A great week in Helsinki

A COWASH IV delegation of 15 people from four Ethiopian Ministries (Finance, Water and Energy, Education and Health) and the Office of the Prime Minister spent a wonderful week in Finland. Delegates attended a project National Steering Committee meeting together with a presentation on the outcome of the Mid-term Evaluation.

During the week the delegates had an opportunity to meet personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. At a networking event hosted by the Finnish Water Forum, the delegation met several different Finnish companies. Thank you HSY, Mankettigroup, Ecolet, GTK, Dewaxo, Valmet, and SYKE for joining the event. The conversation was valuable and hopefully, there will be future business between Finland and Ethiopia as a result.

The visit included two study tour days, involving visits to FIWA, FMI, Lahti Aqua, the Hennala stormwater system and the HSY Viikinmäki wastewater treatment facility. Our delegates enjoyed all the visits with great knowledge transfer. Thank you all for having us.

The visit to Finland was educational and expansive. Our delegates enjoyed visiting the country that has helped their people in rural areas for many decades. In all meetings, the delegates thanked Finland and hoped that the excellent cooperation would continue in the future as well.

COWASH IV Steering Committee Meeting in Helsinki

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.

Approval of 2015 Regional Reports

Today, the 22nd of August, all seven COWASH IV regions joined for a Joint National/Regional Steering Committee meeting in Addis Ababa.

In the meeting, all the Annual Performance Reports for Ethiopian Financial Year 2015 from each region were approved. With this approval, the funds from the Govenment of Finland for Q1 and Q2 can now be distributed to the project regions. This means that the money from Finland is distributed to the project regions five to six months earlier than last year.

At the end of the meeting, the new project vehicles funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland were handed over by Ambassador Asfaw, State Minister of Water and Energy, Lari Peltonen, Embassy of Finland, Deputy Head of Mission, and Sami Frestadius, Embassy on Finland, Senior Specialist, for the Regional Support Units in each region. These vehicles will help to better facilitate the implementation of WASH development in the rural Woredas of Ethiopia.

EFY 2016 Q1 and Q2 funds have arrived

The COWASH IV Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2016 Quarters 1 and 2 Funds, as per the consolidated request, were sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland last week and have now been received in the Ministry of Finance Account in Addis Ababa.

The money arrived from Finland to Ethiopia five months earlier than the previous year, which is a huge success for COWASH IV. We thank all project stakeholders, at all levels, for the very strong support and coordination which has ensured that the funds have been received in good time which will permit the work in our project communities to commence in the near future.

Regional Steering Committee meetings successfully completed

In line with the approved COWASH IV improved fund flow process for EFY 2016, all regional steering committee meetings have now been successfully completed and the core plans approved. Productive discussions have been held on the results of the first 11 months of EFY 2015, the plans for EFY 2016 and the future of COWASH in general.

All regions have now submitted their Quarter 1 and 2 fund requests to the Ministry of Water and Energy which have been consolidated and forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland via the Ministry of Finance. All regions are now preparing their full EFY 2015 Progress Reports with the support of the FTAT through hands-on assistance in the regional offices. On-the-job training is something that the FTAT plans to do more in the future.

Work is progressing exactly on schedule and it is expected that the first EFY 2016 funds will be disbursed to the regions on time and indeed six months earlier than last year. This is an outstanding achievement for the COWASH IV project!

Commencement of COWASH IV Operations in Tigray

The MoU between the MoF and the Tigray Bureau of Finance was signed on 02 June 2023 in the presence of the Ambassador and officials of the Embassy of Finland. The FTAT supported discussions between the MoF and the EoF to develop a mechanism to make salary back-payments to the RSU from the remaining COWASH III funds. This work was successfully completed and the team were paid on 30 June 2023.

News from the FTAT team

In May and June 2023, the FTAT team liaison with regions to advise on measures being taken to improve the project funding process, carried out social and behaviour change on-the-job training in SWEP and Sidama Regions and conducted on-the-job sanitation Marketing MSEs training for selected woredas in Oromia Region. Also, the FTAT team further RSU training on the use and operation of the COWASH IV database in Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz Regions, conducted on-the-job WSP4+ training in Benishangul-Gumuz Region and Saving and Loan Association (SLA) on-the-job training in Sidama and Oromia Regions.

COWASH IV Annual Review and Core Planning Meeting

The COWASH IV Annual Review and Core Planning Meeting was held in Arba Minch from 09 to 11 May with full participation of six regions. The meeting comprised presentations by each region on the third quarter project status together with discussions on the EFY 2016 core plan preparation process. The meeting was supported by representatives of the MoF and the EoF who presented an oversight of Finland’s development policies and the important role COWASH IV has in achieving the targets.