By Muluken Yewondwossen
In Capital Newspaper, Monday, 26 December 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government is introducing the Community Management Project (CMP), a new program, using the national WASH Implementation Framework to achieve the Universal Access Plan for water supply, sanitation and hygiene programs.
The new scheme that was tested by a program supported by the Finnish government in Amhara and Benshangul Gumuz regional states for over a decade will become a benchmark for the CMP.
The Finnish project known as the Community Development Fund (CDF) has already been successfully tested in rural areas of the two regional states. Now the principle and basic procedures of the CDF approach are built into the WASH Implementation Framework.
On Thursday December 22 a Community-Led Accelerated WaSH (COWASH), a bilateral project supporting the government’s efforts to scale up the CMP financing modality as per the WASH Implementation Framework, officially launched its operation in the presence of government officials and the ambassador of Finland.
This project office has three components; strengthening of the federal capacity for implementation of the CMP financing mechanism, strengthening the regional capacity and systems for implementation of the CMP financing mechanism in ‘new’ regions where applicable and feasible, and scaling-up of community-led WASH and implementation of CMP financing mechanism in the Amhara region.
According to the plan, five regions will implement the community management program: SNNP, Tigray, Oromia and the two regions that were previously tested. Eventually plans are for it to be implemented everywhere. The new program attempts to get the local community involved in addressing their own water issues.
“We were transferring funds for the community via credit and saving institutions, while they developed springs or dig wells,” Melaku Worku, process facilitation specialist of COWASH, explained.
The CMP mechanism also transfers funds and project management responsibilities for physical construction directly to communities and they are also responsible for the water supply development process through planning, implementation and maintenance.
In the remaining three and half years of the GTP the government will have to increase our rural water supply access from 71.3 percent to 98.
“This means that we have to provide functional water supply service close to 29 million rural people in the remaining four years,” Kebede Gerba, state minister of Water and Energy said at the launch of the program at Queen of Sheba Hotel.
“As a response to this demand we have revised our water supply and sanitation strategy known as ‘WaSH Implementation Framework,’” the minister said. The strategy is to establish one national WaSH program to achieve the target. “In this strategy the government introduced new and previously tested approaches for rural water supply called ‘CMP’”, he added.
Total commitment of funds for CMP up to 2015 is Euro 6.6 million from the government, Euro 26.5 million from UNICEF and Euro 33.4 million from the Finland government, while regional states also agreed to fund millions of birr for the project.
“The project is very necessary; this kind of community based management system project is most efficient on cost and the output is higher than other methods,” Leo Olasvirta, ambassador of Finland, told Capital.
The ambassador said that his country has been funding similar projects for over 17 years and currently Finland is supporting up to Euro 30 million per annum for Ethiopia.
Ramboll Finland Oy and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, lead by Arto Suominen, are providing technical assistance support to the Ministry of Water and Energy and targeted regions to apply the CMP approach.