A story on how Aqua for All’s working capital helps utilities in Ethiopia meet the demand for water
Since 2016, Aqua for All has been partnering with water utilities in Ethiopia for market-based distribution of household water filters. In order to support Debre Markos water utility in East Gojjam zone (Amhara region) during the COVID–19 crisis, Aqua for All has availed 15,000 Euro working capital for filter distribution. With this working capital, Debre Markos utility is better equipped to prefinance filters for smaller utilities and increase the coverage of safe water at point of use.
According to water utility manager Baye Beltiye “There were a lot of challenges related to the COVID-19 situation. It was always a very demanding situation to provide water for the whole community before, but now the challenge was even bigger; we have to supply enough water for hygiene purposes, continuously.”
As people did not want to venture too far away from their houses or queue at water points, demand for water filters increased. Being able to fetch drinking water from any source, including unsafe wells close to one’s house, significantly reduces the risk of exposing oneself to COVID–19. Furthermore, safe water is vital in maintaining one’s health and resilience against COVID–19. Utilities, however, faced improving water access and could not focus on meeting the increased demand for water filters. By providing the working capital needed, Aqua for All supported utilities in being able to respond to this increased demand.
According to Mr Beltiye “The basic gain is that the small utilities and woreda (municipality) offices were not able at all to purchase filters. Now they are able to buy the filters in bulk. It became possible for all utilities to provide filters in this difficult time. Small utilities were previously not able to purchase filters. We have agreements of six months with these small utilities. Now after three months, it is a great success.”