AfricaSan Awards 2009
AMCOW AfricaSan Awards
Recognizing sanitation and hygiene achievements in Africa
NGO/ Civil Society
ETHIOPIA WASH MOVEMENT
Ethiopia WASH Movement is a coalition uniting more than 70 governmental, non-governmental, faith based, media, private sector organizations, UN agencies as well as individuals. The coalition was established in 2004 by concerned government and non-governmental organizations to promote behavioural change on water, sanitation and hygiene and increase the political and social commitment for progress in these areas.
The goal of the Ethiopia Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Movement is to contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality caused by lack of safe and inadequate water and poor sanitation and hygienic practices. The objectives are to promote improved water, sanitation, and hygiene, and gain the political and social commitment and endorsement required to make a difference in the country’s water, sanitation and hygiene situation. Campaign activities include multi-media messages, working with the media, and facilitating opportunities for advocacy.
While in essence a multi-stakeholder coalition, the group chose to call itself the Ethiopia WASH Movement to emphasize the extent of the social mobilization effort needed to lift WASH to the level of priority it needs. The Movement has been
exceptionally successful in spreading the WASH message and in facilitating change. Among others the WASH Movement contributed to a Memorandum of Understanding signed among the three sector ministries, and the development of a National Hygiene and Sanitation Strategy and Protocol. In a survey conducted in 2007, 55 percent of people surveyed had access to a latrine. Of these, 82.7 percent were aware of the message of the WASH Movement: water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
The Movement enables many sector actors to come together and work for one common goal. This enables them to disseminate focused messages on single topics/ themes like proper hand washing at critical times, proper human waste disposal, water quality and safe water handling etc. and to mobilize the public throughout the country with a strong collective voice. It also increases opportunities to engage continuously with the media and to be an important forum for learning and experience sharing.
Each year the WASH Movement in Ethiopia launches a new slogan that determines the Movement's focus for the year. This allows the Movement, political leaders, and community members to focus on specific issues in the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector. To date, the slogans have been "Your Health is in Your Hands" (2004-2005), "Let us Use Latrines for our Health and Dignity" (2005-2006), and "Keep Water Safe" (2006-2007).
Besides these, the Movement is engaged in organizing Global Hand Washing Day, World Toilet Day, World Water Day, Ethiopia Sanitation and Hygiene Festival etc. to promote improved sanitation and hygiene issues and messages. Currently, the movement is involved in the promotion of urban sanitation, which is complex and neglected by the sector. It is also involved in the development of local government minimum capacity package to speed up the country progress towards the achievement of Universal Access Plan by 2012 and Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The Movement also has strength when it comes to influencing the government – particularly on the need to integrate education, health and water policies and services. The Movement has shared its experience in coalition building, coordination and harmonization of sector efforts in several international forums, including Stockholm Water Week in 2006 and the AfricaSan +5 Conference in 2008.
For its contribution to the sector at national, regional and local levels, especially in coordination and harmonization of efforts among government and other sector actors; in mobilizing the public to bring behavioural change; enhancing the private sector role in the WASH sector; establishing the WASH media forum and multiplying media role in the sector among other things, WASH Ethiopia is being honoured by AMCOW and the AfricaSan Movement as the winner of the 2009 edition of the AfricaSan Awards in the NGO/Civil Society Category.