Last month we visited one of our water projects in Ethiopia together with 9 ambassadors. Here we showed them how their donations are spent. Do you want to learn more about the trip? Then check the daily reports below!
After an intensive journey – and a skipped night – we boarded the bus directly from the airport to the headquarters of Amref Flying Doctors in Addis Ababa.
There we were warmly welcomed by, among others, Misrak Makonnen – the CEO of Amref Ethiopia – who told us more about the work of Amref Flying Doctors in Africa and how the water projects are set up and realized. Their goal: to provide all households in Ethiopia with clean drinking water and good sanitation before 2035.
Subsequently, Gizachew – the project leader of the water project we are visiting – took us into the slums of Kechene. Kechene is the largest slum in Addis Ababa.
We first got to know the Solid Waste Collectors there, a waste collection service run by women in the slums of Addis Ababa. They currently provide no fewer than 500 households with their services! But they don’t stop there: they are currently saving for a second garbage truck.
Then we went to a WASH kiosk that was built by Amref within the project that we support. A WASH kiosk is a public space where you can wash, collect water and use a toilet. This kiosk is maintained by young people with a disability, so that they too can participate in society.
Afterwards we had lunch at a traditional restaurant, where we enjoyed a typical local lunch! Then we got on the bus again for a beautiful road trip from Addis Ababa to Awash.
The second day we visited various WASH kiosks in Adama, Metehara and Awash. We started in the slums of Awash, where we were given more explanation about how these water kiosks are run. Local people can use a kiosk for a small fee. This income is saved by a community manager for maintenance and for future investments.
After Awash we went on to Metehara. There we visited, among other things, a WASH kiosk where people had saved so much that they were able to build a second kiosk independently. And they are still expanding their services. A good example of local entrepreneurship!
We then continued our journey towards Adama, where we were allowed to taste real Ethiopian coffee along the side of the road. This coffee was roasted and ground by hand. Super interesting to see and very tasty coffee!
Then we went into the slums of Adama, where during our visit to a WASH kiosk – in a very narrow street – we were flooded with children who wanted to be photographed. That also made a big impression on the group!
Last on the program we visited another school, where special WASH facilities were installed for girls, so that they can go to school even when they have their period.
The last day we started at Moyee Coffee. Moyee is the world’s first ‘fairchain’ coffee supplier. They invented this terminology because they go beyond ‘fair trade’ coffee. Where ‘fair trade’ is about a fair price for coffee farmers, Moyee goes for the best price.
Moyee does this by relocating the entire coffee production process to the country of origin. As a result, the value of coffee – which is created when it is roasted – remains is in the country itself with the people who do the hard work. That’s what we call a fair cup of coffee!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the coffee roaster itself because they had recently moved. Nevertheless, it was great to hear their story and to be able to ask our questions.
After the visit to Moyee we traveled back to the center of Addis Ababa to stroll around the local market. In the evening we met Misrak Makonnen for the last time to discuss our impressions. Here we enjoyed a delicious traditional Ethiopian meal – called Injera – while traditional dance was performed on stage. That’s where the journey ended.
It was an incredibly impressive journey, during which we were able to see how water projects are realized. We have learned that it is about more than just digging wells: involving the community is just as important. Only if the locals are involved in the process and taught how to use and maintain the water point, a water project can be successful and continue to exist in the future.
We have also seen that access to water ensures that a community flourishes. First of all because people are healthier and children can go to school (including the girls when they have their period). But it also offers opportunities, such as the possibility of local entrepreneurship around the water point and allowing children to study from the merits. With that, a water project is about more than just access to water: it gives people the basis they need for good health and to make their dreams come true.