The Protecting Lake Hawassa (PLH) partnershipin Ethiopia’s Sidama Region was established in 2018 with the aim of mitigating the environmental and social pressures affecting Lake Hawassa. PLH drives and facilitates multi-stakeholder engagement from private, public sector and civil society to safeguard the lake and its ecosystem, ensuring sustainable economic growth in Hawassa City and the sub-catchment.
NatuReS supported partner efforts throughout these years, recognizing the many successes partners have achieved. These include the collection of 1.2 tons of plastics daily, preventing pollution of the lake, the rehabilitation of 300 hectares of farm and grazing land, as well as the safeguarding and creation of more than 3.000 jobs and 36 million euros in investments.
Stewardship has proven a successful approach to protecting Lake Hawassa! Now, activities will be scaled up with additional funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)-commissioned GIZ-Biodiversity and Forestry Program.
The Problem: Plastic Waste in the Rivers of Addis Ababa
Rivers in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa are living witnesses to the extent of environmental pollution in the city. When looking at causes of river pollution in urban settings, the one that sticks out most is waste. It is very unpleasant to walk by a river in Addis, and even riverside real-estate, which is a prime location in many cities, is very unattractive here due to the degraded state and smell of rivers. The most visible waste in rivers is plastic, due to its increasing generation rate and non-biodegradable nature. Plastic is dumped in rivers and persists in the environment for hundreds of years. The estimated daily plastic generation rate for the last year in Addis was 89 tons. And with less than 60% collection rate, the remaining amount finds its way into the environment and often gets washed into the city’s rivers. Hence, improving plastic collection and transportation leads to less waste ending up in rivers, while providing an opportunity to stimulate the whole plastic value chain. This results not only in more collection and less river pollution, but also brings extra income for waste collectors.
The Solution: The first manual baling machine of its kind in Addis
NatuReS together with Irish Aid supports the Partnership for Circular Value Chains in Addis Ababa to embark on introducing a simple, affordable and scalable technology to improve plastic bottle collection, storage and transportation. The 1st of its kind manual baling machine in Addis has been designed, targeting the many waste collectors with no access to electricity. Performance testing is currently being conducted with one association, in Addis Ketema sub-city woreda 08, which has 73 members, of which 41 are women. The machine will further be improved based on the collectors’ feedback and performance of the 1st prototype as a short- to mid-term solution for improving plastic collection.
By enhancing collectors’ storage and transportation capacity and enabling them to sell the baled plastic at higher prices to recyclers, they will be able to collect more plastic in the future. This will result both in less river pollution and more income for the collectors.
Industrial Park (IP) development in Ethiopia was initiated as part of the government transformation goal to industrialization of the country. IPs are intended to increase the contribution of industries to the national GDP and stimulate export and foreign direct investment. The Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) was established in 2014 as an engine of rapid industrialization that nurtures manufacturing industries, accelerates economic transformation and promotes and attracts both domestic and foreign investors. Currently, there are 13 IPs across the country, creating more than 83,000 jobs and generating a revenue of over $850 million so far.
Improving workers’ knowledge on sanitation and hygiene
One of the challenges, among many, that IPs are faced with during Covid-19 is the safety of their workers. In March 2020, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Ethiopia, many IP workers feared contracting the virus because of their close and interacting work environment. As the World Health Organization recommends, washing hands properly is an effective method to reduce infection rates. In addition to providing personal protective equipment (PPE), awareness raising on the importance of proper hygiene was one of the priority topics taken to ensure the safety of workers.
The nation’s first IP Bole Lemi, located in Addis Ababa, started operating in 2014. It specializes in the production of textile, garments, leather, and leather products; most of it destined for export. Currently, there are 20 shades rented by different investors from India, China, and South Korea.
Even though currently Covid-19 is a less discussed topic, it is still a global challenge. In addition, 60 to 80% of communicable diseases in Ethiopia are attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions. The relevance of proper WASH, therefore, extends far beyond reducing the infection rate of Covid-19, also improving the general health conditions of workers who are the driving engines of IPs.
Make personal hygiene a priority
To raise awareness for the importance of WASH for the wellbeing of workers and their families, training of trainers (TOT) on proper hygiene was provided to workers at the Bole Lemi IP. By playing an interactive game, composed of various potential sources of contamination and improper personal hygiene, participants learn how to avoid or counteract these along the way: in the end, to win one needs to have clean hands.
The training is designed for trainees to easily understand how daily activities could potentially transmit diseases to others, putting them at risk. After the game, participants reflected on their change of perspective about applying personal hygiene both at the workplace and at home. They agreed that easy measures can make a significant difference if awareness for their importance is anchored in a group.
The trainees, who are diverse professionals from different production shades will take the game to their shades and their homes, playing it with their co-workers or families. The trainer from Water Witness International highlighted feedback from former trainees who played “Endood” with their families and colleagues, during breaks or at the dinner table. In this way, the knowledge about the importance of proper hygiene spreads beyond the group of trainees.
Safe workspaces and awareness for hygiene measures are essential to improve working conditions in IPs across Ethiopia, both during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as well as to counteract many types of communicable diseases stemming from poor WASH conditions.
Since its establishment in 2018, the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership (PLH) is working in the Ethiopian Hawassa sub-catchment to mitigate the environmental and social risks affecting the lake. Through the partnership, various activities have been implemented in the lake Hawassa sub-catchment, leading to improvements of both environmental and social aspects.
The stewardship approach promotes collective action to ensure the sustainable management of natural resources. The partnership achievements of PLH are motivating its members and inspire others to join the stewardship journey.
NatuReS is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This website’s contents are the sole responsibility of GIZ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ, European Union or FCDO.