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46 million USD to improve access to water in Ethiopia

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46 million USD to improve access to water in Ethiopia

The Borana region of Ethiopia, inhabited by approximately 1.2 million people, faced a dire crisis in March 2023. Over 3.3 million head of livestock perished as a result of severe water scarcity, plunging more than 67,000 households into economic distress with the loss of their primary livelihoods.

Grant from the African Development Fund

For decades, the people of Ethiopia’s Borana region have endured the harsh consequences of losing their livelihoods. Climate change-induced disasters have decimated their livestock, rendering them economically vulnerable.

However, a new chapter is on the horizon, as the African Development Fund has allocated a crucial 46 million USD grant to the Borana region. This funding, designated for phase 2 of the Borana Resilient Water Development for Improved Livelihoods program, marks a pivotal investment in the well-being and future prospects of the region’s communities.

Community exclusively dependent on livestock

Located in the arid lands of the Oromia region, Borana is home to around 1.2 million inhabitants, half of whom are women. These communities rely heavily on livestock for their livelihoods, making them particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

« This is a peacebuilding program in an environment where the extremes of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, millions of head of livestock are being lost, and conflicts are intensifying between herders due to limited grazing and water supplies », says Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

Water shortage in the Borana region

As the population of the Borana region is projected to swell to 1.8 million by 2030, the demand for sustainable water and sanitation services has reached a critical juncture.

The dire consequences of water scarcity are painfully apparent in Borana. In March 2023 alone, more than 3.3 million head of livestock succumbed to the effects of water shortages, plunging over 67,000 households into economic distress with the loss of their primary livelihoods.

These staggering losses not only jeopardize the economic stability of Borana’s residents but also intensify preexisting tensions surrounding land and water resource management.

Program to facilitate access to water

The financial assistance provided by the African Development Fund (ADF) plays a pivotal role in addressing these pressing challenges. With a focus on integrated, sustainable, climate-smart, and gender-sensitive solutions, the program endeavors to enhance access to water and sanitation services for Borana’s pastoral communities.

The impact of this program extends far beyond immediate health and livelihood benefits. By investing in water infrastructure and sanitation services, the ADF is laying the groundwork for economic growth and stability in Borana.

Access to clean water and sanitation not only improves health outcomes but also empowers communities to engage in more productive endeavors. This, in turn, fosters greater resilience and prosperity within the region, paving the way for sustainable development and enhanced quality of life.

Main works to be carried out in the Borana region of Ethiopia

The grant will primarily focus on enhancing water production and transport systems spanning over 85 kilometers, thereby bolstering the region’s infrastructure. Additionally, it will fund the construction of nine reservoirs and the installation of over 142 kilometers of distribution systems, facilitating access to clean drinking water for an estimated 36,000 new consumers.

Furthermore, the program aims to install 99 water troughs, benefiting nearly 109,000 head of livestock within the community. Recognizing the pivotal role of livestock in the livelihoods of Borana’s pastoral communities, this investment is deemed crucial.

Ensuring access to water for livestock is paramount not only for their welfare but also for the economic stability of the region. Moreover, apart from enhancing water accessibility, the grant will finance real estate acquisitions and associated works aimed at mitigating climate risks in Africa.

Empowering communities to manage facilities

Furthermore, the program will strengthen community-based water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) management systems, empowering local communities to oversee and maintain the newly established facilities. This approach aims to ensure the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of these vital resources.

Osward Chanda, Director of Water and Sanitation Development at the African Development Bank Group, underscored the program’s critical role in addressing the mounting water demand in the Borana region. He emphasized its objective of mitigating the impacts of drought by implementing strategic interventions, including the development of essential water infrastructure, capacity building within institutions, and improvements in service delivery. These efforts are geared towards fostering sustainable and climate-resilient water management practices in the region.

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