Community Managed WASH Projects Inaugurated
The community-Led Accelerated WASH (COWASH) supported community managed WASH projects in four kebeles of Bambasi district in Benishangul Gumuz national regional state were inaugurated from 28-30 July 2015. Representatives from sector bureaus and offices at regional and federal level respectively including the Federal COWASH Technical Assistance Team and Regional Support Unit witnessed the official opening of six water points to the public.
Bambasi, one of the four COWASH districts in the region, is the first to inaugurate a community managed safe water supply schemes and sanitation and hygiene facilities done in COWASH project. Effective of the inaugurations dates, the newly constructed water points, all hand dug wells, will benefit 1,821 people out of 8,044-a total population of the four kebeles. It was also reported on the inauguration ceremonies that out of 286,973 Birr, the total construction cost, 27.28 % was covered by the communities.
“These are the projects that you planned and nicely executed right from the start. Other parties such as government has only been assisting the project technically,” says Beshir Nugura, representative of the district administration, addressing the communities who were booming with happiness and confidence.
Arto Suominen, Chief Technical Advisor of Federal COWASH Technical Assistance Team, while congratulating communities on their impressive successes, called them to regularly maintain the schemes. Recognizing the fact that domestic containers are the major cause of water contamination, Mr. Suominen strongly recommended that the communities should establish regular container cleaning events.
Abdulselam Yasin, head of water, mine and energy office of the district, stated that sustainability of these facilities is ensured only if community continues that same vibrant participation witnessed during the implementation phase of the projects. “Operation and maintenance activities are not to be left to water, sanitation and hygiene committees (WASHCOs). It is crucial that every member of the community carries this responsibility in post implementation period,” concludes the head.
On the inauguration ceremony, at the presence of the community and invitees, WASHCOs have organized and delivered a performance report. Communities are briefed on construction cost which is the sum of a contribution from community and government. The committee also highlighted challenges that encountered and mitigation remedies. Delay in budget release that drag the excavation activities to the raining period was the one of a few major challenges stated overtly and repeatedly. However, though sporadic interruptions, there is no project discontinued claim WASHCO reports.
The events also provided the community with the opportunity to review the performance of the committee and community. It is also a forum where community decides on the amount of the water tariff and matters related to guarding of the water points. “For us, this safe water supply is as important as the blood vessel. Now we have safe water. Yet because of our sheer number, we still need more,” says Workine Kebede, beneficiary of the project.