UNICEF Ethiopia is, in partnership with mentor utilities and other system-strengthening institutions, supporting over 20 water and sanitation utilities serving small/medium towns and refugee-host communities across the country. Over the past six years several approaches for utility strengthening have been introduced and are being piloted. These include (i) utility shadowing providing full operational, technical, commercial, and strategic system strengthening; or (ii) targeted strategic system strengthening support on prioritized areas during a limited timeframe by consortia of consultants and mentor utilities or (iii) short-term technical support by the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute, mainly focusing on technical areas. Recently, UNICEF has also engaged in (iv) a Water Operator Partnership (WOP) programme with GWOPA.
This session highlights some of the approaches and lessons learned from different perspectives. UNICEF will provide an overview of the different utility system strengthening approaches, after which IRC-WASH/VEI will zoom in on their experience in providing targeted system strengthening to water and sanitation utilities in medium towns. Two other water and sanitation utilities from Ambo and Woloita Sodo towns will then present how they benefited from mentorship programmes becoming local mentor utilities. Finally, the session will provide an opportunity for a larger panel, including Uganda National Water Sewerage Company and the Ethiopian Water Supply and Sewerage Services Federation (EUWSSSF), to discuss opportunities to expand utility system strengthening support and to develop a domestic WOP network in Ethiopia. Questions on “Network-to-network” capacity building and building on existing practices will be addressed with the objective of scaling up the capacity of urban water and sanitation service delivery.
The main objective of the session is to explore current initiatives of Water and Sanitation Utilities strengthening in different contexts in Ethiopia and to discuss approaches for mobilizing domestic collaboration between utilities. The session provides an opportunity to dissect the lessons learned from utility system strengthening approaches and initiatives in Ethiopia and how to scale them further up
Moderator: Ann Bousquet, GWOPA
Presentation 1: By Lavuun Verstraete, WASH Manager at UNICEF Ethiopia. Title: “Supporting the Enabling Environment for Utility system Strengthening through different approaches in Ethiopia” (10 min)
Presentation 2: By Michael Abera, Programme manager at IRC Ethiopia representing IRC-WASH and VEI. Title: “Utility system strengthening. The enabling environment for improving utility performance” (10 min)
Presentation 3: Habtamu Fanta Tassewu, Woloita-Sodo Utility Head representing Woloita Sodo Town Water Supply and Sewerage Corporation and Ambo Water Supply and Sewerage Service Enterprise. Title: “Experiences with Utility Mentee-ship and Becoming Mentor Utilities” (10 min).
Q&A related to presentations (15 min)Panel discussion, moderated by Anne Bousquet, GWOPA (45 min): Discussion on current Water and Sanitation Utilities strengthening initiatives in Ethiopia, and strengthening in-country collaboration between utilities. How can the current initiatives catalyse the establishment of a domestic Ethiopian Water Operator Partnership Network?