Updated: Friday 01 February 2019

Count Me In Training Module for Inclusive WASH Launched.

A workshop aimed at rolling out an inclusive WASH programme in Ethiopia with the theme “ Count me in” was launched 29th January 2019 at CCRDA Meeting hall in attendance of various WASH Stakeholders, Government and Non-Government Partners, UNICEF Ethiopia, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and COWASH representatives.

Bethelem Mengistu, Country Director of Action Aid made a warm welcome speech and noted the need to include persons with disabilities in WASH programmes. She mentioned the initiative was technically supported by Open University and the intent of the guide is to provide inclusive guide for various WASH actors for both the implementers, donors and the policy advocates. Bethelem assures Water Aid’s support to provide technical support in the future. Bethelem expressed her hope as “My hope is to see the guide will develop a sector knowledge to facilitate and promote inclusion of persons with disabilities become a norm and not an exceptions.”.

Following Bethelem’s welcome note, Tamiru Gedefa , Water Supply, study, design, construction and Monitoring Directorate Director, read a key note address sent by State Minister, his Excellency Dr. Negash. According to H.E inclusive WASH is a key priority for government. He assured government’s support to the existing and current initiatives and regret for his absence due to urgent top priority elsewhere. In his note, he thanked Water Aid and other WASH Stakeholders who have pioneered inclusive WASH in the county. He promised to own inclusive WASH and encouraged stakeholders to embrace Inclusive WASH.

Consequently, Gizachew Berhanu, Project Coordinator, Federations of Ethiopian National Association of Persons with Disabilities, ( FENAPD) made key note address on behalf of Abayneh Wujo, the Executive Director of FENAPD who was not able to attend due to access issues. The Executive Director of FENAPD states that issue of disability is an issue of 19 million people in Ethiopia. He noted that persons with disability have been denied of access to water which is heavy to fetch. He underlined issue of inclusiveness in all aspects of life and water in particular.

W/o Lakech Haile, Gender, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at National WASH Coordination Office made a presentation on “ Equity and Inclusion” in WASH sector. Lakech highlighted how inclusive is viewed in her Ministry and shared the prevailing challenges of inclusion. According to Lakech, challenges includes “ attitude towards persons with disabilities, lack of disaggregated data on persons of disabilities towards inclusion. She also made a call to action on more investment to be made on inclusion. She also called upon to bring behaviour change on inclusiveness and promoted Participation of all with no limitations. As a way forward, Lakech, promoted Inclusive plans to be made at all levels and to make inclusive approach a mandatory approach.

Pam- Furniss, Director of OPEN WASH and Ellen Scott, Open WASH Senior Project Manager at the Open University in charge presented the “Count Me In” document to all participants.

Mr. Arto Suominen, COWASH Federal Team, Chief Technical Adviser, covered the facilitation fortress very well. Unlike many other meetings where you run out of time, Mr. Arto, chaired the meeting quite smooth and in time.

Round of applause, for all participants who committed to take issues of inclusion a serious matter. Count me in! Inclusive WASH roll-out workshop concluded with launch of an implementation guide shared to partners and stakeholders.

We would like to use this opportunity to call upon all our partners and Stakeholders to make inclusion of persons with Disabilities become a norm than an exception. We echo with WaterAid Ethiopia and all like-minded organisations to promote inclusion in all fronts. "Count me in" inclusive WASH roll out meeting continued after tea break.

For those who look for more information on the Count Me In document, please visit