Construction Completed on IPG Water Project in Ethiopia
13 Dec 2019
At the end of 2018, partnering with charity: water as part of its commitment to SDG#6, IPG funded a rehabilitated well with a hand pump in Tigray, Ethiopia. Construction on the project is now complete. In this region, local geology and the quality, depth, and amount of groundwater mean that wells with hand pumps can be a suitable means of accessing safe drinking water.
Tigray, located in northern Ethiopia, was once heavily forested. However, widespread deforestation has contributed to severe land degradation, making the effects of drought worse than ever. Combined with damage to basic infrastructure over the course of the country’s two-decades-long civil war, these environmental challenges mean that a significant number of communities in Tigray lack access to clean water. Where water is available, it’s often unsafe. For many, an open pond or river contaminated by microbes and human or animal waste is their only water source. IPG’s funding enables charity: water to work with its local partner, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), to change this.
In all communities receiving a water project, REST is working to train committees of democratically elected community leaders in the day-to-day operation and management of their water point. Additionally, communities have learned about the dangers of open defecation and are committed to becoming certified as Open-Defecation-Free through a process known as Community Led Total Sanitation.
REST emphasizes the community’s direct involvement in preparing and constructing water points. Community members collect and transport building materials to the project sites, and REST facilitates the formation of a water user committee to support the infrastructure’s long-term upkeep. Each committee has six members, three of whom must be women. In schools, the student versions of these committees have 30 or more elected members from all grade levels, and again, half must be girls.
REST also supports Tigray’s communities in a structured process of observing and analyzing the effects of different behaviors around water access, sanitation, and hygiene — then collaborating on an action plan for change. This community-led approach has been shown to increase awareness and adoption of safe practices more effectively than the installation of new infrastructure alone.