Strengthening WASH systems in Ethiopia Paper for the WASH systems symposium
In response to perceived weaknesses in existing approaches to delivering rural water, sanitation and hygiene (services in Ethiopia, several NGOs and alliances are developing and testing new approaches inspired by systems thinking and ideas. Common to these efforts is an interest in building the capacities of public service delivery systems that are led by local government. All these initiatives aim to support the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for WASH, which means universal, sustained and higher levels of service delivery. This significant step up in desired sector performance implies both doing different things and finding new ways of working. Until recently, the focus of most NGOs has been delivering the construction of new rural water supply facilities, effectively acting as ‘contractors’. Such facilities are handed over to communities to manage. This paper summarises the different system strengthening initiatives and makes recommendations for joint learning and collaboration. The initiatives described mainly relate to rural water services and involve NGOs taking on a wider range of roles to support innovation, learning, capacity building and change. Together the projects cover 11 woredas (districts) and 37 towns.