Monday, February 19, 2024

Nestled in Hawassa, a city with a vibe distinct from the bustling Addis Ababa, lies the Haile Resort—a tribute to Ethiopia’s running icon, Haile Gebrselassie. This haven serves as our headquarters as we explore the progress of a multi-year project that goes beyond our usual efforts of well-building: the enhancement of water access to rural maternal health clinics.

Though slightly different, these projects seamlessly align with our core mission of providing fresh-water access to those in need. Over the past three years, through generous foundation support, we’ve enhanced water access to rural maternal health clinics.

What The Funding Accomplished

Our intervention involved refurbishing clinic infrastructure—installing pipes, sinks, and other essentials—while providing WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) training. This included the formation of a WASH committee and corresponding membership fees. From an initial selection of 60 clinics in 2022, 34 were chosen to participate, completing Phase 1 of the project in January 2024.

Engaging Stakeholders

Today, our focus is on engaging with stakeholders invested in the maternal health clinic projects. Susanne Wilson and Gashaw, alongside our partners from SCES, meticulously evaluated all 34 clinics, categorizing them from Exceptional to Unacceptable. The common denominator for a successful clinic was a strong and committed leader.  The remainder had shifts in leadership or other factors that must be addressed in order for W2T to support the continuation of funding.

Our meeting with stakeholders, comprised of clinic directors, W2T, SCES, and government water agency representatives, proved to be a marathon session, spanning four hours. Amid discussions on successes, challenges, and solutions, we left reassured by the clinics’ commitment to rectify shortcomings within our stipulated one-month deadline.

For me, it marked a significant milestone—the first meeting where I was entirely unfamiliar with the spoken language! Gratefully, Gashaw and our partners conversed in English, while Beza of SCES facilitated the Q&A session. This was invaluable in enhancing our comprehension of the clinic directors’ perspectives.

Next Steps

Pending funding availability, Phase 2 of the project will commence in the coming months. This exhaustive meeting provided profound insights into the intricacies and hurdles inherent in executing high-impact work within African communities. Slowly, the relationships and connection points between groups are starting to crystallize in my mind!