Workshop on Demand-Led sanitation held

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Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) organized a workshop on Demand-Led Sanitation (DLS) in Ethiopia where a research paper on the issue was presented to different stakeholders and experts in the water and sanitation sector.

The research done on Ethiopia that has been discussed at the workshop held at Inter Continental Addis on Friday August 9 identifies core issues regarding the up scaling DLS such as social, environmental and economical factors.
“Research on specific sanitation issues and informing of best practices regarding sanitation is key to ensuring a direct positive impact on the lives of the poor and the fight for a prosperous and dignified Africa,” said Patrick Apoya, Director of WSA Think Tank, a project that works to bring innovative and sustainable solution for problems related to water, sanitation and hygiene. The Think Tank project also works to narrow knowledge gap and connecting policy and practice in Africa in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).  
The research paper presented was aimed at understanding the enhancing and consternating factors that influence the potential for the scaling up demand led approaches in Africa. The research is divided into three parts with the first being a desk study on several different countries where DSL has been widely implemented with varying successes attained, the second one being a detailed assessment of three chosen countries and the third one being the development of a model for scaling up DSL in Africa, through the out come of the first and second phases.
During the workshop, several projects undertaken by several international organizations were reviewed and discussed. Out of those was Plan International Ethiopia, an NGO that started to introduce Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in 14 Kebeles since March 2007 and build latrines increasing the coverage in those Kebeles to nearly a 100 percent.
The research paper states that the Ethiopian government should increase efforts to scale up DSL as it can help accelerate the achievement of the MDG target on sanitation to full coverage.
The research paper also commends the works in Ethiopia. “There is a good system for coordination of sanitation in place and specifically for CLTSH interventions.  The policy environment is supportive of Sanitation and by extension Demand Led Approach. Government and development actors clearly are committed to capacity development especially on an ongoing base. The involvement and commitment of the health directorates suggested the availability of required resources for CLTSH implementation” reads the research. “However; Monitoring and Evaluation needs to be strengthened to ensure that the CLTSH is being scaled up sustainably and with quality”.
The other area of discussion was on soil pollution which is among the many environmental problems in the country. The research warned that soil contamination might cause a svere problem in the future. “Indeed, due to lack of proper education on the best ways of using fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture workers are not using adequately these chemical products. The end result is soil contamination. Agriculture is not the only contributor to land pollution in Ethiopia. There are less available sources on the other contributors to land pollution in Ethiopia. But one can imagine the contribution of waste water in urban settings” reads the research.
In view of this Plan International Ethiopia is planning to start Urban CLTS approach. Introducing CLTS in urban context will require more attention to location and treatment option of latrines.
“Most communities, especially those in the drier parts of the country, must rely upon exploitation of ground water re¬sources for year-round drinking water. As population pres¬sure grows and other water resource demands increase, sustainable fresh water supplies will become increasingly difficult to secure. Many hand dug wells and springs, and even shallow drilled wells, already fail dur¬ing the dry season. Of particular concern are parts of Somali, Afar, and Tigrai regions where water resources are barely sufficient to meet projected needs. The lack of access to water can be a limitation to taking CLTSH at scale in these regions” further reads the research advising all stake holders to do more.
The Government of Ethiopia reports that 60 percent of the total population now having access to sanitation facilities (56% in rural areas) whilst the Joint Monitoring Report of WHO and UNICEF released in 2010 estimates rural sanitation access, including basic and shared facilities, at 29 percent as of 2008.