Although some progress has been made over the last 20 years to provide safe water, only around 30% of rural populations have an improved source within a 30-minute trip from their house. Many rely on unprotected sources which are open to contamination, and the lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities is the second biggest driver of death and disease in Ethiopia.
Water hand pumps and protected springs are vital infrastructure in rural communities, with many installed over the past decades through government or grant-funded programmes. However, without regular maintenance they fall into disrepair and without support, the communities often don’t have enough funds to pay for repair. Carbon finance offers an ongoing finance mechanism to rehabilitate and maintain rural water infrastructure over several years, whilst building the capacity of communities to manage water sources in the future. CO2balance are partnering with Vita to certify their Ethiopia projects under the Gold Standard.
Every water point that is rehabilitated provides a community with clean, safe water; each community is assisted in forming Water Committees to manage the water as a vital resource, keeping water point area clean and free from contamination sources. The project also supports a programme of community-led total sanitation, focusing on behaviour change to improve the wider hygiene and sanitation practices within communities, needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements.
For many, the provision of the water point offers a convenient source of safe water that reduces the drudgery of having to travel long distances to collect water, or spend many hours collecting the fuel to boil water. This is time that can be spent on other activities within the household, studying, economic activity, or time spent with the family.