• Written by Kathelyne van den Berg
    24 May 2023

By Luuk Diphoorn and Kathelyne van den Berg

For the second time this year we got the chance to join our MFSII Alliance partners in visiting the countries in which they will be active the coming 5 years. This time we travelled to Ethiopia , a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It’s one of the few countries in Africa that has never actually been colonised. Just as our previous visit to Uganda and Kenya in May this year, we participated in activities linked to both the WASH and Connect4Change Alliances. For a recap of what we did then, you can take a look at the blogs (Uganda, Uganda 2, Kenya) we wrote up at the time.

UN vehicles gathering at the parking lot of our hotel in Awash, Afar Region, Ethiopia. Photo by Kathelyne van den Berg.

In May the Alliance activities were still in the very early stages, with the focus on partner selection and discussing initial steps that were to be undertaken. Now, beginning October the selection of partners is as good as finalized, with most contracts between Northern and Southern partners in place. The development of program plans for 2011 and beginning 2012 is in its final stages. The reality however ended up being somewhat different than what we had expected when we boarded our flight from Amsterdam.

We kicked-off our week with meetings with the main local partners for Connect4Change in Ethiopia: the Development Education Center (DEC) and Facilitators for Change (FC). The DEC acts as the local frontline office of Edukans (link website Edukans) being responsible for the sector Education, while FC is ICCO’s main partner in Ethiopia with a focus on Economic Development.

Aniley Amentie, who is acting director of the DEC, explained that for him it was still a bit confusing having to work with so many various actors. He also felt that at times there was still a lack of who was responsible for what. For him Akvo was just another new partner. After we had the opportunity to present our role and activities in the Alliance, all was much clearer. He even suggested that the use of Akvo RSR by all partners could help in the overall communication in the program between Northern and Southern partners. Especially the meeting with DEC proved to be an eye-opener for us. Luuk got the chance to do a video interview Etefa Merga, the coordinator within DEC for C4C.

Kathelyne joined in on a field visit together with Olaf Erz (IICD), Etefa Merga (DEC), Seble Lemma (ICE-Ethiopia and Seleshi Legass (IWCIDA). To get an idea of the schools that will be involved in the C4C education programme here in Ethiopia they visited two primary schools, one in Solulta and one in Chancho, Oromiya region. You can read more in an RSR project update by Etafe Merga here.


Library in Primary school in Chancho, Ethiopia.

We’ve been able to draft both C4C programs in Ethiopia online. We still need to discuss with the partners to get the necessary adjustments in place so that we can finalize the programs soon. The DEC education program can be viewed here and the Facilitator for Change Economic Development program here.

There was a 3-day workshop with the members of the WASH Alliance Ethiopia taking place in Addis Ababa. We joined for one day on Tuesday, 20 September. Below you can see which organisations joined in on the workshop.
The WASH Alliance members in Ethiopia: HCS-Ripple, Meta Meta, Hoarec, WaterAID, AMREF Ethiopia, GTF, and AFD.
The Dutch WASH Alliance members: AMREF, RAIN, ICCO, Akvo

The Dutch WASH Alliance has developed somewhat of a unique approach. Where as in The Netherlands partners join forces to tackle water and sanitation, it is expected of local partners in the countries where activities take place to do the same. Just as this process of ‘Alliance building’ was challenging in The Netherlands, the same is the case here in Ethiopia. It became apparent that not all the contracts were in place yet between the Northern and Southern partners, eventhough discussions had been taking place all year. Some parties were therefore reluctant to start planning for activities while these issues were still not sorted out. While on paper working together with various organisations seams straightforward, in reality it is very challenging.

During the coffee break in the morning Luuk shot a short video interview with Zemede Abede, which he then showed to the group during the afternoon presentation. This proved to be an excellent example on how one can do Really Simple Reporting (RSR) in Real Time. We also got the chance to welcome Tamene Chaka as the new Country Coordinator for the WASH Alliance in Ethiopia.

After the workshop we joined in a field visit to Awash, one of the two areas in Ethiopia where the WASH Alliance will be active in the coming years. The trip was organised by AMREF Ethiopia. In the video below you can see Joris van Oppenraaij, from AMREF Netherlands and country coordinator for Ethiopia, describe how he felt the whole week went.

Insert video Joris: https://blip.tv/akvo/joris-van-oppenraaij-from-amref-netherlands-in-ethiopia-5589525

Pictures from our trip can be seen on Kathelyne’s and Luuk’s Flickr accounts. Other video interviews held that week are:
Adam Abate

Luuk is project coordinator for Akvo, and Kathelyne is program manager for Connect4Change.

"Kathelyne van der Berg is Akvo's Chief Financial Officer and has been a co-director of the organisation since 2014. You can follow her on Twitter @Kathelyne