Ramboll has been selected to provide technical assistance to the third phase of the COWASH project that aims to create a systematic approach to the WASH project implementation in Ethiopia. Through the programme the Ethiopian Government hopes to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene approaches to its people.
While the likelihood of a large scale water crisis comes in at number nine on the ranking of biggest risks facing society & humanity, below risks such as interstate conflicts (#4) and extreme weather events (#2), the impact from such an event is the third highest, behind the use of, for instance, nuclear weapons. In light of the risks to people, improving access to clean potable water that is sustainable has become a key pillar for global development work, as well as governments and regional institutions.
Ethiopia is a landlocked East African country with a population of around 100 million. The country has, in the past thirty years, faced considerable hardships, from a seventeen year civil war to deep droughts. Ethiopia still faces considerable burdens related to the access of safe drinking water and to hygiene. As part of the efforts to improve the country’s key metrics, a government run five-year Growth and Transformation Plan has been launched, which includes a pillar to improve water safety and hygiene across 76 districts in the country. The government’s work spurred the development of a range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives that have the backing of global stakeholders, from UNICEF to the UK Government development programmes.
To support the Ethiopian government reach its strategic goals in relation to water safety and hygiene, COWASH was developed. COWASH provides a Community Managed Project approach to realising WASH goals in Ethiopia. The project aims to create a large scale implementation framework for delivering WASH projects to better serve local communities – with the Ethiopian Government getting behind the initiative following its success.
Ramboll recently announced that it has been selected to provide technical assistance to the third phase of the COWASH project. The firm is tasked with further “demonstrating the effective implementation of the Community Managed Project implementation approach” as part of wider efforts to institutionalise COWASH as a means of achieving sector-wide National One WASH Programme “through a Consolidated WASH Account system.”
Arto Suominen, Chief Technical Advisor in Ramboll Water in Finland, says, “Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in water and sanitation over the last two decades, so there is really something to build on. This project especially focuses on improving the functionality of the water supply by further developing the supply chain with strong private sector participation. This is crucial in order to secure a safe and stable water supply.”