Round one in the world of proposal writing was inspired by the desire to continue the work funded in the Afar Region by the Guernsey Overseas Aid Committee (GOAC). GOAC provided the funding necessary to build girls’ toilets at two Asaita elementary schools, and also to improve the library facilities at those schools. In order to continue this work during the coming school year, I applied for a grant from the Alberta Community Initiatives Program. My proposal was for a $5000 grant, which will be enough for building a girls’ toilet and improving the library facilities at another school. I figured that since it was the first time putting together something like this, that I would start small and ‘learn the ropes’.
Round two of proposal writing has come at CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire. The proposal is for project matching funds, as Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to match any money raised privately by CAFOD. This time the budget is $500 000, and though the stakes feel substantially higher, I do have scaffolding because I am working off of a concept note for the project developed by the Sustainable Livelihoods team, and an itemized budget and action plan that have been prepared by the implementing partner organisation, the Oromo Self-Reliance Organisation (OSRA).
The problem addressed by the project is the lack of potable water in Oromia National Regional State, South West Shewa Zone, in the Wolisso and Goro districts by tapping clean ground water by digging new wells, building sanitation facilities, and educating schoolchildren about the importance of clean water and sanitation. Water supply and sanitation coverage in the districts is low and the majority of the people rely on surface water such as small streams and unprotected traditional hand dug wells, which are not potable, to get water for human and livestock consumption. Essentially, people are drinking untreated water and exposing themselves to water-borne diseases. Women and children are normally responsible for fetching water and are the most affected by the lack of water infrastructure. They have to travel long distances to fetch unpotable water for household consumption.
Many people in the targeted districts must take showers and wash their clothes in the same sources of water from which they take their drinking water. Until recently, most households in the area did not have either private or communal latrines, and open field defecation is still being practiced in the target area. There is a lot of work to be done on appropriate use and management of the latrines, as well as personal and environmental hygiene and sanitation. Behavioural changes in the community are required.
Most schools in the district do not have any access to a water supply. Some rely on unprotected traditional hand dug wells and rivers for water. Due to the lack of school water supplies, students have to look for water from the surrounding area when they get thirsty, exposing them to water borne diseases. Appropriate sanitation facilities and hand washing facilities are nonexistent in most schools. If water supply and sanitation facilities can be made available in the schools, they will be able to act as models and influence their communities through outreach activities. Through their students, schools are in touch with a large proportion of the households in the community. The provision of clean water and appropriate sanitation facilities will create an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching. If a healthy environment is created and good hygiene prevails in schools, it will lead to the development of healthy, productive and responsible citizens.
This proposal aims to tackle the problem by establishing Water and Sanitation Committees (WATSAN) which will be responsible for the overall management, operation and maintenance of the facilities. The village level WATSAN committee is responsible for the management and operation of the supply schemes. Technicians will perform minor maintenance activities for the schemes. Support will be given to WATSAN committees to generate financial resources from community contributions. In addition, creating linkages between the WATSAN committees and water technicians from the district water office will provide continuous technical support on a sustainable basis. The project also aims to select and train hygiene educators for each water point. The educators will be community role models on sanitation and hygiene issues. The project envisages enhancing community participation and involvement in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in the project cycle. This will help in the empowering of the community and enhance their ownership of the project at village level, and allow the changes brought about by the project to continue after the lifespan of the project. This three year project is being undertaken by OSRA as part of their five year strategic plan to improve access to potable water in the Oromo Region.
CAFOD has a strong relationship with the Oromo Self Reliance Association (OSRA). OSRA has built good reputation by implementing development interventions around similar community and school based water supply and sanitation projects in various districts in Oromia. This experience has been put to use in developing this project, and the accumulated experience and competence of OSRA will be used to achieve this project’s the intended objectives.
It is envisioned that the community and schools that are mobilizing resources and assisting in the project’s implementation will be empowered to make a positive change in their community. They will be responsible for setting up the operation and maintenance of the water and sanitation facilities. The project will be implemented with the active participation of relevant stakeholders from the district water, education, and health offices.
The alignment of this project with CAFOD’s priorities is evidence of why CAFOD should be involved in the effort to improve access to potable water in Ethiopia’s Oromo Region:
Increasing power and influence in local communities – Supporting this work will increase the power and influence in a vulnerable community in Ethiopia’s Oromo Region. The targeted communities are among Ethiopia’s most disadvantaged, and the Oromo Self Reliance Association will be able to influence the systems, decisions and resources regarding the management of potable water.
Promoting sustainable development – building potable water infrastructure will allow members of a disadvantaged community to access the resources they need to live sustainably, and with dignity.
Achieving peace, security and recovery – accessing potable water will equip the target communities with the resources they need to minimise, survive and recover from the impact of drought.
This project will assist stakeholders to learn about ways to develop and provide access to clean water sources. Schools will learn about effective methods for improving hygiene and sanitation through the provision of child and gender sensitive latrines, along with hand washing facilities and hygiene education. This learning will be transferred to local communities as they improve hygiene and sanitation practices and conditions in target community households.
Working to improve water and sanitation facilities and empowering local communities to take over their management is one of CAFOD’s objectives in Ethiopia. Projects such as this one are made possible through the Lenten fundraising that takes place in Catholic communities around the world, such as Project Compassion, which takes place every year in Australian Catholic schools.
- Borana Pastoralist Girls’ Education Association – working in Partnership with CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office (morenewsfromafar.wordpress.com)
- Great generation: One small group can make a colossal difference (cafod.org.uk)
- Great generation: Volunteering in Westminster (cafod.org.uk)