Since 2018, Hope H2O has been helping the village of Germama and surrounding villages become healthy communities by constructing clean water facilities and providing sanitation and health training through our partners, the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC). Due to leadership changes in EKHCDC, the onset of the rainy season and supply issues, Phase I of the project was not completed until 2019.
The first phase of this project involved building a large concrete reservoir that holds 27,000 L of water obtained from an existing near-by well. It was built in such a way that it is elevated enough that gravity will provide enough pressure to take the water from the reservoir to three different water points up to 1.8 km away. These water points, pictured below, have two taps, a drain and a system to securely monitor water usage or limit it to certain times of the day. They are built out of concrete and the PVC pipes going from the reservoir out to the water points are buried below the ground. The trenches for these pipes were dug by local community members who, as part of the agreement, contribute to the project that is helping improve the condition of their villages.
In 2019, our new Executive Director, Steph Card, Board President, Bob Kline and Directors Dagim Almaw and Grace Hoekstra went to Ethiopia to visit these water points and see the progress of the project. While visiting Germama, one of the water points had not yet been used and Steph was given the honour of turning on the taps for the first time.
This project was considered complete and was handed over to the village after the District Water Office did an evaluation and declared that it had been completed to their standards, and was now the property, and responsibility of the community. The Water Committee of the community sets up rates for water use and a few members of the community are trained in maintenance and repair of the system.
The second phase of this project was started in 2020 after a 6 month lockdown of the entire country in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. In this part of the project, we constructed a second reservoir near the first one, three more water points and one at a near by school for access by children and families alike.
In both phases of the project, a social worker and community educator along with the field manager sat down with the community to make sure the points were in the most accessible place, that the community agreed to take care of the water points, and that they understood the need to wash hands and to be sure that family pit latrines are constructed for continued improvement of sanitation in the area. The pit latrines are the last part of the project to be completed. This is the responsibility of the people living in the area along with the area Water Committee. Children were taught alongside their parents and community elders and as expected, everyone in the community helped contribute to this project. In this second phase of the project, we learned from the first and made sure that the project manager spoke the local language of Oromo to better connect with the community. Our partners sourced all materials and supplies from Ethiopian merchants and hired professional plumbers and masons for the project while members of the community were expected to help with manual labor and construction of personal pit latrines as their contribution to the water projects coming to their area.
Due to COVID 19, and not extreme political unrest, Phase II of the Germama Project took longer to complete, however once they were able to start, the construction and training happened quite quickly.