The Community-Led Accelerated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (COWASH IV) has provided safe drinking water to over 41,700 people in the Sidama Region in the past Ethiopian fiscal year.

This was announced at the COWASH IV regional support unit (RSU) annual performance review and 2016 plan approval meeting, held in Yirgalm city on Thursday (September 14). Around 80 participants attended the meeting, including the five project woreda leaders and concerned focal persons.

In 2015, various activities, including construction of water supply schemes, school and health water supply and latrine facilities (institutional WASH), and capacity and physical capacity building has been carried out under the project.

The Sidama COWASH IV Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Yitbarek Aragaw, announced that 77 community water supply schemes were constructed in 2015EFY, providing safe drinking water for 34,443 people in the region. In addition, nine water supply points and six latrines were constructed for schools and health centers under the institutional WASH program in 2015. These have provided safe water supply for around 7,265 people in schools.

The project has also facilitated the construction of 2,181 household latrines, according to Leta Etama, the RSU team leader. The project’s small-scale community-managed approach has greatly benefited the rural community, particularly in the construction of standard latrines in schools and health institutions, and in securing water supply access, said Leta.

Participants at the meeting raised the delay of matching funds and reporting, as well as increased inflation, as the main challenges that prevented the project from being fully implemented as planned in the last fiscal year.

Despite these challenges, the project’s work is making significant progress in providing safe drinking water to people in rural areas of the Sidama Region. Particularly, the project’s small-scale community-managed project approach (CMP) is helping to ensure that the water supply systems are sustainable and that the communities take ownership of them. COWASH IV plans to continue providing water, sanitation, and hygiene to rural areas of Sidama Region, targeting to benefit an additional 57,670 people.

The Community-Led Accelerated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (COWASH IV) is a bilateral project between the governments of Ethiopia and Finland that is working to improve water and sanitation services in rural Ethiopia.  Sidama is one of the eight regions covered by the project.