The first COWASH IV Tigray Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meeting was held on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at Planet Hotel in Mekele City. The meeting focused on the 2016 work plan and ways to move forward.

The COWASH IV project was initially expected to be implemented two years ago but was suspended following the outbreak of conflict in the region. The COWASH IV project will be implemented in 12 woredas of Tigray with a budget of around 154.7 million Ethiopian birr. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The RSC meeting was attended by representatives from five key bureaus: the Interim Administrative Bureau of Water and Energy, Women’s Affairs, Finance and Resource Coordination, Education, and Health, as well as from the COWASH IV federal technical assistance team (FTAT).

In his presentation, the Regional Support Unit (RSU) team leader, Desalegn Kiros, stated that the conflict in the region has damaged most of the water points and latrines constructed under the previous phases of the COWASH project. In addition, many members of the committees at the Kebele level (WASHCO) as well as the Kebele WASH team have been dispersed, data has been lost, and office institutions have been damaged.

As a result, Desalegn emphasized on prioritizing rehabilitation of these facilities, reorganizing the human power, creating awareness and strengthening institutional capacity under the COWASH IV.

The FTAT Chief Technical Advisor, Neil Chadder, announced that the FTAT will lend a vehicle to Tigray RSU, which is expected to arrive in Mekele city next week. Neil also announced that an agreement has been reached for Tigray to directly purchase two vehicles as a special case.

The COWASH IV Tigray Regional Steering Committee meeting was a success, with participants agreeing on several next steps. They expressed their commitment to working together to ensure the success of the COWASH IV project and to improve the lives of the people of Tigray.

The COWASH IV project plans to provide water supply to 69,150 people in Tigray through both new water schemes and the rehabilitation of damaged water infrastructure. It also aims to carry out physical and human capacity building works.

Under the previous three phases of the COWASH project, 869 community water points, 40 water points in schools, and 7 water points in health centers were constructed, providing safe water supply to more than 137,480 people in 7 woredas of the region. Additionally, latrines were constructed in 25 schools and 9 health centers.

The COWASH IV project, which began in 2021, covers eight regions in Ethiopia, including Tigray and is working to support 1.1 million people in the Country.