Ethiopia plans to become a middle-income country by 2025, with the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) being the main anchor. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) and Irrigation Program of the Organisation for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) supports the regional and national government’s program and is aligned with their objectives and strategies, as stated in the country’s GTP II. The ongoing projects are designed to contribute to improved water, sanitation and hygiene service delivery, access to safe, sufficient and reliable drinking water, improved sanitation and sustained positive change in hygiene behavior. The irrigation projects also contribute to the urgent need for reducing dependence on rain-fed agricultural development systems in moisture-stressed areas.
Australia Awards Alumnus, Simeneh Shiferaw Moges from Ethiopia, who obtained a Masters in Water Resources Management from the University of South Australia in 2014, says the skills and knowledge he gained during his studies in Australia have assisted him in aligning himself with the governments GTP II, where water, sanitation and hygiene are concerned. “My studies have helped me to produce evidence-based reports and project proposals, and increased my data analysis and modelling skills. My technical skills have also improved, such as the ability to use different types of international modelling software, such as climate models, land-use models, hydrology and hydraulic models, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing,” says Simeneh, who is the WaSH and Irrigation Program Director at ORDA.
His main role in the WaSH and Irrigation sector is to achieve the long-term objectives of the organisation by managing multi-donor funded institutional and community WaSH (urban and rural) projects in different districts of Amhara. He also represents ORDA in WaSH sector forums, coordinated with relevant stockholders (beneficiaries, woreda (district) offices, zonal offices, regional bureaus and donors), ensuring that all projects are implemented according to the project proposals and contracts in line with the terms and conditions specified by the donors, and that they are aligned with national policies and strategies.
In rural Ethiopia, a Water.org survey found that many women and children walk over three hours to collect water, often from shallow wells or unprotected ponds, which they share with animals. The WaSH project has managed to reduce the water collection time in Amhara to an average of 30 minutes, according to Simeneh. “Water points have been constructed nearer the homes, allowing more time for other activities (including childcare, food production and income generation). Other concrete results that have been achieved include an increase in average water consumption (in terms of potable water) per person per day and the perception that the hygiene and sanitation practice has improved. More beneficiaries are using latrines and hand-washing facilities.”
Australia Awards –Africa recipients such as Simeneh return home with new skills and knowledge, and the ability to make a significant contribution to their home countries as leaders in their field.