Optimal Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) behaviors are among the immediate results prioritized under Growth through Nutrition activity’s work in Ethiopia, as they play an integral part in promoting health and nutrition as well as addressing the socio-economic development and dignity of the project’s beneficiaries.
The project works to empower communities to access and manage their water supplies as well as adopting important handwashing and hygiene practices in the home and community. In addition to developing awareness through SBCC activities and supplying and stimulating demand for important WASH products, Growth through Nutrition has been working with the Government of Ethiopia in constructing and rehabilitating water points in its target regions, thus providing the basic bedrock of WASH – access to clean water. The project has thus far constructed or rehabilitated a total of 147 water supply schemes, serving more than 100,000 beneficiaries.
In collaboration with the Save the Children WASH team, the Tufts project research team is conducting a study to assess the functionality and utilization by beneficiaries of the new or rehabilitated water access points. Specifically, the research will establish the overall current functionality of the schemes and understand the extent to which safe water supply has improved, the amount of time saved, utilization of water sources by beneficiaries, as well as the hurdles and determinants of water usage in these communities.
Following a detailed training in January 2021 – a team of data collectors has visited WASH sites across Ethiopia, in the eight woredas in the Oromia, Amhara, and SNNPR regions. The team visited 277 households for interviews as well as assessing the water facilities themselves. Additionally, the team visited relevant key stakeholders such as the respective woreda’s Water Offices and water scheme managing committees to conduct key informant interviews for qualitative data on the management of water schemes. To ensure the protection of all involved from the risk of COVID-19 infection, the study has integrated precautionary measures including limiting face-to-face interaction durations, social distancing protocols, and personal protective equipment,
The findings of this study will provide some key indicators regarding the success and sustainability of project efforts to increase access to clean water. It will also provide lessons learned around challenges, successes as way forward to informing current and future WASH hardware activities implimentation These lessons are expected to be shared with the Government of Ethiopia nd water offices using various learning platforms upon completion.