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African Development Fund grants Ethiopa $46 million to improve access to water and sanitation

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund in Abidjan on 28 February 2024, donated $46.02 million to Ethiopia to implement Phase 2 of the Borana Resilient Water Development for Improved Livelihoods Program in the country’s south.

Financial support from the African Development Bank Group’s concessional rate loans window is intended to improve access to integrated, sustainable, climate-smart, gender-sensitive water supply and sanitation services for pastoral communities in the arid lands of the Borana area, in the Oromia region.

Borana’s estimated population of 1.2 million people, of whom half are women, is growing rapidly and projected to reach 1.8 million by 2030. Most rely on pastoralism for their livelihood and are therefore subject to the effects of varying rainfall levels and recurrent droughts that lead to water insecurity. As of March 2023, over 3.3 million livestock have died of water scarcity in the region, leaving over 67,000 households without livelihoods. The climate impacts on pasture and water availability also tend to exacerbate tensions over land and water resources.

“This is a peace-building program in an environment where the extremes of climate change are increasingly manifesting, millions of livestock are lost, and conflicts are increasing among pastoralist due to limited pastures and water supply,” said Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

The African Development Fund grant will be used mainly to build and optimize water production and transport systems over more than 85 kilometres. It will also be used to build 9 reservoirs, distribution systems (142.6 kilometres) and connections to give 36,000 new users access to drinking water. In addition, 99 watering troughs will be installed for almost 109,000 head of livestock. The program will also help fund property acquisitions and associated works and services (including overseeing construction) aimed at reducing the climate risks associated with providing multi-purpose drinking water supply and sanitation services. It will also strengthen community-level WASH management systems to support the operation and maintenance of the installed facilities.

“This program responds to the critical challenge of rising water demand in Borana region and intends to mitigate the effects of drought, supporting solutions such as the development of key water infrastructure, institutional capacity building, and enhancing service delivery for sustainable and climate-resilient water provision,” said Osward Chanda, Director, Water Development and Sanitation at African Development Bank Group.

In addition to modernizing sanitary facilities in schools and health centres, the program will fund the construction of public sanitary facilities and run hygiene awareness campaigns, and also provide capacity building and technical assistance on regulating water services at the regional and woreda (district) levels. To fund the maintenance of rural supply systems, the program will help a rural water utility, which — in consultation with the users – will develop applicable tariffs to operate and maintain the new facilities.

Finally, the program plans to strengthen the management frameworks for catchments that are resilient to climate change and to implement practical adaptation measures for ecosystems, landscapes, and resistant, sustainable livelihoods as well as smarter water management systems.

The rural and peri-urban communities in the Borana area, who are mainly pastoralists and low-income households, especially women and young people, are the program beneficiaries.  An estimated 35,816 people will benefit from access to water supply services, of whom half are women. Some 21,000 people, of whom at least half are also women, will benefit from better access to basic sanitation services.

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