February 22, 2024

Our Ethiopian hydrogeologist, Gashaw Semeneh, is our “secret weapon” for successful well production and drilling. Gashaw’s presence on the ground in Africa is invaluable.   Gashaw assesses production at our sites and provides technical follow-up, making our work much smoother. In Africa, business practices differ, and cultural nuances often clash with American directness. Ethiopians tend to say yes to avoid offense, even when they mean no.

Me and Gashaw after a very long day of riding in vans on bumpy roads!

Technical, On-The-Ground Expertise

Gashaw not only offers technical expertise in identifying well locations, determining drilling depth and assessing water quality, he also fosters deep relationships with our partners in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. In Africa, vendors often lack the capital to finance projects upfront and bill clients later. Therefore, we must pay our partners substantial sums upfront to initiate well production. Gashaw ensures funds are transferred smoothly and used appropriately for well production projects. Gashaw also shares best-practices among our partners, which is huge value-added.

Self Proclaimed “City Boy”

Gashaw was gifted a chicken! He pushed hard with a well re-hab project, and drilled to an unusual depth, ultimately striking water for the village. The villagers were grateful!

Gashaw joined W2T from a Canadian nonprofit a decade ago. Despite being a self-proclaimed “city boy” from Addis Ababa, Gashaw spends about 60% of his time visiting field sites and partners. He’s married with two children; his wife works with refugees, and he’s a man of deep faith, transitioning from Catholicism to Reborn Christianity. He attended college at Addis Ababa’s largest university.  Of course, he LOVES coffee!

His favorite place to be – with a coffee in his hands!



Spending time with Gashaw during this trip has been a true delight. His humor and insights into Ethiopian culture have enriched my experience.  It has been a pleasure to spend these long days visiting well sites with him.  He has taught me a great deal!