For the second time this year we’ve had the chance to join our MFSII Alliance partners in visiting the countries where they will be active over the coming five years. This time we travelled to Ethiopia, a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It‚Äôs one of the few countries in Africa that has never actually been colonised. Just as our previous visit to Uganda and Kenya in May this year, we participated in activities linked to both the WASHand Connect4Change Alliances.
In May the Alliance activities were still in the very early stages, with the focus on partner selection and discussing initial steps that were to be undertaken. Now, beginning October the selection of partners is as good as finalised, with most contracts between Northern and Southern partners in place. The development of programme plans for 2011 and beginning 2012 is in its final stages.
WASH Alliance Ethiopia Workshop
There was a 3-day workshop with the members of the WASH Alliance Ethiopia taking place in Addis Ababa. We joined for a day on Tuesday, 20 September. There were eleven organisations in the room:
The WASH Alliance members in Ethiopia: HCS-Ripple, Meta Meta, Hoarec, WaterAID, AMREF Ethiopia, GTF, and AFD.
The Dutch WASH Alliance members: AMREF, RAIN, ICCO, Akvo
The Dutch WASH Alliance has developed somewhat of a unique approach. In the Netherlands partners are tasked with joining forces to tackle water and sanitation, and it is expected of local partners in the countries where activities take place to do the same. Just as this process of ‚ÄòAlliance building‚Äô was complex and time-consuming in the Netherlands, the same is the case here in Ethiopia. It became apparent that not all the contracts were in place yet between the Northern and Southern partners, although discussions had been taking place all year. Some parties were therefore reluctant to start planning for activities while these issues were still not sorted out. While on paper working together with various organisations seems straightforward, in reality it is very challenging.
During the coffee break in the morning Luuk shot a short video interview with Zemede Abede, which he then showed to the group during the afternoon presentation. This proved to be an excellent example of how one can do Really Simple Reporting (RSR) right there in front of everyone. We also got the chance to welcome Tamene Chaka as the new Country Coordinator for the WASH Alliance in Ethiopia.
After the workshop we joined in a field visit to Awash, one of the two areas in Ethiopia where the WASH Alliance will be active in the coming years. The trip was organised by AMREF Ethiopia. In the video below you can see Joris van Oppenraaij, from AMREF Netherlands and country coordinator for Ethiopia talks about his views on the week. There was a lot of wind, so the audio isn’t great, so do be forgiving (it’s better on speakers than headphones).
Kathelyne van den Berg is programme manager for Connect4Change at Akvo.