Cordaid’s response to WASH challenges involves an endeavour to provide emergency solution to WASH problems in drought and conflict-affected areas of Ethiopia: The Borana zone and Woldiya town.
Water continues becoming scarce resource and causing a crisis in east Africa countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The region experienced worst climate-induced problems the past four consecutive years, with below-average rainfall. The prolonged drought has caused many communities face a water crisis, dire water shortages across the region and put them at risk of disease, starvation, and death, coupled with COVID-19 shock, war in the region and economic hardship.
The water challenges in Ethiopia
As reported by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the population in Ethiopia in need of humanitarian food assistance has reached record levels in 2022, 10 to 15 million people, and projected to continue a higher need in 2023.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the groups hardest hit by this situation. This, along with extremely limited access to functioning latrines, results in deplorable living conditions and an increased risk of disease outbreaks.
In response to the major crises in Borana and North Wollo zones, Cordaid made efforts to ease the problems by providing humanitarian assistances through the Ethiopia Drought Joint Response (EDJR) and Ethiopian Joint Response (EJR) projects in Borana zone and Woldiya town, respectively.
The EDJR project in Borana Zone
The Borana zone is the major areas harshly hit by the prolonged drought in Ethiopia, with many households in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The impact of water crisis has also killed Livestock and forced families flee their homes in search of water. And the situation is got worst the past two years where the drought disrupted people’s livelihood and caused major problems in the area, including the access to clean water and food scarcity problems.
Cordaid delivered lifesaving supports and reached people affected by drought through the EDJR project with the goal of reducing the climate-related vulnerabilities of communities by providing a combination of direct food item and cash distributions in two districts of the Borana zone. Cordaid targeted Beneficiary groups including the poorest of the poor, who do not have any food to eat and have a large family size, as well as communities that the drought has had a significant impact on, such as women-headed households, people with disabilities, elderly community members who do not have support, households that have recently experienced child malnutrition, households that lost all their livestock, and households with no other support.
Ethiopia Drought Joint Response 2022 (EDJR) is a humanitarian aid project implemented from June 28, 2022, to December 27, 2022, and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It targets the Shebelle Zone of the Somali region and the Borana, East Bale, and Guji Zones of the Oromia Region. The project provides lifesaving and life-sustaining assistance to communities in need and reach out to specific populations with Food Security and Livelihood (FSL), water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and multipurpose cash (MCP).
The EJR project in Woldiya town
Woldiya was one of the areas hit hardest by the effect of climate crises and conflict, including the desert locust outbreak, drought, and the conflict in the Northern part of Ethiopia. It significantly damaged livelihoods and several facilities, including water supplies. As a result, the community lacked access to safe and clean water and was forced to travel considerable distances to get it. The lack of clean water increased the possibility of disease outbreaks, and women and girls who travelled long distances to find water were more subject to higher protective risks, which increased the number of SGBV cases due to inadequate safety and security measures.
“We used to fetch and drink water from the river. It is very polluted and unhealthy for us and our children, it is a major cause for diseases like typhoid.” Said Tigist Abera
Cordaid successfully implemented the provision and installation of 3 water tankers with a capacity of 5000 litters (about 1320.86 gal) as part of the EJR project implementation at 5 kebeles in Woldiya town administration, as well as the rehabilitation and maintenance of 3 non-functional water points damaged by the conflict, to increase the number of people who have access to sufficient and safe water for domestic use and reached out to over 20,000 people in each of the five kebeles.
“ We, the women, receive the most from this support because it relieves much of our burden of traveling long distances to fetch water. We are very grateful to the organization that provided us with this water and save us from wandering.” –Tigist Abera
“Now we can access clean water near us, our long-standing question is answered, and we are relieved.” – Gebeyew Nega
Other EJR activities that will continue until December 2023 include the distribution of hygiene and dignity kits, the rehabilitation and maintenance of non-functional water schemes, boreholes, and water points, the installation of water tanks, the promotion of water quality through the provision of bacteriological test kits, and training of WASH committees.