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Dr. Zufan Abera, an advisor to the state minister at the Federal Ministry of Health was among the participants visiting the community benefited from the low cost technology options implemented in the area. Photo by WASH Ethiopia Movement/Mintesinot Aschalew
Photos by: WASH Ethiopia Movement - Mintesinot Aschalew / Text by: Mesay Birhanu Gemechu
The 6th National Hygiene and Environmental Health experience sharing forum was conducted from 26-28 February 2015 in Dire Dawa on the theme promoting Sanitary, Safe and Green living and working environment in Ethiopia. Close to 200 participants coming from the different regions and representatives of different development partners operating in the nations participated in the three day event and deliberated on the various issues and challenges related to the promotion of hygiene and environmental sanitation across the nation.
One the first day, the draft Integrated Urban Sanitation Strategy in progress was shared to the participants to gather important inputs that would inform the process of strategy development. Selected regions including Afar, Amhara, Tigray and Dire Dawa city administration presented their progress in the promotion of hygiene and environmental health practices in their respective regions.
Participants of the forum visiting the low cost technology toilets constructed among the poorest part of the communities in Dire Dawa city, Ethiopia. Photo by WASH Ethiopia Movement/Mintesinot Aschalew
An experience sharing field visit was also organized on the second day of the event to two selected projects including the landfill site at the outskirts of Dire Dawa and the old landfill site now closed and turned into a green area. The other site selected for the visit was one of the kebeles in the city where 20 low cost technology toilets were constructed for more than 80 households with the support from Oxfam GB that helped the family members to stop practicing open defecation in the nearby sand river.
Fifteen research papers were presented on different sub-thematic focuses including rural sanitation and hygiene, safe and green cities for healthy living, creating an enabling environment and institutional WASH and the health impacts of WASH. Participants deliberated on the findings and recommendations of the studies to link them with practises on the ground. The top three best performing woredas in the categories of open-defecation free status, improved sanitation and other best practices were recognized and awarded. In addition, the top three winners were announced of the 4th round of the national WASH Media Award competition. The National WASH Media Award was conducted on the theme – Good Dignity Practices for Gross Domestic Product which attracted 17 media reports from the different media outlets across the nation.