A National WASH Steering Committee Meeting on the Community–led Accelerated WASH IV (COWASH IV) was held in Helsinki, Finland, on 28 August 2023. This was the first time in COWASH history that a steering committee was held outside of Ethiopia.

From Ethiopia, a delegation of 20 delegates joined the meeting. The participants were from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Water and Energy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Embassy of Finland in Ethiopia, and the Federal Technical Assistant Team on COWASH IV. Dr. Minna Hares from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, who is the Program Officer for the project in Finland joined the meeting.

The National WASH Steering Committee Meeting was led by H.E. Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo. Among the participants were H.E. W/ro Semerita Sewasew, H.E. Dr. Fenta Mandefro, and H.E. W/ro Almaz Messele. In the meeting, important discussions were made on the current situation and the future of the COWASH project.

The Ethiopian delegation will stay in Finland for six days and will have meetings, for example, with Mr. Ville Tavio, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, and with the Africa and Middle East Department of Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The week includes a networking event hosted by the Finnish Water Forum and study tour days in Finnish water facilities.

This week’s mission will strengthen the cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia in the Water Sector dating back some 29 years. Water is important for both nations and both have international initiatives including Water Diplomacy and Human Rights.