The African Water Facility catalyses the development of waste management businesses to improve sanitation services in Arba Minch, Ethiopia

02/07/2015
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The African Water Facility (AWF) announced on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 that it is providing a €1.2-million grant to the Government of Ethiopia to improve sanitation and faecal waste management in Arba Minch. The project will benefit over 21,000 people who will have access to improved toilet facilities. It will also boost local agriculture through the provision of new and affordable fertiliser.  

Specifically, the project will focus on improving and increasing the various public and private services provided along the sanitation value chain, from waste collection, to transportation and processing. This will be done by helping small private businesses better leverage the income potential of the sanitation business and earn additional profits from the sale of the byproducts of urine and faecal waste as bio-gas and fertiliser.

“The African Water facility is spearheading new ways of looking at sanitation provision in Africa,” said Acting AWF Coordinator Jean Michel Ossete. “In the past, the focus was on increasing sanitation coverage, with much less attention placed on the downstream processes of collection and handling of waste. By looking at waste as a resource, sanitation provision becomes a much more viable, effective and financially attractive enterprise.”

In addition, sanitation awareness and social marketing activities will be organised within the community and farmers’ associations to increase the demand for improved toilets and sanitation services and compost from waste, as a way to stimulate the consumer market. Training will also be provided to municipal institutions with a focus on sanitation planning to ensure the adoption of appropriate procedures, methodologies and tools to ensure the sustainability of the new sanitation system.

This project will help the municipality of Arba Minch address urgent sanitation needs at a time when its basic infrastructure and service levels are still largely inadequate, leaving more than half of the population without access to improved toilet facilities. Arba Minch – with a population of around 100,000 people – is among the fastest-growing towns of Ethiopia. The project will help increase water supply and sanitation service provision in the area, streamline interventions, build capacity from both public and private stakeholders, and meet critical infrastructure gaps.