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Summer 2012 has been a busy one in Addis.  My time has been split doing work for VSO Ethiopia and for the Cafod/Sciaf/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office.  Here is a summary of what I have been up to over the last few months:

 

Task 1 – SCIAF (Scottish arm of Caritasapplication for independent registration with the Government of Ethiopia’s Charities and Services Association submitted

International non-governmental organisations wishing to operate in Ethiopia must register and be licensed by the Government of Ethiopia’s Charities and Services Association.  Cafod, Sciaf, and Trocaire operate a joint office in Ethiopia and in the past have been able to register with the CSA jointly as well.  This year the CSA demanded that each register separately and distinguish which projects each organisation is responsible for funding.  In order to complete the narrative of SCIAF’s application to the CSA, I interviewed each of the Senior Programme managers in the CST joint office to learn about which projects received funding from SCIAF.  The four project areas supported by the CST joint office are:  Humanitarian, Sustainable Livelihoods, HIV/AIDS, and Civil Society. Although SCIAF is the smallest partner in the joint Ethiopia office, they support elements of projects in each of the programme areas.  SCIAF’s application for registration with the CSA was submitted at the end of August 2012. 

 

Task 2 – €500 000 matching funds application for Oromia Self Reliance Association to expand water infrastructure in the Borana region of southern Ethiopia sent to CAFOD

The lack of potable water supply in Oromia National Regional State, South West Shewa Zone, Wolisso and Goro districts is the source of ongoing problems in the area. 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.  Moreover, sanitation and hygiene education coverage in the district is low.

Women and children who assume the responsibility of fetching water are the most affected portion of the community enduring hardship from the lack of this facilities. They have to travel long distance to fetch unpotable water for household consumption.  As a result, the communities are exposed to water borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, endangering their health status.  Schools and students will also benefit from this project as lack of water supply and sanitation facilities are also one of the critical problems of schools in rural areas in the target districts.

The Oromia Self Reliance Association aims to expand water infrastructure in the area by:

  • Developing of 18 shallow water wells. It is planned to develop 12 community managed water wells and 6 schools based water wells for 6 target schools during the three year project period.
  • Constructing of wellheads and distribution structures for community and schools, respectively
  • Constructing 12 community managed shower blocks and 12 washing basins
  • Training community members on hygiene and sanitation, Community led total sanitation (CLTS), participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation(PHAST) approaches
  • Constructing 12 blocks of child and gender friendly ventilated improved latrine blocks for students and teachers
  • Establishing and training WATSAN committees, local water technicians, health clubs
  • Conducting baseline assessment and feasibility studies for the water sources
  • Conducting environmental and gender analysis of the project
  • Training of  health/environmental clubs members in the schools to support hygiene and sanitation activities including outreach activities
  • Organising and support 360 poor women in to self help groups and provide them with entrepreneurial skill training so that they will be engaged in income generating activities

 

Task 3 – Google web developer tools to raise the quality of hits for Google searches of CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire employed

Conducting a search using google for “CAFOD SCIAF Trocaire Ethiopia”, “CST Joint Office”, or any combination of these terms returned results limited to expired job postings on Ethiopian employment websites and little information about activities undertaken by the organisation.  Using my blog and google web developer tools. I have changed the search results for these terms so that the results now contain details of projects at the CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office.

 

Task 4 –   Destinations for those Google searches created

In addition to creating the pathways for google searches, I also created the content contained at the destination by writing visibility brochures, and project summaries of projects at the CST Joint Ethiopia Office and posting them on my blog.  The visibility brochures are available for viewing at https://morenewsfromafar.wordpress.com

 

Task 5 – Planned, tailored and delivered English classes to the staff at CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office

English classes were designed for and delivered to staff at the CST Joint Ethiopia Office.  Advanced and upper intermediate conversation classes were offered, along with specialised classes to improve listening and writing skills, and idiomatic English.  We discussed everyday topics, such as the difference between living in the city and the country:

We sang some songs:

We watched some episodes of ‘Friends’

And we practised writing:

Task 6 – Results-based Management training

Results-based management training has equipped me with the tools necessary to organise and present my work in a manner consistent with international development organisations.  The most useful tool in my new management toolkit is the logic model:

Task 7 – Interviewed candidates for the International Citizenship Service (ICS) programme

ICS is a youth volunteer programme funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).  It pairs UK youth volunteers with Ethiopian youth volunteers and places them in local work environments in Ethiopia.  Over the summer I had the opportunity to interview candidates to serve as Ethiopian national volunteers in this program.  It was great to learn about the ICS programme, as well as to meet some highly motivated and talented young Ethiopians. 

Task 8 – Planned and facilitated September In-country Training for incoming VSO volunteers

Thirty-five new volunteers and accompanying partners arrived in mid-September for a twelve day training at the Ethiopian Red Cross Training Institute in a suburb just outside of Addis Ababa.  The training was facilitated by myself and two other serving VSO volunteers.  Delivering to an audience comprised of teachers, doctors, midwives, engineers and architects was somewhat daunting, but made easier by everyone’s positivity and flexibility.  The days were long, but the job satisfaction level was very high. 

 

The summer is not quite over, and there is still a workshop to conduct next week for Ethiopian partner organisations participating in the inaugural ICS programme in Hawassa in January.  But my time in the city is winding down and soon I’ll be back in the desert. 

 

 

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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.

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CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office Trade team summary brochure:

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Here is a summary brochure for the Sustainable Livelihoods team at the CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire – Joint Ethiopia Office:

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Here is a summary brochure of the CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office Country Strategic Plan:

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