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African Development Fund Grants $46.02 Million to Boost Water Access in Ethiopia’s Borana Region

Phase 2 of Borana Resilient Water Program Aims to Alleviate Water Scarcity and Improve Livelihoods.

In a significant move to address water scarcity and bolster livelihoods in Ethiopia’s Borana region, the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, convened in Abidjan on February 28, 2024, has allocated a substantial grant of $46.02 million. This funding is earmarked for the implementation of Phase 2 of the Borana Resilient Water Development for Improved Livelihoods Program, a critical initiative aimed at enhancing access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services for pastoral communities in the arid lands of the Borana area within the Oromia region.

The financial assistance, facilitated through the concessional rate loans window of the African Development Bank Group, underscores the bank’s commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by vulnerable populations in the region. With an estimated population of 1.2 million, of which half are women, Borana is experiencing rapid demographic growth, projected to reach 1.8 million by 2030. The majority of residents rely on pastoralism for their sustenance, rendering them particularly susceptible to the adverse impacts of erratic rainfall patterns and recurrent droughts, which exacerbate water insecurity.

Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Fund, emphasized the significance of the program as a peace-building initiative amidst the escalating impacts of climate change, marked by livestock losses and heightened conflicts over dwindling pasture and water resources.

The grant will primarily be allocated towards the construction and optimization of water production and transportation systems spanning over 85 kilometers. Additionally, nine reservoirs will be built, along with distribution networks covering 142.6 kilometers, extending connections to provide drinking water access to 36,000 new users. Furthermore, 99 watering troughs will be installed to support nearly 109,000 livestock. The program also encompasses property acquisitions, overseeing construction, and strengthening community-level water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) management systems to ensure the sustainable operation and maintenance of the installed facilities.

Osward Chanda, Director of Water Development and Sanitation at the African Development Bank Group, highlighted the program’s holistic approach to address rising water demand and mitigate the effects of drought, focusing on key water infrastructure development, capacity building, and climate-resilient service delivery.

In addition to infrastructure development, the program will modernize sanitary facilities in schools and health centers, construct public sanitary facilities, conduct hygiene awareness campaigns, and provide capacity building and technical assistance on water service regulation. Moreover, mechanisms will be established to fund the maintenance of rural supply systems, with a focus on community consultation and equitable tariff development.

The program’s beneficiaries, predominantly rural and peri-urban communities, including pastoralists and low-income households, particularly women and youth, stand to gain improved access to water supply and sanitation services. Approximately 35,816 individuals will benefit from enhanced water supply services, with half being women, while 21,000 people, at least half of whom are women, will gain access to improved sanitation facilities.

By prioritizing integrated, sustainable, and climate-resilient water provision, the Borana Resilient Water Development Program embodies the African Development Bank Group’s commitment to fostering inclusive growth and resilience in Ethiopia’s vulnerable communities, ultimately paving the way for a more prosperous and sustainable future.

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