The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project at The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre & Network(HoA-REC&N) aims to improve human health and reduce poverty in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) of Ethiopia, through increased and sustained access to improved water supply and sanitation services. The project introduces new and innovative technologies which bring water from safer, improved sources and/or promotes proper hygiene practices in marginalised communities, with a particular focus on women and children.

The importance of clean water

We need water to drink, bathe and grow food, and a lack of useable, clean water can have devastating effects. Drinking unclean water can lead to diseases such as diarrhoea, hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and parasites, and in developing countries as much of 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions (The Water Project).

Access to safe water is an uncertainty for millions of people.

In Ethiopia, it is women and girls especially that bear the burden of collecting water for their family when there is no source at home, often walking many miles. Time spent walking and diseases contracted from dirty water can mean time away from school and work, so not only does a lack of clean water lead to disease but also poor productivity, and the cycle of poverty continues.

The project aims to improveaccess to safe water, sanitation services and hygiene practices in the CRV area of Ethiopia.

Implementation and project locations

The WASH project began implementation in 2012 with the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Dutch WASH Alliance (DWA) partner, the Inter-Church Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO). The project period is from 2012 to 2015. The project is implemented at the Central Rift Valley areas of ArsiNegelle, AdamiTulluJidoKombolcha and Dugda Districts.


The project’s main objective is to reduce poverty and improve health, environmental and economic conditions by increasing access to, and use of, safe water and sanitation services, as well as improved hygiene practices, particularly for women and other marginalised groups.

Project Partners

The project’s implementing partners are Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA), Arsi Nature Conservation and Environmental Development Association (ANCEDA), Rift Valley Children and Women Development Organization (RCWDO). Arba Minch University is a supporting partner that provides technical support and advice. Local Government sector offices and NGOs also provide additionaltechnical input and advice.

The Project Components and Technologies

The WASH project is currently focusing on the introduction of three technologies:

Ecological Sanitation

Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San) is a technology which recycles human waste and wastewater. It uses excreta and wastewater and transforms these inputs into outputs that can be used as natural fertilisers for agriculture, providing a hygienically safe and economical system that protects human health by:

  • providing improved sanitation services;
  • reducing pathogens from excreta into the water cycle;
  • promoting nutrient recycling and, in turn, soil fertility;
  • conserving resources by lowering water consumption and fertiliser use; and
  • improving agricultural productivity and food securityby the recycling of nutrients and organic matter.

The WASH project is helping install Arboloo ‘Eco-Sanitation’ latrines in communities in the project target areas, whereby a layer of leaves is put over the pit in the ground to cover it. Every time the latrine is used, soil and ash is added to the waste, allowing it to slowly compost. Nine to twelve months later, enough waste has been converted to usable compost for farmers to use as fertiliser.

By supporting the installation of Eco-Sanitation latrines, the WASH project is helping maintain healthy communities and natural environments in the project implementing areas. The project supported 153 households to construct Eco-San toilet facilities and this resulted in 765 people able to access improved sanitation services in 2012, of which 262 are females.

The installation of Eco-Sanitation latrines is also accompanied by awareness raising activities about the proper use and application of the latrines.

Low Cost Manual Well Drilling

Rural areas in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) of Ethiopia suffer from lack of sufficient access to clean water for both domestic use and irrigation. Assisting the community to access improved water will fundamentally improve their health and livelihoods.

The WASH project has brought manual well drilling technology to CRV communities, providing safe and easy access to underground water, which is often less polluted than river water. The water from wells can also be used by farmers to irrigate their fields so contributes to better crop yields and higher incomes for the farmer.

So far a total of three hand dug well water pumps have been introduced and 849 people now have access to improved water supply within the project areas. Making sure the wells are properly operated and maintained is also fundamental to the projects effectiveness and therefore training and awareness raising activities have been delivered in target communities, and a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCO) established.

Water purification through the use of Moringa

The Moringa tree is indigenous to the Horn of Africa, and itsseeds offer a cost-effective and accessible water purification solution. The WASH project has begun to promote the use of Moringa seeds as means of purifying water by raisingawareness and training local communities and distributing Moringa seedlings to the project beneficiaries from its Moringa nursery sites.

WASH Project Achievements in 2012

  • Enhanced awareness of sanitation and hygiene practices. A total of 3,737 people now have a greater awareness of sanitation and hygiene practices, and 134 people received training on Eco-San toilet construction. An awareness campaign was also executed.
  • Increased access to sanitation services.One hundred and fifty-three Eco-San toilets have been constructed and 765 people are accessing sanitation services.
  • Increased access to improved water supply.Hand dug well technologies are now serving 849 people, and of these 440 females have access to improved drinking water supply.
  • Moringa nursery development and seedling distribution.Moringa seedlings were distributed and planted in the project’s target areas at household levels.
  • Established and developed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCO) structure in the target areas at thekebele level.
  • Conducted training for model household heads in the target area on the use of Moringa as a tool for water purification.


Dutch WASH Alliance (DWA), Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA), ArsiNegelle Nature Conservation and Environmental Development Association (ANCEDA), Rift Valley Children and Women Development Organization (RCWDO), Ethiopia WASH Alliance (EWA), district sector offices and committees.

WASH Project Coordinator