Halaba WASHco Training

5 Sep 2008

Rural Water Needs: Package of Supply as well as Sustainability Mechanisms

While rural water systems are important to reduce the risk of diseases and to bring economic benefits to the communities, in most parts of rural Ethiopia they are nonexistent or when they do they do not last long to serve the intended benefits. Different reasons can be sited for this: low community participation during the construction of the schemes or the failure to put in place efficient community management mechanisms.

Rural areas in Alaba woreda have experienced the same situation during the past two years. Felka Peasant Association in this Woreda, for example, benefited from a water scheme built by an NGO some four years ago. The scheme operated but only for a short period of time and suddenly stopped. According to Aberash Munete, the water committee chair, ‘'the water facility lasted for a short period mainly due to lack of follow up or technical maintenance and management.''

A water committee has been formed from among the beneficiaries, but they did not have proper training on the technical and management aspects, so they could not stop the breakage. ‘'We did indeed request trainings but did not get quick response from the concerned bodies,'' she said. Continuing their struggle, some of the committee members have approached RiPPLE, which operates in the woreda to identify problems and best practices in the WASH sector and to bring together all the learning and practice alliances for learning and remedies.

Therefore, in collaboration with woreda counterparts (woreda health and water offices as well as WaterAction), RiPPLE recently organized a two-phased trainings for the woreda WASH Committees. This training is supposed to fill the long-awaited capacity gap in managing local water schemes, and the event was reportedly accepted by the community and the local government offices with a great deal of anticipation.

But does this mean that the problem has been solved after these trainings? For Aberash, who is also one of the trainees, the problem is half solved. ‘'Well, we do not have to make the same mistake twice: previously, we had the water-scheme but we did not have the right skills to manage it; now we have the skills but our facility isn't working. I hope RiPPLE will continue to pressure the government offices or the NGOs to take a quick action and bring back our water scheme,'' she said in conclusion.