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KOICA’s clean water project in Ethiopia gains international attention

Residents of Gurage Zone in Ethiopia are provided with clean water supplied from the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s official development assistance project in the region. (KOICA)
Residents of Gurage Zone in Ethiopia are provided with clean water supplied from the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s official development assistance project in the region. (KOICA)
The Korea International Cooperation Agency’s project on improving water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia is gaining global attention, after it was featured in renowned international journals.

The government agency dedicated to providing grant aid programs said Monday that its official development assistance project has been introduced in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in June and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in July.

For six years starting 2013, KOICA carried out projects in Gurage Zone in Ethiopia to improve the region’s water supply and sanitation.

The programs consisted of community-led total sanitation intervention, local-friendly restroom installation and hygiene education for 48 villages to develop clean water sources. The agency also installed water fountains for villages and schools within areas reporting high rates of diarrhea and open defecation.

The project as a whole provided access to clean water for 6,000 residents in the Gurage Zone villages, and 48 villages obtained certification of an end to open defecation. A water supply and sanitation facility management committee has also been formed to ensure that the project remains sustainable.

The programs helped cut the number of incidences of diarrhea by 34 percent compared to nonproject areas, while yielding additional economic benefits due to the improved restrooms, KOICA said. The agency arranged its project’s results into two academic papers, sharing them with relevant academic and international communities.

KOICA said the listing of its project on the renowned journals exemplifies how its performance is recognized by relevant academic and international institutions amid growing accountability regarding South Korea’s official development assistance projects by the international community.

“The experience of publishing KOICA’s project results in internationally renowned journals is expected to serve as an opportunity to inform the international community of KOICA’s project capacities, and contribute to qualitative growth in the field of international development cooperation,” said Song Woong-Yeob, vice president for Africa, Middle East, Central and South America at KOICA, in a statement.

The agency added that the case of “community-led total sanitation intervention” proposed in the project is expected to contribute to establishing a standard model for related projects in the future and vowed to continue its efforts to improve hygiene conditions in Africa by expanding its project model.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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