Ethiopia has one of the worst sanitation systems worldwide. For example the city of Bahir Dar in the region of Amhara: Only 15 percent of the people who live on the poorer outskirts of the 300,000 inhabitants’ city do have access to a toilet. A majority of the population is forced to defecate in the open.
Furthermore, the water supply is devastating: There is no connection to the main water supply in most of the simple houses. The residents are forced to buy overpriced water of questionable quality from traders.
Waste water, faeces and other garbage is discharged through open sewers and leaded untreated into the Nile or the Lake Tana. On top, the water in Bahir Dar is polluted by rubbish. Garbage from households and industrial and commercial waste is deposited on a large area on the outskirts of the city. As Bahir Dar does only have inadequate waste water management and no sewage-works, the spot is also used to deposit sludge and the content from absorption trenches and latrines. It can be assumed that harmful substances get into the ground water through the soil of the disposal site.
Latrines in the church
Together with its local partner ORDA – Organisation for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara, Welthungerhilfe aims to improve the hygiene situation in the poorer districts of the city. For the upcoming years, it is planned to build water pipes and toilets. 60,000 people shall gain access to sanitation facilities.
A first step towards the goal has already been achieved: Following Welthungerhilfe's suggestion, public latrines have already been built in one church and in one mosque, too. Welthungerhilfe organises hygiene courses on a regular basis to raise awareness among the people of the importance of hand-washing and for the danger of getting into contact with waste water, and to inform on how to prevent diarrhea. More than 100,000 people have already participated.