Expansion of access to drinking water and of sanitary practices

Caritas International Belgium Expansion of access to drinking water and of sanitary practices

Isabel Corthier

Isabel Corthier



3 years (January 2019 to December 2021)


Gimbo District, Kaffa, Ethiopia


Diocesan Caritas Jimma


106,258 € (72,922.58 € from Vivaqua & 33,335 € from Lokumo)

Caritas International Belgium Expansion of access to drinking water and of sanitary practices

Context: Kaffa Province

Access to water and sanitation facilities in Kaffa Province is relatively limited compared to other areas in Ethiopia. Only 29% of households have access to drinking water and only 45% have access to sanitation facilities. When they do exist, their quality and functioning are often rudimentary. The majority of systems in place are muddy and dirty due to inadequate protection (including protection from domesticated and wild animals) and a lack of drainage. Contaminated water sources are important vectors of illnesses such as diarrhea, intestinal parasites and infections. Other major health problems include eye and skin infections, which can also be caused by unsafe water consumption and/or poor hygiene and sanitary practices.

For a significant portion of the population, water sources are difficult to access, often situated in gorges or other hard-to-reach locations. Most of the time, the responsibility of fetching water falls on the shoulders of women, and children less than 15 years old.  This situation leads to various issues such as a lowering of school retention rates and the sexual harassment of women and young girls. However, Kaffa possess real water potential, with many springs that are not protected due to a lack of resources.

This project is being carried out in the sub-district of Keyi-kello due to its existing water and sanitation challenges, as well as because of the strong presence of the Menja ethnic minority. Members of this ethnic minority are often vulnerable, neglected and discriminated against by the ethnic majority (the Gomero). One of the reasons for this discrimination is the existence of poor hygiene and sanity conditions among the Menja. Their poor hygiene is due their history: a formerly nomadic group which settled a few dozen years ago, the Menja have not formed the habit of using sanitation facilities and have not been educated in an environment with adequate (or at the very least existing) sanitation facilities.

Objective: Health and food security

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to the improvement of the health and food conditions of the local population. More specifically, this project aims to improve:

  • access to drinking water for communities living in the intervention area;
  • access to sanitation facilities
  • the hygiene, sanitary and water resource management practices of local communities

Initiatives: Planning, Construction and Training

As a larger number of functioning water sources will provide communities with lasting access to drinking water, we will develop 5 sources.

As a larger number of functioning sanitation facilities will allow communities to satisfy their hygiene and sanitation needs, we will construct one latrine (with four stalls) as well as 4 laundry basins.

As expanding the skillsets of the different parties involved and promoting sustainable community hygiene and sanitation programs will allow for sustainable infrastructure management and the diffusion hygiene and sanitary practices, we also guarantee:

  • The training of 25 individuals to maintain the water sources;
  • Several community sessions dedicated to training, awareness, and discussion, in order to discuss topics relevant to hygiene, sanitation, water management, gender, and child-related issues;
  • The training of 50 health workers and local leaders;
  • The skills development of 50 members of the “Water and Sanitation” management committee;
  • The creation and diffusion of communication tools for student clubs that organize activities related to water and sanitation.

Target audience: Women, Children, Menja

This project is aimed at 1,500 households as direct beneficiaries, i.e. about 7,500 people, as well as 20,000 indirect beneficiaries. Its goal is, of course, to reach the entire population living in the intervention area, but a focus will be given to women’s groups, children, and members of the local ethnic minority. This choice is dictated by the fact that these population groups are the most affected by water and sanitation problems.

In working with intermediaries (school clubs, leaders/elders, women’s groups), we hope to see a multiplier effect and thus reach a larger part of the population.

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