COWASH Phase III Planning Workshop Held
Community-Led Accelerated WASH (COWASH) Phase III planning workshop was held on 25th of September in Addis Ababa. It was announced during the workshop that the Government of Finland is willing to support COWASH that assists the implementation of Community Managed Project (CMP) approach for three more years from July 2016-June 2019.
H.E. Kebede Gerba, state minister at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, who was the guest of honor on the occasion hailed Government of Finland’s support to Ethiopian WASH sector that spans two decades. Noting the contribution of COWASH II in the attainment of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) I, National Development Plan from 2010-2015, Kebede stated that the next phase will play pivotal role in complimenting the next five years GTP.
Ms. Tiina Byring- Ilboudo, representing the Embassy of Finland in Addis Ababa, expressed Finnish government’s satisfaction not only with the achievements of the project but also with the way it has been done; CMP approach. This is a rural water supply implementation modality where communities are planners, implementers and managers of their projects.
The current political environment in Finland has been highly critical towards development cooperation and significant budget cuts have been taking place across sectors. In this context the COWASH financing arrangement where Governments of Finland and Ethiopia are sharing the project costs in equal terms, being at the core of COWASH implementation principles, has proved to be successful and defied the odds against the continuation of COWASH.
It was underscored that the current implementation design in which Finnish funds are only for capacity building activities whereas all investment costs are from the government of Ethiopia and the beneficiary community is set to continue. Likewise, the management structure of the project where Federal Technical Assistance Team and Regional Support Units handle the capacity building roles will also be in place in the next three years of the project.
The bilateral project with 33 Million Euro is set to continue in the existing five regions; namely Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples and Benishangul Gumuz. Similarly, the third phase of this project will assist the same 76 districts in the implementation of CMP. In the upcoming phase, technological options remain open while simple technologies are still highly recommended.
Unlike the current phase, which terminates June 2016, 2 million Euros of the funds of the next phase, out of the 13 million Euros of the Government of Finland’s contribution, will go to the Consolidate WASH Account (CWA) - the pooled financial account in which development partners channel finances for the implementation and management of WASH projects in the country.
It is to be recalled that the team assigned to prepare the future Finnish assistance to WASH sector in Ethiopia is instructed to develop the program document of the COWASH III by 9th of October 2015.