d’assainissement. En effet, les statistiques nationales prĂ©sentent un taux d’accĂšs Ă  l’assainissement de 19,7% en 2020 et 16,9% d’accĂšs pour la rĂ©gion du Centre-Ouest.

Cela dĂ©montre que plus de Ÿ de la population n’a pas accĂšs Ă  un assainissement adĂ©quat. C’est fort de ce constat, qu’un consortium d’ONG composĂ© de l’ONG Eau Vive Internationale, WHH, IRC et SOS Sahel a Ă©tĂ© suscitĂ© pour unir ses forces en collaboration avec les autoritĂ©s locales afin porter un projet commun dĂ©nommĂ© projet KĂšlĂš TchinĂš en langue lĂ©lĂ© qui veut dire « l’hygiĂšne de la concession ».

IrĂšne Coulibaly

Le projet d’accĂ©lĂ©ration de l’accĂšs universel et durable Ă  l’assainissement dans dix communes rurales du Centre-Ouest au Burkina Faso a pour objectif de faire le bilan de l’exĂ©cution du projet depuis son dĂ©marrage ; Ă©changer sur les principales difficultĂ©s rencontrĂ©es et identifier des solutions pour amĂ©liorer la mise en Ɠuvre du projet ; planifier les activitĂ©s prioritaires de l’annĂ©e suivante du projet. Il est financĂ© par l’Union EuropĂ©enne Ă  hauteur d’un million cinq cent mille euros.

Notons que la cĂ©rĂ©monie d’ouverture a connu la prĂ©sence des autoritĂ©s rĂ©gionales et communales, dont entre autres, le gouverneur par ailleurs prĂ©sidente de l’activitĂ©, IrĂšne Coulibaly ; du secrĂ©taire gĂ©nĂ©ral de la rĂ©gion ; du prĂ©sident du Conseil rĂ©gional ; des hauts-commissaires ainsi que les diffĂ©rents maires des communes bĂ©nĂ©ficiaires.

Tambi Pascal Kaboré, président AMBF

Dans son intervention, le prĂ©sident de l’AMBF rĂ©gional, Tambi Pascal KaborĂ©, tout en souhaitant la bienvenue aux participants Ă  cette session du comitĂ© de pilotage du projet KĂšlĂš TchinĂš, il prĂ©cise que sa tenue constitue l’aboutissement d’un travail collectif et considĂ©rable entrepris depuis 2019 pour 42 mois. D’oĂč son souhait de voir une implication de tous pour une rĂ©ussite totale de l’activitĂ©.

PrÚs de 170 000 personnes seront impactées directement par le projet

Selon Jean Philippe Jarry, directeur pays de l’ONG WHH et responsable du consortium, le prĂ©sent projet pourra contribuer Ă  amĂ©liorer durablement l’accĂšs aux services d’assainissement en milieu rural en tenant compte de l’approche fondĂ©e sur les droits humains. Il ajoute que ledit projet permettra Ă  terme de rĂ©aliser entre autres 4000 latrines et 4500 puisards et de rĂ©habiliter 500 latrines au profit des mĂ©nages, de former et Ă©quiper 224 artisans locaux (maçons), de renforcer les capacitĂ©s des populations des 112 villages sur les bonnes pratiques d’hygiĂšne et d’assainissement.

Jean Philippe Jarry, directeur pays de l’ONG WHH

A l’entendre, ce sont prĂšs de 170 000 personnes qui seront impactĂ©es directement par le projet Ă  terme. Jean Philippe Jarry a terminĂ© en invitant l’ensemble des participants Ă  une ouverture afin de mieux cerner les dĂ©fis pour la rĂ©ussite du projet. Car, dit-il : « Je crois fortement qu’à travers une synergie d’action entre les diffĂ©rents acteurs, nous pouvons atteindre des rĂ©sultats notables pour le bien-ĂȘtre de nos populations. »

De grosses dĂ©penses en santĂ© dues au manque d’assainissement

La prĂ©sidente de la cĂ©rĂ©monie, IrĂšne Coulibaly, gouverneur de la rĂ©gion du Centre-Ouest, avant de lancer officiellement les travaux, elle a soulignĂ© que le manque d’hygiĂšne et d’assainissement est l’une des principales causes des maladies dites du pĂ©ril fĂ©cal, principale cause de dĂ©cĂšs chez les enfants et les personnes ĂągĂ©es. Elle prĂ©cise que les dĂ©penses liĂ©es au manque d’assainissement sont estimĂ©es Ă  plus de 10 milliards de FCFA par an pour les soins en santĂ© selon les statistiques de l’OMS. D’oĂč, selon elle, l’urgence d’éradiquer ce phĂ©nomĂšne qui hypothĂšque le bien-ĂȘtre des populations ainsi que son dĂ©veloppement socio-Ă©conomique.

Comité de pilotage du projet

Aussi, elle prĂ©cise que la mise en Ɠuvre du projet KĂšlĂš TchinĂš permettra d’atteindre l’objectif de la politique gouvernementale Ă  travers son Programme national d’assainissement des eaux usĂ©es et excrĂ©ta (PN-AEUE) qui vise Ă  assurer un assainissement durable des eaux usĂ©es et excreta d’ici 2030. Tout en rĂ©itĂ©rant son engagement Ă  les accompagner pour l’aboutissement du projet, IrĂšne Coulibaly a invitĂ© les participants Ă  des Ă©changes francs qui puissent lever les zones de blocage et qui pourront leur permettre de repartir plus dĂ©terminĂ©s sur le terrain pour la mise en Ɠuvre des activitĂ©s restantes du projet.

Il faut noter que les communes concernées par le projet KÚlÚ TchinÚ sont Niabouri, Silly, To, Poa, Ramongo, Sabou, Sourgou, Ténado, Bougnounou et Kassou.

Market-based sanitation in action

March 16th 2021 at 13:23
By: tsegaye

USAID Transform WASH teams up with Government of Ethiopia partners to visit Wore Illu Woreda.

The team visited different sanitation market centers

During a field visit in October 2020, a group from USAID Transform WASH (T/WASH), the Federal Ministry of Health’s Hygiene and Environmental Health Directorate, and the Amhara Region Health Bureau’s Environmental Health Officer gathered to observe T/WASH activities in the Amhara region. This was market-based sanitation in action in the field.

During the visit, we saw toilets built with cement slabs and retrofitted with SATO pans, a self-sealing toilet pan that uses a mechanical and water seal to close off latrines from the external environment. We met the masons who built these toilets, we discussed with sales agents who stimulate the sales of sanitation products, and spoke with families who have benefited from these products. Along with all the successes, we also observed and heard about some challenges from the woreda and community.

Wore Illu Woreda, a local district in the region, has 20 rural and four urban kebeles (subdistricts). The USAID Transform WASH project is operating in 15 kebeles where the required capacity has been built for construction businesses that now offer sanitation products and services. The improved latrine coverage of the woreda is 61%, according to Bekele Tilaye, Wore Illu Woreda’s Hygiene and Sanitation Officer.

Visit to kebeles

For the high-level delegates from national and regional offices, the visit was an opportunity to see and learn more about the implementation of market-based sanitation by the T/WASH project. We observed toilets consisting of a cement slab retrofitted with a SATO pan. These toilets are free from bad smells and flies. Near these toilets was a plastic pot for handwashing filled with water and with soap nearby. The toilets had a corrugated iron roof and door, and the walls were constructed from wood and mud.

In Kebele 09, we talked to several people to learn more about their sanitation experiences. One of them was Habtamu Yimer, a mason. Since October 2019, he has installed 192 concrete slabs constructed with SATO pans. He first constructed his own toilet and then did so for the kebele leaders. Gradually the community heard of his skills and requested him to upgrade their toilets. Mr. Habtamu is always communicating with the Kebele Health Extension Workers and sales agents to follow up on the demand created for improved toilets.

Merima Indris lives in Kebele 09. Last year, as soon as she received information about the SATO pan, she consulted her husband as she wanted one installed in her house. They had been using a toilet with a slab made from wood which was full of flies and smelled terrible. But after Mr. Habtamu built a toilet with a cement slab retrofitted with the SATO pan, their lives improved. Merima showed her two toilet rooms which every family member can use freely. She reported her family’s health has improved.

Beyenech Yimer, a sales agent, visits households to create demand for WASH products and services. She buys SATO pans from Mubarak Ali at a cost price of 180 birr and sells them to households for 200 birr, so she makes a small profit. After informing and persuading households of the benefits of sanitation products, they communicate with a local T/WASH-trained mason who can retrofit a SATO pan into their existing toilet with cement floor. For households that don’t have cement flooring yet, they can cover the extra expense by accessing loans through using a local village saving and loan association (VSLA), if one has been established. VSLAs are an effective demand creation initiative supported by T/WASH, who has established 28 VSLAs in Wore Illu Woreda.

In Segno Gebeya village, a village near Kebele 09, we met with Mubarak Ali, a shop owner and a member of an enterprise selling sanitation products. He sells various kinds of WASH products to sales agents and the community. His sales are improving gradually, and from all available WASH products, the SATO pan is the one he sells the most. He reported selling around 30 SATO pans per month, a significant improvement compared to the initial sales.   

With their improved toilet, Merima Indris and her families are living a better life

Meeting with Wore Illu Woreda District Administration and Woreda WASH Team Members

From the Woreda Health Office, we learned that coordination between their officials and the T/WASH team had led to improvements in market-based sanitation in their woreda. The Woreda Technical Team and the Woreda WASH Steering Committee are regularly monitoring and evaluating the project at both office and field levels. The Kebele WASH Team gets regular support and follow-up from the woreda. There is strong coordination and integration of sectors from the Office of Agriculture of the woreda down to the community. 

So far 1,712 SATO pans, 17 plastic slabs, and 27 SATO stools were installed. 117 plastic handwashing products have been sold. The woreda’s goals for these products have been met fully for plastic slabs and SATO stools. The 1,712 SATO pans are 65% of their goal.

For the construction of latrines, 20 masons have been trained by T/WASH and are providing services. Sales agents are promoting door-to-door with support from HEWs in their community. A total of 13 women sales agents have been trained by T/WASH and are now operating in the area.

In three project kebeles, 28 VSLAs, comprising 332 female members, have been established with the support of T/WASH. The total amount of funds saved by the VSLAs’ members is 92,780 birr.  369 members have taken out loans for the purchase of sanitation products for a total amount of 87,000 birr.

Moving forward in Wore Illu Woreda

Although positive observations were made during the visit such as the strong integration among sector offices and T/WASH which has led to more impactful implementation of the project at the community level, there is also room for some improvements.

In discussing with the woreda, it is recommended that there should be extra effort in promoting products. Scaling up the good achievements in the remaining kebeles should be taken up, particularly improving the number of SATO pans sold. They also want to expand beyond the three focus kebeles.

The SATO pans are valued as they are clean and attractive, but the low height of the toilets is not accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly, and pregnant women, and the toilets with two seats need to have separate doors for privacy.

The woreda still has to work out a provision of finance or support for the destitute who cannot afford improved sanitation products and are not able to contribute to VSLAs to ensure that all have access, and that containment of waste is ensured. The provision of well-maintained public latrines also should be considered to meet total coverage for sanitation.

The Wore Illu Woreda Administration is not content with its performance so far and is planning to work hard on improving market-based sanitation to benefit the community. Inflation of cement and sand prices is a major bottleneck that prevented the woreda from achieving its target in all project kebeles.

This blog was compiled with inputs from Melaku Worku.

About Transform WASH

USAID Transform WASH aims to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes in Ethiopia by increasing market access to and sustained use of a broader spectrum of affordable WASH products and services, with a substantial focus on sanitation.

Transform WASH achieves this by transforming the market for low-cost quality WASH products and services: stimulating demand at the community level, strengthening supply chains, and improving the enabling environment for a vibrant private market.

USAID Transform WASH is a USAID-funded activity implemented by PSI in collaboration with SNV, Plan International, and IRC WASH. The consortium is working closely with government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the One WASH National Program, and regional and sub-regional governments.


Insights and inputs from WASH stakeholders to district WASH master plans

March 15th 2021 at 06:00
By: tsegaye

Different stakeholder groups from four districts gave inputs to the District WASH master plan to attain SDG 6 by 2030.

''In Mille District, water resources are scarce. Women travel long hours searching for water and the quality of the water is very poor. This has been a big challenge for the community, resulting in various water-borne diseases. To change this situation and build a strong WASH system, we are developing and finalising a WASH SDG Master Plan,'' said Mohammed Eshetu, Water Engineer at Mille District Water, Irrigation and Energy Office. I met Mohammed in a workshop conducted in Afar Region aimed at validating and launching the Mille District WASH SDG Master Plan.

Mohammed acknowledged IRC WASH Ethiopia for providing technical and financial support in developing the master plan which will enable the entire community in the district to have access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services by 2030.

Woba Ari district discussing on the final master plan

IRC WASH Ethiopia, with financial support from USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) has been supporting Mille District in the Afar Region and South Ari, Baka Dawla Ari and Woba Ari Districts in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) to develop their district master plans. IRC WASH Ethiopia, through other projects, is also supporting five other districts in both Amhara and Oromia regions.  Three districts in Amhara Region have completed their plans and begun implementation and the two in Oromia Region are in the final stages of development.

In Afar and SNNPR, the four districts are finalising their plans and have all recently conducted individual workshops to validate and launch their master plans. The current status and targets for community and institutional water, sanitation, and hygiene for each district were presented and discussed with a wider audience of WASH stakeholders.

Water service

The four districts valued the basic contents of the master plans and were ready to go into the plans during the validation and launching workshop. They discussed the expected challenges in carrying out the plan and suggested solutions based on their practical experiences. In Mille District, most participants said that since the community is leading a pastoral life, water access for their livestock should be considered and incorporated into the master plan. They said that their nomadic life would be a challenge for building a resilient WASH system, therefore they recommended incorporating a strategy for villagization into the master plan.

Participants discussed the need for a strategy to evaluate the quality of water scheme construction which should be included in the master plan. They said that water schemes are breaking down mostly because of poor construction which is related to design, equipment, and site selection. This is happening because of weak monitoring and evaluation systems established by the Government.

Fluoride in Mille and turbidity in South Ari are two of the water quality challenges mentioned by the participants. Strategies like using historical data and test wells in site selection, and using different filtration methods, different household water treatments, and safe water storage were raised as issues to be addressed by the master plan. Giving due attention to water resource management is also vital to safeguard water supply sources, according to participants. Afforestation of indigenous plants, delineation of buffer zones around the water schemes, and establishing private, local maintenance and spare part supply enterprises are stated as some of the strategies to reduce non-functionality and ensure the sustainability of water services.

Capacity building trainings for technical staff will be helpful to strengthen the quality of water scheme construction and management, including operation and maintenance. Participants claimed that lack of technical skills is a major hurdle in construction supervision and post-construction support. Therefore, they suggest collaboration with the Ethiopian Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to build the capacity of the technical staff.

Participants emphasised the need to consider community contributions in building and maintaining water schemes. Therefore, having a strategy to empower the economic status of the community and households for better income generation and linking households with loan services are important.

Sanitation and hygiene

The district information in the master plan shows that access to sanitation and hygiene is very low in all districts. Much work is required to upgrade the existing situation and get to improved sanitation and hygiene services. It was agreed that a collaborative effort is needed to improve the situation, for instance, in the absence of water, it is not possible to achieve proper sanitation and hygiene.

Awareness creation is a major activity and health extension workers and religious leaders are expected to play a substantial role in this. Assigning kebele level WASH focal persons, providing kebele level WASH plans, and using government networks such as women development armies are proposed mechanisms to improve the communities' awareness about improved hygiene and sanitation.

In pastoralist communities, implementing Community Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene (CLTSH) is a challenge, because of people’s mobility. In this case, villagization may also be a solution. 

Besides awareness creation and behavioural change activities, households are to build improved sanitation and hygiene facilities. Establishing sanitation marketing centres nearby is therefore essential. Participants believe a market-based sanitation approach will encourage people to move up the hygiene and sanitation ladder. 

Institutional WASH

The master plan assessed the existing situation in the target districts and aims to achieve at least 100% basic institutional WASH services for health care facilities and schools. Institutional WASH has been overlooked previously, and there was no coordination among sectors. For instance, in South Ari District none of the schools have basic sanitation services and basic water services is only at 21%. This shows that there are a lot of challenges ahead and coordination is needed for proper implementation of the plan

According to participants’ previous experiences in selecting sites for constructing of healthcare facilities or schools, the availability of water in the area has not been considered. So accessibility to water should be one of the key recommendations when selecting a site. They also said that institutions should collaborate with the district water offices and even support them by allocating budget to connect institutions to the main water supply since this is the task of the water offices.

In schools, students, teachers, and parents could play a significant role in constructing and maintaining water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities so their role and contributions should be incorporated into the master plan. 

Generally, the discussion in the four SWS districts showed the need for coordination of the WASH stakeholders and dedicated implementation of the master plan. The planning teams in each district captured the comments and suggestions from the discussion and pledged to incorporate and finalise the master plan and then hand it over to the district administration. All district administrators have agreed to closely follow up and implement the master plan and the District Council and cabinet will discuss the master plan and endorse it. They will then begin implementation.

Summary progress update 2021 : SDG 6 – water and sanitation for all

March 5th 2021 at 12:34

The world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.


This report provides an update on the status of the 8 targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The overall conclusion is that the world is not on track to achieve SDG 6.

Billions of people worldwide still live without safely managed drinking water and sanitation, especially in rural areas and least developed countries; the current rate of progress need to quadruple to reach the global target of universal access by 2030.

For wastewater treatment and water quality, it is not possible to assess the global situation since country data are missing for large parts of the world, leaving billions of people at risk. 

Water use has remained relatively stable at the global level during the last 10 years, and with 17 per cent of available water resources being withdrawn, the world as a whole is not considered water-stressed. However, this
number hides stark regional differences: in some regions the level of water stress has increased by 35 per cent during the last two decades, and many countries withdraw all their renewable water resources or even rely on nonrenewable resources that will eventually run dry.

When it comes to integrated water resources management (IWRM), the current rate of progress needs to double to meet the global targets, and only two SDG regions are on track to have all their transboundary water bodies
covered by operational cooperation agreements.

One fifth of the world's river basins are experiencing rapid changes in the area covered by surface waters, indicative of flooding and drought events, which are associated with climate change.

Although official development assistance (ODA) commitments to the water sector increased slightly in recent years, this is mainly due to an increase in concessional lending, and the gap between actual disbursements and future commitments is growing.

Participatory procedures are increasingly recognized in national policies and laws whereas their implementation have been moderate. 

WASH well positioned in Bangladesh's new Five Year Plan

February 11th 2021 at 15:07

Water resources management, equitable access and hygiene receive due attention.

Cover of Bangladesh's Eighth Five Year Plan (July2020 - June2025)

The Government of Bangladesh has recently published its 8th Five Year Plan positioning water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as a cross-cutting issue of different development initiatives. The plan, which was developed by the Planning Commission, was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 29th December last year. It has become available online from 3rd of February.

The Five Year Plan (July 2020-June 2025) is a key document that illustrates the strategy and action plan of the country to achieve its development goals. It carries more importance as it illustrates the plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. WASH sector players, especially the advocacy leaders, campaigned to the government for better positioning of WASH issues in the development agenda, which has been reflected in the 8th Five Year Plan. The plan prioritises the need to increase storage in the existing water retention bodies [Part 2. Chapter 4: Strategies for Agriculture and Water Resource Management].

Overall the Plan acknowledges the inequalities in WASH access and disproportionate impact on the poor, and the environmental hazards from unsafe disposal of faecal sludge as challenge areas to address. It considers context-specific WASH interventions in hard-to-reach areas and creating an enabling environment for WASH services as preferred strategies [Part 2. Sector 7. Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives].

In the Plan, WASH is one of the key focus areas for the multi-sectoral, multi-agency approach to improved nutrition, especially through handwashing and other hygiene practices. Additionally increasing access to basic facilities such as toilets and sanitary napkins for women and girls in the work place have been considered as a part of the poverty reduction, social protection and inclusion strategy. [Part 2. Sector 9: Housing and Community Amenities and Sector 10: Health, population and Nutrition].

Despite the need for more focus on WASH issues in the fight against COVID-19, the inclusion of WASH in the Plan is expected to provide a positive contribution towards achievement of SDG target 6.

8th Five Year Plan, July 2020 - June 2025 : promoting prosperity and fostering inclusiveness

February 11th 2021 at 15:07

The first steps to bring Bangladesh closer to attaining Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status, major Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, and eliminating extreme poverty.


This 8th Five Year Plan represents the first phase of the country's Perspective Plan 2041 (PP2041), which aims to  bring Bangladesh closer to the goals of attaining Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status, attaining major Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, and eliminating extreme poverty by FY2031. 

In the backdrop of these factors, the 8th Plan centres on six core themes:
  1. Rapid recovery for COVID-19 to restore human health, confidence, employment, income and economic activities;
  2. GDP growth acceleration, employment generation, productivity acceleration and rapid poverty reduction;
  3. A broad-based strategy of inclusiveness with a view to empowering every citizen to participate fully and benefit from the development process and helping the poor and vulnerable with social protection- based income transfers;
  4. A sustainable development pathway that is resilient to disaster and climate change; entails sustainable use of natural resources; and successfully manages the inevitable urbanization transition;
  5. Development and improvement of critical institutions necessary to lead the economy to UMIC status;
  6. Attaining SDG targets and coping up the impact of Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation.

The Plan itself is divided into two main parts:

  1. Macroeconomic perspective: strategic directions and policy framework
  2. Sector development strategies

References to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can be found in Part 2, in the following sections:

  • Chapter 4: Strategies for Agriculture and Water Resource Management
  • Sector 7. Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives
  • Sector 9: Housing and Community Amenities, and
  • Sector 10: Health, population and Nutrition


90% of climate disasters are water related

January 27th 2021 at 17:38
By: Naafs

Building resilience is not a "nice to have"- it is essential, says Ban Ki Moon.

But how can you be resilient, if you don’t have safe drinking water? How can you be resilient to the pandemic without handwashing? Tragically, like COVID, climate impact is felt first, and most severely by the poorest communities that do not have the capacity to prepare for the unpredictable and severe changes. Resilience and dignity start with safe drinking water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

It's time for adaptation

The Netherlands hosted the first ever Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) earlier this week, bringing global leaders (virtually) together to discuss climate adaptation. Climate change forces us to adapt our environments, cultures and systems to changes that are already happening. This focus on adaptation marks a tectonic shift in global thinking that led Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, UK’s lead for COP26 to emphasise “adapting should not be seen as the poor cousin of mitigation”.

"90% of the climate disasters are water related – either too much, too little, or too dirty", states H.E. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management. “We must put water at the centre of adaptation”, said Special Envoy International Water Affairs of the Netherlands, Henk Ovink during the water session, “we need better knowledge, dedicated finance and planning for adaptation”.

In response, sessions included for example the Global Centre for Adaptation launching the knowledge exchange Water Action Track and the Netherlands presenting the visually arresting Cultural mirror on Water. My personal favourites were the waterchange makers with stories of change, ranging from WASH and micro-basin protection in Honduras (by Water For People), panel winner Masungi Georeserve with a youth-led movement in the Philippines, and the public favourite, the Mothers parliament in Bangladesh. This latter involves IRC’s partner DORP and resonates with our upcoming launch of the #VoicesForWater campaign and the Watershed legacy story.

90% of the climate disasters are water related – either too much, too little, or too dirty.

Making a case for water, sanitation and hygiene

As the pandemic has shown us, Water Sanitation and Hygiene [WASH] is the foundation for resilience. But the conundrum is that climate change is not the biggest concern. In low- and middle-income country contexts, the key threats and risks to WASH services - and the water resources upon which those services depend - are related to population and economic growth, urbanisation, industrialisation and the expansion of irrigated agriculture. This uncomfortable truth has to be said or we’ll fail when it comes to solutions.

The good news is that we believe the same skills and resources that will allow governments, service providers and other WASH actors to face climate change, are largely the same ones that are needed now to tackle challenges such as the pandemic and others like sustainability of rural water supplies. Put simply, it’s all about building stronger systems. Building capacity in water and sanitation, attracting the finance needed and ensuring strong performance of WASH services should also be our first steps in being prepared to tackle the threats related to climate change.

Finance was fortunately a key theme at the CAS and heads of state and global leaders committed significant amounts. A whole array of funds have become available such as (acronym warning!): the DFCD, LOCaL, CRPP, and the Climate Bridge Fund. However, as Kulthoum Omari Motsumi from the Africa Adaptation Initiative pointed out, there are barriers in making finance available for local adaptations such as complicated accreditation processes, the challenge to provide a climate rationale (lack of data, analysis and science) and the conditions to provide co-finance. Accessibility to such funds will need to be made simpler.

In 24 hours, the CAS succeeded in covering many other topics including circular economies, nature-based solutions and agriculture. Throughout this, the call for building back better after the pandemic, the need for collaboration and the need to unlock finance was omnipresent. The case that resilience, prosperity and health only come with decent toilets, safe drinking water and good hygiene didn’t make it to the main sessions and in hindsight, indicates that the WASH sector is not yet well positioned and needs to do more to make its case. That was a big disappointment. IRC will work with our partners to do our part to address this.

A cynic would say that this summit was just business as usual. After all, it is not the first time that there were loads of commitments, promises and calls for action. However, we would say that the broad consensus for adaptation, the shift in financing structures, the push for local led solutions and youth leadership, may just make this Summit trigger and drive some systematic change. Or as the brilliant host (and IRC champion) Ikenna Azuike concluded, “a summit is only as good as its legacy”.

A new effort in responding to COVID-19 in Negelle Arsi and Shashamane

January 12th 2021 at 13:29
By: tsegaye

IRC WASH Ethiopia is supporting Shashamane and Negelle Arsi woredas on knowledge management around COVID-19.

In Hawassa town, both Districts discussed future COVID-19 response activities

In partnership with Amref Health Africa under the WASH First COVID-19 Response Project, IRC WASH Ethiopia is supporting Shashamane and Negelle Arsi woredas on knowledge management. The purpose of the project is to coordinate COVID-19 prevention and control interventions at woreda, zone, region and national levels. The project will assist stakeholders to convene meetings and document learnings and plan review and distribution of relevant information and materials to the frontline health workers and communities. 

On December 21, 2020, the project organised a planning meeting with the participation of project beneficiary woredas and towns in Hawassa. The head of Shashamane Town Health Office, Teshome Mohammed, was one of the participants at the meeting. He said the meeting discussed the future response activities and reached consensus on what action to take. Teshome learned that the project will support them on WASH infrastructure, personal protective equipment, and behavioural change communication. He also indicated working in collaboration with the government is effective.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the public took precautionary measures seriously, but overtime carelessness is creeping in. Therefore, this project is an opportunity for the community, according to Erko Bayicha, Negelle Arsi Woreda's Health Office Public Health Emergency Officer.

Samuel Girma is Amref Health Africa's WASH Project Manager. According to Samuel, Amref has supported the government's COVID-19 response. After reviewing their previous activities as a lead consortium member, Amref has planned for this new WASH First COVID-19 response on behalf of WASH SDG program consortium. He said that the aim of the planning workshop was to create synergy among different sectors working on COVID-19 response and to jointly plan for future responses. Samuel also added that IRC WASH Ethiopia will play a great role in documentation and knowledge management activities which could be used as learning for other actors working on the response.

So far, the project conducted a launching and familiarisation workshop, signed an agreement with regional signatories and prepared a 2021 operation plan. With the proposed knowledge management platform, six stakeholder meetings will be held to review the progress and provide support. The progress review will observe the status of agreed actions, feedback on materials, and adjustment of WASH-related content in response to the pandemic. Consequently, communities, health workers, schools and WASH service providers will have a better understanding of mitigation measures against COVID-19. The project will phase out by November 30, 2021.

Two districts (woredas) validate and launch WASH SDG master plans

January 12th 2021 at 13:10
By: tsegaye

Two Ethiopian districts, Shashamane and Negelle Arsi, are developing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) master plans.

Participants of the workshop listening to Lemessa Mekonta, IRC Ethiopia country director

Shashamane and Negelle Arsi woredas' WASH SDG master plans are being developed with the support of IRC WASH under the WASH SDG Programme. As the planning process nears completion, a validation and launching workshop was held in Hawassa Town from December 22 to 25, 2020. Various zonal and woreda WASH actors participated in the workshop.

The workshop discussed the planning process, the plans, the previous planning experience of the woredas, the reliability of the baseline information, how the plan can be endorsed by the Woreda Councils, and the way forward. Participants of the workshop were content with the discussion and ready to work together to successfully implement the WASH SDG master plans.

The master plans are an opportunity to acquire lots of lessons according to Ali Haji, the Shashamane Woreda Water Office Head. The support provided by IRC WASH and its coordinating efforts to get different WASH sectors on the same page was remarkable, and he said that ‘’this is a good example for other NGOs’’. According to their previous experience, the woreda did not have this kind of platform to collaborate with different stakeholders. He also added that to efficiently implement this master plan, the Woreda Administration will coordinate woreda WASH sector offices and non-governmental organisations to achieve WASH Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The master plan is a great input for the woreda’s Health Office and other stakeholders, according to Kedir Tahir, Head of the Negelle Arsi Woreda Health Office. He stated that the plan is a nice reference for WASH activities of the woreda. From the master plan, Kedir has learned a lot about the WASH status of his woreda and believes it will allow them to perform better in the future.

The master plan has charted out the budget needed for each activity. Teshome Herpasa, Negelle Arsi Woreda’s Finance Office Head, said that it is a great opportunity to build the capacity of their woreda on WASH. To get the budget needed to implement the plan they will collaborate with different governmental and non-governmental organisations and the public.

Samuel Girma, Amref Health Africa’s WASH Project Manager, said as an organisation working on hygiene and sanitation in both rural and urban areas, they will contribute their role, based on the developed SDG master plan. Additionally, as a WASH Alliance member, they will use the master plan to influence donors and get additional funds. He also stated that the master plan is comprehensive and will serve as guidance for future WASH activities.

Overall, the workshop underscored that the master plans should be presented and discussed at the woreda level, there should be an accountability mechanism in implementing the plan, and the woreda administrations should take the lead in implementing the master plan.  It is suggested that annual plans and five year plans should be derived from the master plan.

The next steps of the SDG master plans’ development will be incorporating inputs from participants and endorsement by the Woreda Council. To effectively implement the SDG master plan, it was emphasised that all key actors are responsible to deliver on their roles and responsibilities.


Identifying barriers to inclusion in WASH : barriers faced by persons living with disabilities in accessing water, sanitation and hygiene services in Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly, Ghana

January 12th 2021 at 10:10

In order to leave no one behind, decision makers and service providers need to examine common beliefs in measuring access to services.

This brief looks at how improved knowledge and skills in social inclusion are improving the capacity to identify excluded persons and advocate for WASH interventions to be accessible to all persons, especially for people living with a disability. It is based on a survey of 22 communities within Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality, Ghana. The survey examined the characteristics of a random sample of 40 people living with a disability, and their environmental, institutional and attitudinal barriers to inclusion. The study concludes that in order to leave no one behind, decision makers and service providers need to examine common beliefs in measuring access to services. 

Symposium on small town WASH services in Ethiopia

December 21st 2020 at 12:07
By: Adank

Some 50 representatives from towns and regional bureaus participated in the small-town WASH symposium on 3 December at the GetFam hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were joined online by some 30 stakeholders from national and international level during the morning session, focussed on implementation approaches for small town WASH, and the afternoon session, focussed on monitoring small town WASH.

On 3 December, the hybrid face-to-face / online symposium on "Climate-resilient systems approaches for small town WASH services in Ethiopia" took place in the GetFam Hotel in Addis Ababa and online. This event was organised by UNICEF Ethiopia, IRCWASH Ethiopia and the Water Development Committee of the Ministry of Water Resources, Water and Energy of the Government and Ethiopia, with financial support from the British Embassy and KfW.

The objectives of this symposium were to

  1. for sector stakeholders to learn and share on small town WASH, with a focus on system strengthening and climate resilient approaches, and
  2. for sector stakeholders to identify innovations for scaling up and agree on specific areas that need more lobby and advocacy.

The list of presentations with links to the recordings and PowerPoints (in PDF) can be found below. Recordings of the full sessions will be made available soon. 


Morning session on implementation approaches for small town WASH

Integrated approach for WASH and BCBT contracting modality, and innovations on inclusive WASH in the ONEWASH PLUS PROGRAMME
Presentation by Lavuun Verstraete, from UNICEF Ethiopia, on the integrated approach towards small town WASH, contracting arrangements and the build-build capacity- transfer (BCBT) approach, as developed and implemented under the ONEWASH Plus Programme.

ONEWASH Plus Programme: Welenchiti experience
Presentation by Feyisa Chala from the Welenchiti Town Water Utility, as a case study of the successes and challenges of the ONEWASH Plus programme in Welenchiti town.

Applying a Learning Alliance Approach in Small town Sanitation (Ethiopia)
Presentation by Muhammed Musa, from IRC WASH Ethiopia / Tetratech, on undertaking a systems approach towards improving small town sanitation through facilitation of town level learning alliances in Wolisso and Debre Birhan.

Integrated water supply model serving refugee and host communities in Gambella
Presentation by Yitbarek Birhanu, from the Itang Town Water Utility, on how the Itang Town water utility served both a large refugee camp population, as well as host communities.

Afternoon session on monitoring small town WASH

Monitoring of small town WASH: Experiences from WaterAid Ethiopia's 20 town capacity Development programme
Presentation by Haile Dinku, from WaterAid Ethiopia, on WaterAid Ethiopia's 20 town programme and the performance monitoring developed and applied under this programme.

Development of performance indicators in Ethiopia
Presentation by Azeb Tadesse, from the Water Development committee of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia, about performance indicators and benchmarking for urban water services in Ethiopia.

Sustainability checks for small towns in the ONEWASH Plus Programme
Presentation by Marieke Adank, IRC WASH, on sustainability checks, developed and executed under the ONEWASH Plus programme in Ethiopia to monitoring small town WASH services and the conditions for sustainable WASH service provision.

Strengthen WASH Businesses in Ethiopia - foreign business owners

December 17th 2020 at 09:45
By: Bakker

This second out of eight articles covers challenges related to repatriation of profit and royalty payments.

Women in Ethiopia at a WASH business

This article was written by Eline Bakker and Peter Feldman

According to the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, only about seven percent of Ethiopians have access to basic sanitation services (JMP, 2019). Achieving universal access to basic WASH services in the country will require further development of the country’s private sector. The Government of Ethiopia recognises the importance of the private sector in generating demand and creating access to materials and services for construction of improved latrines, and leads market-based sanitation efforts (FMoH, 2016).  However, the scale of the challenge of providing access to adequate sanitation services to all is still relatively substantial compared to the amount and size of businesses currently offering such products and services. To gain more insights, the USAID Transform WASH team talked to more than twenty key informants in Ethiopia and the East Africa region to identify the main challenges facing WASH market development in Ethiopia.

To learn more, follow this link to the full Learning Note. 

Repatriation of profit

Repatriation of profit refers to the transfer of profit earned by a foreign-owned business in a country to the business’s home country. Such transfers require exchange of local earnings for 'hard currency,’ or the currency used for international business transactions (such as US dollars or euros). Under Ethiopian law (Investment Proclamation No. 1180/2020), foreign investors have the right to repatriate these earnings:

  • profits and dividends accruing from an (approved) investment;
  • principal and interest payments on external loans;
  • payments related to technology transfer or management agreements;
  • proceeds from sale or liquidation of an enterprise;
  • proceeds from sale or transfer of shares or of partial ownership of an enterprise to a domestic investor;
  • compensation paid to a foreign investor.

Officially, there are no restrictions on the amount of profit that can be repatriated, but in practical terms business owners expressed concerns with respect to restricted access to hard currency and the relatively low priority placed on this type of foreign exchange (“Forex”) allocation. Given that Forex is closely scrutinised, businesses also must carefully comply with regulations regarding registration, permitting, periodic auditing, payment of taxes and other obligations (Ibex Frontier, 2017).

Royalty payments

Royalties are payments made by one business to another in exchange for the right to use that business’s intellectual property (such as a copyrights, trademarks or patented designs). Ethiopian law permits royalty payments for the right to use a patent, invention, design, or a secret formula or process (Income Tax Proclamation No. 979/2016). A five percent tax is levied by the government on royalties paid by an Ethiopian entity as well as on the non-resident entity who is receiving them (Haile et. al., 2018).

Apart from the taxes levied, Ethiopian law does not seem to place any restrictions on royalty payments to foreign patent holders and allows for such payments to be made in Forex. Specifically, the National Bank considers royalty fees as “invisible payments” that are allowed on demand (Directive No. FXD/46/2017). In practice, however, foreign-owned businesses are likely to experience challenges receiving royalty payments due to the chronic Forex shortage in the country and low priority placed on such allocations. Businesses may wait for months, if not longer, to receive requested Forex allocations. 


While there are no restrictions on repatriation of profits and payment of royalty fees to foreign patent holders, the Forex shortage and related restrictions in Ethiopia pose a major obstacle to both local and foreign-owned businesses that wish to invest in offering a broader range of WASH products and services to their customers. The following actions might be taken (presented, as well, in the article “Access to Foreign Exchange”) to improve business conditions for such enterprises despite the scarcity of foreign currency in Ethiopia:

  • Review Forex operating guidelines and consider ways of making the application, queueing, and liquidation processes more accessible, accommodating and transparent.
  • Encourage policy reforms that raise the priority of Forex access for socially oriented businesses in emerging markets, such as for WASH products.
  • Advocate for WASH products to be added to the list of “essential or priority goods” so that Forex is more readily allocated to businesses importing or locally manufacturing WASH goods.

Better maintenance for rural community sanitation in India

December 8th 2020 at 11:11
By: shiny

Providing inputs for a ministerial task force supporting Swachh Bharat Mission Phase II.

Rural community sanitary complex in Amethi, Rajasthan

Photo caption: Rural community sanitary complex in Amethi, Rajasthan. Credit: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Grameen

Across the world 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. World Toilet Day, observed on the 19th of November, aims to inspire action to address the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6. This year's theme -  Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change - highlights the threat of climate change on sanitation systems as well as how sustainable sanitation systems contribute to the fight against climate change. Toilets can be the first step towards sustainable sanitation if they help capture human waste in a safe and dignified setting.

In order to ensure all households, especially those from the marginalised communities, have access to toilets, the  Government of India in the second phase of it's flagship sanitation programme - the Swachh Bharat Mission -  is prioritising construction of Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) in rural areas. In this regard, it entrusts the Gram Panchayats or the village councils to decide upon the suitability of location as well as to ensure water availability and long-term operation and maintenance (O&M). Previous experience, however, shows that CSCs are plagued with low usage and poor O&M. 

On the occasion of World Toilet Day 2020, the SuSanA India Chapter along with the India Sanitation Coalition, IRC and WaterAid India organised a webinar on Operation and Maintenance Opportunities in Rural Community Sanitary Complexes. The webinar, along with an online thematic discussion, provided inputs to the task force created to support the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India under Swachh Bharat Mission Phase II, in its endeavour to build at least 75,000 rural CSCs. 

See below a recording of the webinar. The synthesis of the webinar and thematic discussion is available below under Resources.


Operation and maintenance opportunities in rural community sanitary complexes : thematic discussion series synthesis

December 4th 2020 at 16:58

Earlier sanitation campaigns in India showed poor demand for and use of rural community sanitary complexes (CSCs). How can India's national sanitation programme, Swachh Bharat Mission Phase II, do better?

In October-November 2020, the India Chapter of SuSanA conducted a thematic online discussion and webinar on Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Opportunities in Rural Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs). This was to support efforts of a Task Force - comprising UNICEF India, Aga Khan Foundation, India Sanitation Coalition, Taru Leading Edge and IRC WASH - to provide inputs to India's Ministry of Jal Shakti, under Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission (national sanitation programme). The Mission prioritises the construction of CSCs in rural areas. Earlier sanitation campaigns in India showed poor demand for and use of rural CSCs. That's why it's important to understand the barriers and enablers and build on good practices, experiences and lessons learned. The thematic discussion and webinar covered the following topics: Factors influencing decisions to construct a CSC; Building O&M into the project life-cycle; Examples of successful O&M of rural CSCs; Lessons learned from construction and O&M of urban CSCs; Profitable PPP O&M contracts for local government; and Community engagement and behaviour change communication for O&M.

Reframing the challenges and opportunities for improved sanitation services in Eastern Africa through sustainability science

December 2nd 2020 at 10:51

Successful sanitation approaches were characterized by their adaptation to the local context, community participation, built-in mechanisms that ensure financial viability, use of technologies that are culturally appropriate and emphasis on environmental sustainability.

Sustainable sanitation services are still unavailable to most people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) despite decades of implementing very diverse sanitation projects across the continent. Using a Sustainability Science lens, this chapter identifies through an extended literature review the drivers and shortcomings of business-as-usual sanitation approaches that tend to fail in SSA. As one of the main challenges for the success of sanitation project is the creation of an enabling environment, we attempt to identify some of the critical elements that could support the development of such an environment. Subsequently we identify characteristics and competencies conducive to breaking the cycle of failure and to developing sustainable sanitation systems. We use data from key informant interviews with sanitation implementers, focus group discussions with sanitation facility users and visits to sanitation project sites in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The sanitation approaches explored, although different, are all characterized by their adaptation to the local context, community participation, built-in mechanisms that ensure financial viability, use of technologies that are culturally appropriate and emphasis on environmental sustainability. We offer several policy and practice recommendations for the development of successful sanitation governance structures for national governments, external support agencies and project implementers. The examples discussed in this chapter show promise, but do not guarantee success, as all solutions will require several iterations to adaptate to the local context, as well as financial and governance support, to be scaled up. [author abstract]

Strengthen WASH business in Ethiopia: access to foreign exchange

December 1st 2020 at 10:04
By: Bakker

For Ethiopia-based businesses that require imported goods or materials, accessing hard currency through the banking system is one of the biggest challenges they face. 

Sanitation business in Amhara region, Ethiopia

This article was written by Eline Bakker and Peter Feldman

In a series of posts, we will present the main challenges faced by Ethiopian businesses that are interested in expanding their range of WASH products and services. We will also highlight a set of recommended regulatory and policy actions to overcome these challenges. This first out of eight posts covers challenges related to access to foreign exchange. 

According to the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, only about seven percent of Ethiopians have access to basic sanitation services (JMP, 2019). Achieving universal access to basic WASH services in Ethiopia will require further development of the country’s private sector. The Government of Ethiopia recognizes the importance of the private sector in generating demand and creating access to materials and services for construction of improved latrines, and leads market-based sanitation efforts (FMoH, 2016). However, the scale of the challenge of providing access to adequate sanitation services to all is still relatively substantial compared to the amount and size of businesses currently offering such products and services. To gain more insights, the USAID Transform WASH team talked to more than twenty key informants in Ethiopia and the East Africa region to identify the main challenges facing the WASH market development in Ethiopia.

To learn more, follow this link to the full Learning Note.

Access to Foreign Exchange

To purchase a product for import into any country, the national currency must be converted to a “hard currency,” one that is accepted by a seller for purchase of the product, through the foreign exchange market. In Ethiopia, this might include purchase and import of finished goods, raw materials or equipment needed for local manufacturing. The country imports significantly more goods than it exports (US$ 15 billion in imports vs. US$ 2 billion in exports in 2018). This trade deficit, which has hovered around US$ 12-13 billion per year since 2014, has led to high demand for Forex (foreign exchange), which is in very short supply, exacerbated by below-market official exchange rates (World Bank, 2018).

The government allowed the Ethiopian birr to devalue by 15 percent in 2017, and it has continued to depreciate since then. Analysts predict that the currency will continue to undergo a “managed devaluation” to levels that are closer to a free floating market rate in an effort to encourage more foreign investment and address the country’s trade imbalance (World Bank, 2017). Devaluation of the birr requires purchasers of imports to use an ever-increasing amount of their national currency to obtain the same amount of Forex, effectively increasing the cost of all imports and decreasing the price of exports to international purchasers using hard currency.

For Ethiopia-based businesses that require imported goods or materials, accessing hard currency through the Ethiopian banking system is often identified as their biggest challenge as some sectors and businesses are prioritized over others. A contributor to the Ethiopian Business Review also expressed that “all transactions requiring foreign exchange are not created equal”,

Forex is tightly controlled within the banking system. A major portion of available Forex is earmarked for government infrastructure projects, such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other national priorities. Thirty percent of Forex coming into commercial banks is transferred to the Central Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), which earmarks it for purchase of strategic materials, such as fossil fuels. The remaining Forex is then allocated to fulfill business requests in accordance with prioritization rules. Bank “allocation committees” are responsible for matching available Forex with submitted applications. Prioritization tends to follow a basic system:

  1. Priority allocations, including external debt repayments (closely monitored by CBE) and payment of foreign employees.
  2. Materials considered “essential imports”, such as fuel and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and certain manufacturing inputs, equipment and spare parts, profit and dividend transfers, nutritional foods for infants, and educational materials.
  3. Other “non-essential” requests (Lloyd and Teshome, 2018).

Forex requests from non-strategic businesses or for “non-essential” purposes, therefore, are queued and wait their turn for available funds. Businesses, including those offering WASH products, often wait many months to obtain the Forex that they have requested, and they may not have a clear idea when or how much will become available.

When businesses do receive an allocation, they may be required to use it quickly (i.e. within a 14-day window), and they may not receive the total amount requested. These Forex access challenges affect a business’s ability to respond to orders, expand operations, maintain positive business relationships (e.g. making payments on time) and remain competitive. Some businesses operate at a fraction of their production capacity due to Forex challenges. 


The following actions are recommended to alleviate Forex-related obstacles to the success and growth of businesses that offer WASH products and services in Ethiopia:

  • Review Forex operating guidelines and consider ways of making the application, queueing, and liquidation processes more accessible, accommodating and transparent.
  • Encourage policy reforms that raise the priority of Forex access for socially oriented businesses in emerging markets, such as for WASH products.
  • Advocate for WASH products to be added to the list of “essential or priority goods” so that Forex is more readily allocated to businesses importing or manufacturing WASH goods.