Today the Ethiopia WASH Alliance was formally launched, at the Harmony Hotel in Addis Ababa. The group has been at work since last year, but as is the way with these things, a moment was needed for an official kick-off. Last week a similar launch took place in Kenya.

All of the projects being implemented in Ethiopia are going live online, using Akvo RSR – you can see them coming on stream here.

Just as the central Dutch WASH Alliance is a consortium of Dutch NGOs working jointly on water and sanitation related issues, such a consortium also exists in Ethiopia. The partners that are now members of the Ethiopia WASH Alliance are: AMREF Ethiopia, RiPPLE, WaterAid Ethiopia, HoAREC, HCS, AFD, and MetaMeta. Representatives from each organisation were present, plus some special guests, including the Ministry of Water, the Dutch Embassy, and the Finnish Embassy.

Funded by Dutch international development aid budgets, the programme is geographically active within two regions in Ethiopia, namely Oromiya and Afar. Changes over the past few years in how aid spend was structured have created quite a disruption in the established structures and processes – indeed Akvo is a part of that change – but the Alliance is now really taking off in Ethiopia and new partnerships are starting to make a real difference in providing water and sanitation in new innovative ways locally. I took some pictures today, which you can see on Flickr here.

I also got a chance to talk with Tamene Chaka, the coordinator of the Ethiopia WASH Alliance, who organised the launch. Below Tamene gives his perspective on what the launch was all about.

I’m also here in Ethiopia to provide an Akvo RSR training workshop to all the members of the alliance. Some partners of our Connect4Change Alliance in Ethiopia will also be present.

Luuk Diphoorn is based in Nairobi and is leading Akvo’s East Africa Strategy.