Communities living in the rural parts of Ethiopia are hardly having access to clean and potable water, while big rivers flow across these rural areas. Lack of access to clean drinking water coupled with inadequate sanitation facilities and poor level of community awareness on hygiene largely account for water – borne and other related diseases. Further, it causes women, girls and children to travel long distances to fetch water, which interfere with the children’s regular school attendance.
To ease the adverse consequences of chronic shortage of water, DICAC by the virtue of its funding partners has expanded its interventions in the water and sanitation sector. To this effect, in 1988 the Commission established a water unit in collaboration with Water Aid – UK, one of the largest funding partners of DICAC. Later, this unit was promoted to department level and has expanded its horizons with the objectives of:-
- Improving the health status of the disadvantaged communities, specifically the rural and semi-urban dwellers of the country.
- Taking part in the country’s development endeavor using the existing Orthodox Tewahdo church structural network from grass root level to the top level that give a good opportunity for sustainable development
- Giving awareness on environmental sanitation, personal hygiene and water-borne diseases through continuous health education and training
- Providing clean, safe and adequate water at low cost in a community level with manageable technologies by promoting “User pays” principle so that financial sustainability will be ensured,
- Capacitating and empowering the target communities by giving pertinent trainings such as water technician training, water and sanitation committees training, community hygiene promoters training, clergymen and Kebele leaders training, generators and motor operators training etc.,
- Taking part in the establishment and strengthening of the wereda water desks in DICAC intervention weredas, which will assist the community in operation and maintenance after handing over to users,
- Satisfying the water supply requirements of beneficiary communities, livestock and use of the excess water for traditional irrigation and other sanitation facilities that contribute to health and better quality of life when the condition permits,
- Enhancing genuine community participation for sustainability of the projects outcomes and replication.