Voices from the source: struggles with local water security in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, Water

Voices from the source (4.2MB, pdf) explores how access to water, or a lack of it, affects the lives of people and their communities in two kebele (villages) in the rural Konso special woreda of Ethiopia. It looks at the pressures on water security; how different communities have responded and the impacts on their lives; and what the public policy and institutional priories should be to improve resilience at a local level.

The research highlights four groups of responses to water insecurity:

  • Water – Choices about water. Economising on water; using different water sources
  • Life – Making difficult life choices. Compromising productive activity; maternal and reproductive roles; prioritising uses of water
  • Money – Spending money. Self-supply, transport hire, labour hire, water vending 
  • Social – Using social networks. Labour sharing, water lending, share-collecting 

ODI and IDS were commissioned to carry out the work, in partnership with RiPPLE and the University of Addis Ababa. The report was accompanied by a photo exhibition. 

WaterAid’s Policy and Campaigns Department commissioned this study as part of its work to improve understanding of the reality of water in people’s lives. It contributes to WaterAid’s advocacy efforts to promote the equitable distribution of water resources and protect the rights of the poor to access safe and affordable water and sanitation. 

Contact Daniel Yeo ([email protected]) for more information about WaterAid’s work on water security and climate change.