Research Dissemination in Ethiopia – Measuring functionality and performance levels

By Tseguereda Abraham, Zinash Kefale (WaterAid Ethiopia) and Dessie Nedaw (Addis Ababa University)
25 April 2019

WaterAid in collaboration with Addis Ababa University recently conducted workshops with two Ethiopian Universities to begin to disseminate some of the key research from the first major survey phase of the project – these were held at Bahir Dar University (16t April 2019) and Mekelle University ( 18 April 2019).

Both workshops were attended by over 30 WASH academics, including academics and lecturers, in addition to post-graduate students and University staff, and staff of the Nile Basin Development office.

Dr Dessie Nedaw and Dr Seifu Kebede (Addis Ababa University) introduced the Hidden Crisis project to both workshops.  The workshops then presented the project work to define functionality using a tiered approach and the field methods used to assess different performance levels within a rapid survey.  The different levels of functionality defined and assessed by the project are:

  1. Binary Functionality – is the water point working and delivering some water (yes/no)
  2. Functionality: yield snapshot – does the water point work and provide sufficient yield (10 L/min) on the day of the survey
  3. Functionality: reliable yield – does the water point provide sufficient yield (10 L/min) on the day of survey, is it reliable (<30 days downtime in last year) or abandoned (not worked in past year)?
  4. Reliable yield and water quality – as 3 above, and also passes WHO guidelines

Key findings from the data collected by the first major survey phase in Ethiopia were presented and discussed. 

Participants were particularly interested in the methods used to assess functionality, and including reliable yield and water quality.  The key points of both workshop discussions centred around:

  • Whether population expansion and service over use has been considered as a criteria?
  • How seasonality has been accounted for in measuring reliability?
  • The basis for selecting a down time for 30 days as a measure of ‘reliability’? And variations across Regions and woredas/districts
  • What success will look like in the context of Ethiopia and why universal access is not happening anywhere?
  • How the UPGro Hidden Crisis work relates to the functionality challenge in Ethiopia and achieving the SDG targets for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
  • Which type of pumps were considered in the study and why?
  • Water security issues in Ethiopia and how some issues are preventable though a well implemented water safety plan? Water quality parameters can also vary by type of target area.
  • How the sampling was done and what a representative sample was also another area of interest.
  • The role of the political economy and an entire chain of drivers and barriers, which determine functionality, as well as technological issues and physical

There was also interest in how the work could be applied to lowland areas for regions such as Tigray, Somali and Afar.

Both universities showed real interest in several areas of potential follow-up, and areas of more in-depth dissemination were identified, including:

  • Encouraging similar studies by students
  • Engaging the Water bureau and districts for them to be regularly measuring functionality using the tiered approach
  • Arranging another workshop to share Research II findings and how it applies to the Region

Bahir Dar Institute of Technology have shared already the workshop photos and news in their website.

Dr Seifu Kebede presenting key research findings from Ethiopia in the first major survey phase of the UPGro Hidden Crisis project.
Dr Dessie Nedaw presenting the field methods and approach to assess the functionality and performance levels of handpumped boreholes.
Both workshops were attended by >30 academics, lecturers in addition to post graduate students.

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