Systems strengthening for sustainable urban WASH services: experiences from WaterAid Ethiopia’s 20 town capacity development programme

Millions of dollars of investments are being made in improving and expanding infrastructure for water supplies in Ethiopia’s small towns. However, such investments do not systematically include budget provision for capacity building of those who will operate and sustain the systems. In this learning note we describe a WaterAid Ethiopia project that has effectively filled the capacity development gap in 20 towns across the country.

This note documents experiences, costs, successes and lessons learned from the ongoing five-year-long capacity strengthening programme in Ethiopia, supported by Yorkshire Water and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity. It provides an overview of the approach taken to developing capacity, and shows that a small investment in capacity development can be catalytic (and essential) in maximising the impacts and sustainability of urban WASH programmes.

This note was commissioned by WaterAid Ethiopia and developed by Will Tillett (Aguaconsult), with inputs from Harold Lockwood (Aguaconsult) and Manaye Siyoum, Haile Dinku and Bethlehem Mengistu from WaterAid Ethiopia.