A workshop to familiarise CSOs with the roll out of the National WASH Inventory

On Friday, 19th March 2010, the Water and Sanitation Forum of CRDA organised a workshop  to familiarise CSOs with the schedule and activities of the roll-out of the national Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Inventory, and to discuss possible CSO contributions to the exercise.

Ato Yohannes Gebre Medhin, Director, Water Supply and Sanitation, at the Ministry of Water Resources gave a keynote speech on recent developments on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) at the ministry. He highlighted the increased attention the water sector has recently received in Ethiopia evidenced by increased financing and a number of coordination structures that have been put in place. At the same time, he also raised concerns about current data on access to water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia and stressed the need to strengthen sector M&E to accurately measure progress towards the Universal Access Programme, which sets out the main sector targets until 2012.

Ato Tesfaye Woldemichael, the ministry’s M&E consultant, gave a detailed account of recent developments to roll out the national WASH inventory: importantly, the ministry set up a steering committee for the inventory which is chaired by the minister himself. This shows the weight the government attaches to making the inventory a success. He then set out a detailed timetable and put forward suggestions of how NGOs could contribute to the inventory.

NGOs raised questions on the plan to carry out the inventory in two phases – would that not distort the data set and make analysis more difficult?  The MoWR argued that the schedule was due to the upcoming elections and the rainy season. For this reason, data collection would first be carried out in emerging regions that are not affected by the rainy season during the month of July. The ministry also assured CSOs that the data of the inventory would be made available to them.

Discussions on possible CSO contributions centred on three topics: their added value in the inventory exercise, and the level and activities at which their contributions would be most effective.

There was a consensus that the added value of CSO was their presence on the ground including in remote areas. They also felt that they could contribute to capacity building and act as independent evaluators of the process.

The level at which CSO contribution is most effective depended on the type of organisation. International NGOs thought that they could contribute at all levels while indigenous CSOs felt that their contribution was most effective at the local level.

In terms of activities, CSOs suggested a whole range of activities along the inventory process like support with logistics, training and capacity building and providing links to local structures they set up such as hygiene promoters and WASH committees.

As a way forward, a suggestion was made to circulate a document in which individual CSOs would put down their geographic areas of operation and the contributions they could make to the inventory.