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“The winner has clean hands” – Playful trainings on good WASH practices in Ethiopian industrial parks

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.

Bole Lemi Industrial Park
Bole Lemi, the nation’s first industrial park. Copyright: GIZ/Meron Tadesse

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.

training game
A training game called “Endood”. Copyright: GIZ/Meron Tadesse

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.     

training industrial parks
Trainees playing the informative “Endood” game, named after a plant used as soap in rural areas, at Bole Lemi Industrial Park. Copyright: GIZ/Meron Tadesse

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.

Water-resilient cities learning event: “Groundwater – Making the invisible visible”

A dialogue and exchange on innovative approaches to groundwater management in African cities

How to improve the water resilience of African cities? To shed light on this important topic, the Water Resilient Cities Learning Event on 30 March 2022 promoted an exchange on groundwater – a water source that is increasingly being recognized and gaining importance as an alternative water source in addressing diminishing surface water, but remains poorly understood and undervalued.

Many African cities are facing rapid urbanization, droughts, and other threats and challenges to their water supply and are increasingly struggling to meet their water demands. These challenges have led to a greater interest towards tapping into groundwater for building water resilience – a water resource whose integration into most cities’ long term water resource management plans has been absent. While diversifying of water sources can be one of the measures for building urban water resilience, more attention needs to be given to the sustainable use of groundwater and to avoid turning to groundwater during a crisis in a rushed and unplanned manner, with limited knowledge about the use and management of this resource. In addition, protection of groundwater is often insufficient, leading to increased incidents of pollution.

Issues of integrated governance and management, pollution control, recharge, management of the reserve, and environmental requirements are pertinent to a sustainable use of groundwater.  Compared to surface water, groundwater issues have an added level of complexity, given its nature of being hidden, unnoticed, less understood, and the links between the resource and users not being obvious. Given that groundwater increasingly plays a strategic role in building water resilience for African cities, in particular for cities that are not able to meet their water demands through surface water sources, there is a need for enhanced dialogue on the new role of groundwater as well as sharing of innovative approaches towards its sustainable use and management.

To provide an exchange platform for African cities that are increasingly exploring groundwater resources as an alternative and additional source to meet their rising water demand and to become more resilient to droughts and the effects of climate change, a jointly organised event by South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the South African Cities Network (SACN), the USAID’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Finance Program (WASH-FIN), and the GIZ‘s Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) intended to:

  • promote and unpack the discourse around the use of groundwater for water supply
  • discuss how groundwater can add to support cities’ water resilience and what are challenges around its use
  • highlight the innovative ways African cities are adopting to ensure sustainable management of groundwater sources in urban areas
  • provide an opportunity for lesson-sharing among managers and practitioners for improved groundwater management in cities

Keynote Address

For this, Eng. James Sauramba, Executive Director of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Groundwater Management Institute, provided an insightful keynote address on “Contextualising the significance of groundwater for sustainable conjunctive water resources management in urban areas in the SADC region” to set the scene of the event. To this end, he introduced the characteristics and challenges of groundwater use, gave some tangible examples of  case studies from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Windhoek, Namibia, and promoted a framework for sustainable conjunctive use and management of groundwater.

South African National Perspectives

Subsequently, the event shed light on the South African national perspectives. Dr. Moloko Matlala, Chief Director for National Water Resource Information Management at the South African Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), highlighted the “importance of sustainable management of groundwater as a freshwater resource”. He stressed the importance and potential of groundwater for South Africa, but also emphasized that the knowledge around it in the country is not, yet, where it needs to be to make responsible use of this resource for increased cities’ water resilience. The DWS aims at changing this to make the resource visible and bring government practitioners and other stakeholders to work together for its protection and use in a sustainable way.

Dr. Shafick Adams, Executive Manager for Water Resources and Ecosystems at the South African Water Research Commission (WRC) presented the “research findings on the sources and management of groundwater”.  He made emphasis on the point that groundwater is a very localised resource that is not readily available all over the country and continent. Furthermore, groundwater has been promoted lately, but, unfortunately, often incorrectly as there is an imbalance between (drilling) technology and the scientific understanding of the source. Certain factors for a better utilization are available (e.g. vison, resources) and certain things are already done rightly (e.g. procurement, drilling), while other aspects still need improvement (e.g. scientific approach, best practices, trained professionals).

This first session was then closed with a Q&A session facilitated by William Moraka, Head for Technology and Innovative Projects at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Questions circled around the “appetite” for groundwater and why there seems to be less attention for it, which are the hurdles improved groundwater management, and the relationship between the Water Research Commission and municipalities in exploring groundwater potential.

Analyses regarding the urban water metabolism and hydrologic flows in the cities of Cape Town (pictured) and Gqebhera were presented during the event, as well as developed groundwater governance recommendations. Copyright: GIZ/Jonas Kertscher

South African cities in action

The second session that was moderated by Amanda Nyingwa, Technical Advisor at GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS), looked at “South African Cities in Action”. The first input by Dr. Anna Taylor, Urban Climate Adaptation Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town (UCT), and Dr. Ffion Atkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town (UCT), presented on “Governing groundwater flows for growing cities facing drought risks”. To answer the question “How can groundwater be sustainably governed in South African urban settings now and in the future, in order to enhance the adaptive capacity of cities facing climate and urban changes?” they analysed the cities of Cape Town and Gqebhera regarding their urban water metabolism and hydrologic flows and developed groundwater governance recommendations. Particularly, they emphasized that collaboration between different stakeholders is important, for them not only to make groundwater visible but also legible and have the population care about its quality and supply. Only then can this precious resource be adequately protected.

Thereafter, Ondela Tywakadi, Principal Specialist for Water Services Regulation and Policy Development at the City of Johannesburg gave an “Update on the City of Johannesburg‘s Water Security Strategy on groundwater initiatives”. He explained that Johannesburg is currently looking into diversifying its water supply sources to avoid a future day zero and is therefore exploring groundwater as an alternative source. For this aim, the city is conducting a study on available groundwater resources and hydro-geology data sources and characteristics by means of a data audit, while implementing the drilling of 27 new boreholes so far. He concluded that there is groundwater available that can be used for different purposes, but that it’s evident from the data that a decentralised approach is better than a bulk system. Further discussions with other private and government entities regarding access to groundwater sources are in the pipeline.

Johannesburg is currently looking into diversifying its water supply sources to avoid a future day zero and is therefore exploring groundwater as an alternative source. Copyright: GIZ/Jonas Kertscher

Learning across the region

The third session, facilitated by Amanda Gcanga, Country Lead for Urban Water Resilience Initiative & Senior Urban Policy Analyst at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research non-profit organization, looked at learning across the region through examples from other African cities and their stance towards groundwater. Kabisa Mwiyaluka, Engineer and Project Coordinator for Water Security at the Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSC), showcased the Lusaka West Groundwater Extraction Project in Zambia’s capital Lusaka. Lusaka’s water supply stems to 60% from groundwater. To meet the demands of the growing population while avoiding contamination, which is likely to spread fast across the city due to the geological formation of fast water flows, the city focuses on the identification of priority aquifers and wellfields for public water supply and how to best protect them. The multi-stakeholder partnership Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) helps to protect the key water resources through empowerment processes of communities while also bringing the private sector on board. Furthermore, eco-parks around the wellfields are supposed to prevent encroachment and pollution of vital water sources. Finally, the city is following a more localised rather than a centralised approach in its groundwater use, by dividing the boreholes into zones according to their geology, which further helps to protect them.

wellfield Lusaka
Two of Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company’s most important wellfields, accounting for 27% of groundwater supply (which is 60% of the total water supply to the city), were threatened by pollution. The Wellfield Protection Project under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) is addressing this issue. Pictured is Wellfield Shaft 5 pump house. Copyright: GIZ

Dr. Zablon Adane, Research Associate at the World Resources Institute (WRI), presented “Innovative and sustainable solutions for groundwater management in Dire Dawa” in Ethiopia, which is fully reliant on groundwater. The city is facing a groundwater decline, quality challenges, and data and infrastructure issues. Therefore, WRI explores innovative and sustainable solutions to balance the various water demands, improve the recharge rates, safeguard the water quality, improve treatment and recycling, and provide sustainable sources.

Furthermore, Marc Manyifika, Country Lead for Urban Water Resilience at the World Resources Institute (WRI), re-evaluated “The Role of Groundwater in Building Urban Water Resilience in Musanze City” in Rwanda. The city  is facing challenges due to a lack of knowledge on groundwater storage and its connectivity with surface water, as well as water quality degradation. To address these, opportunities around an underground network of caves, which are regulating the connectivity between the surface and groundwater, were identified. This included also the potential for stormwater management, flood control, inter-basin transfer, and recreational spaces for development in the city. Moreover, opportunities regarding water quality around ecological sanitary facilities development and nature-based decentralised wastewater treatment were discussed.

Groundwater pumping system in Lusaka’s wellfield Shaft 5. Copyright: GIZ

Water Financing Options

The last session of the event focused on Water Financing Options. Johann Lübbe, Disruption Specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), shed light on “Blended finance principles and community water supply initiatives”. In order to address the issues the water sector is facing, there is a need for a programmatic approach to make the sector more investment-friendly and create partnerships between the public and private sector. To this end, the DWS developed the National Water Programme with priority focus on non-revenue water reduction, water reuse, municipal infrastructure funding and agricultural water use/irrigation. Groundwater is considered as another potential programme. The plan is to prepare projects, facilitate and mobilise funding for the scaled implementation of projects by creating a centralized “centre of excellence” to drive preparation, facilitate funding and monitor implementation, as well customising funding solutions to support the implementation of a specific asset class. The blended finance principles include credit enhancement, concessional and grant funding to crowd-in private sector funding, making use of debt capital market instruments with all funding procured on a competitive basis, programmatic approaches and finance options used to create specific and dedicated asset classes. Different programmes will have different funding options, structures and solutions. Such a standardised approach could also offer an opportunity to establish a groundwater programme as a sub-programme under the National Water Programme.

Closing Remarks

Finally, Dr. Faith Lawrence, Country Coordinator for South Africa at GIZ NatuReS, closed the event by thanking the presenters for their insightful contributions and highlighted the significance of groundwater and learning from different experiences of cities, including their challenges, lessons, and innovations. She summarised the event by presenting the ten major insights she took away from the event:

  • There is a need to build a case for conjunctive use of surface and ground water, as groundwater is an untapped resource and presents significant opportunities.
  • Increased urbanization means increased demand for groundwater options. However, this is not without challenge: pollution, poor operations and maintenance, increased as well as decreased ground water levels and poor water quality are all critical issues to be addressed.
  • Data and evidence in support of deciding for various groundwater options are key.
  • Understanding of the specific local context cannot be underestimated. This also means different approaches  need to address an array of complex challenges in different contexts.
  • The challenge of localization means groundwater recharge is the responsibility of the user, but the necessary capacity is not readily available at the local level.
  • There is a growing role for groundwater management and its strengthening in municipal governance  approaches.
  • There is a need to strongly promote collaboration, especially with regards to collective monitoring, as well as awareness raising.
  • Cities across the region have very different experiences concerning groundwater.
  • Public-private-partnerships play a critical role in sustainably managing groundwater in the long term.
  • Innovative financing and blended options are being sought and already available in the market in support of the water business.

The catchment stewardship approach in practice

Lessons from the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme  

NatuReS enables private-public-civil society partnerships to sustainably manage the natural resources they need for improved livelihoods and continued economic development. It follows a stewardship approach based on participatory governance, putting emphasis on the commitment of stakeholders from the public, private sector, and civil society in each partnership.  

During the Uganda Water and Environment Week 2022, a side event entitled ‘The catchment stewardship approach in practice – Lessons from the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme’ took place. The objective of the event was to showcase how the catchment stewardship approach is successful in addressing natural resources risks across Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, and South Africa. To find out more about the catchment stewardship approach have a look at the factsheet

catchment pressures
Various pressures, from rural or urban activities, affect the health of catchments. Copyright: GIZ

Opening the event

In his opening remarks, Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulations at the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, highlighted the catchment stewardship approach’s high relevance within the conference’s theme of “Water and environment for peace and socio-economic transformation of Uganda”. He added that the Ministry continues to support stewardship partnerships across Uganda, working towards an economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Sarah Beerhalter, the Head of the NatuReS programme, highlighted how the Uganda Water and Environment Week is growing into a flagship conference for natural resources discourse not only in Uganda, but at the regional level, and that the event is a good opportunity for partners from the five countries to come together to share and learn from one another.  

Setting the scene

Mr. James Njeru, Country Coordinator for GIZ NatuReS in Ethiopia, gave an overview about the programme and the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework. This was coupled with a documentary from Ethiopia on how the catchment stewardship approach has been implemented in the Hawassa catchment in Ethiopia.

Lake Hawassa Ethiopia
Lake Hawassa in Ethiopia is facing various environmental risks, threatening both the lake’s integrity as well as its capacity to provide the surrounding communities and businesses with the necessary ecosystem services. The Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership since 2016 develops joint solutions, ranging from pollution prevention to soil erosion control and community awareness for the protection of the lake. Copyright: GIZ/Zeleman Productions

This was followed by a keynote speech from Dr. Hans C. Komakech, the Director of WISE – Futures African Centre of Excellence and a Senior Lecturer at the Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania. He gave a keynote speech focusing on the definition and principles of stewardship, drawing on examples from the region. Particularly, Dr Komakech highlighted that the stewardship concept has evolved into an increased understanding of the relationship between human activities and ecosystems and the resulting interdependencies, the importance of managing complex social-ecological systems, and the necessity of building resilience in the face of change. 

Panel discussion between partners from private, public sector and civil society

panel Uganda Water and Environment Week
Panelists at the Catchment Stewardship learning event. In the foreground Mr. Richard Musota, Principal Water Officer at the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment. Copyright: GIZ/Mary Namukose

During a panel discussion with representatives from the private, public sectors and civil society, partners shared experiences and lessons from implementing the catchment stewardship approach and drawing conclusions for the future. 

Mr. Vincent van Reenen, Corporate Responsibility Advisor East Africa based inEthiopia for PVH Corp., a multi-national clothing company, highlighted the importance of the catchment stewardship approach from a private sector perspective. Through the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership, the company was able to connect and exchange with the communities neighboring their production site, as well as to better understand current and future risks in the catchment, representing the basis for their business operations. 

Boyd Kanene, Health, Safety, Security and Environment Officer at Olam, one of the biggest coffee producers in Zambia, gave insights on how the Chambeshi Water Security Partnership helped them solve conflicts with local communities, enabled their internal learning on increased environmental compliance, and to continue their conservation efforts in the catchment area, protecting the natural resources while safeguarding livelihood opportunities of local communities.  

Farmers set up a beehive in a forest within the Chambeshi catchment. The Chambeshi Water Security Partnership supports farmers in diversifying their activities so they are less dependent on traditional practices like making charcoal, which negatively impact the ecosystem. Copyright: GIZ

In his remarks about catchment stewardship, drawing on the example of the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership, Mr. David Lindley from WWF South Africa highlighted the importance of time for multi-stakeholder partnerships to be successful. Partnerships, built on trust which has to slowly but steadily grow between partners, provide a platform for partners to co-create solutions for joint risks in their catchments.  

Mr. Richard Musota, Principal Water Officer at the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment and Team Leader of the Upper Nile Water Management Zone, emphasized the importance of catchment stewardship partnerships from a public sector perspective. Having a mandate of providing services to the people, the engagement in stewardship partnerships can yield commitments from various sectors, increasing both the mutual understanding and implementation capacity. Drawing from lessons learnt in the Oyitino micro-catchment in Gulu, where the surface dam that serves as the main water source for Gulu City almost dried up in 2016, he emphasized the important role partnerships play in bringing different stakeholders together to trigger actions that address such risks in catchment areas. The public sector cannot solve complex challenges alone; it is through the cooperation across sectors that sustainable solutions are developed and implemented. 

Gulu City‘s main source of water, Oyitino dam, is experiencing siltation and significant dry spells. The Gulu Integrated Catchment Management Partnreship is addressing this and many other issues to sustain livelihoods and economic opporunities in the city.
Coypright: GIZ/Robert Rwamuhokya

Conclusions and Outlook

Some of the challenges in implementing catchment stewardship that partners reflected on include data gaps which complicate precise scenario planning and projections, the difficulty of monitoring concrete progress due to the complexity of natural resources risks, the often restricted time frame for generating outcomes through partnerships, as well as the effort to generate commitment from partners. However, while the establishment and maintenance of catchment stewardship partnerships requires significant effort from partners, all highlighted the yielded returns stemming from collaborative action.

The moderator, Dr. Nathalie Richards, advisor for NatuReS in Tanzania, closed the event by thanking everyone for their continuous efforts within stewardship partnerships, as well as their attendance and will to exchange cross-country during the event. As joint conclusion, all participants agreed that by jointly taking responsibility for shared natural resources, socio-economic development can be generated while protecting the integrity of catchments. 

The Catchment Stewardship Approach in Practice: Panel discussion during Uganda Water and Environment Week 2022

The 5th Ugandan Water and Environment Week takes place from the 20th to 25th of March 2022. The conference provides a platform where a wide range of stakeholders can exchange knowledge, understand each other’s perspectives, and learn for the improvement of Uganda’s water and environment resources. The event is growing into a flagship conference for natural resources discourse not only in Uganda, but at the regional level. For the fifth time, policy makers, technical specialists, academics, public and private sector institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs and consumers come together, this year to discuss the topic of “Water and environment for peace and socio-economic transformation of Uganda”.

The Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) contributes to the conference with a presentation and following panel discussion on March 22nd, 12:00-14:30 CET, entitled: The Catchment Stewardship Approach in Practice – Lessons from the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS).

Register and join only via this link:

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After a set-the-scene presentation by Dr. Hans Komakech from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology on “How stewardship partnerships can contribute to ecological restoration and sustainable economic development”, partners from public, private sector and civil society will share experiences from multi-stakeholder stewardship partnerships across five Sub-Saharan African countries, reflect on key lessons and provide perspectives for the future.

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