You can see from Figure 7.1 that the third section of the OWNP structure is made up of the organisations responsible for implementation of the Programme who will undertake the planned activities. The day-to-day programme implementers are either institutions or teams of professionals who belong to the PMUs or WASH teams. (Note that PMUs are also sometimes referred to as WASH Management Units (WMUs) or WASH Programme Management Units (WPMUs)).

The various implementing institutions and teams each have their own roles and responsibilities at different levels. OWNP implementation activities are divided up along the lines of the separate WASH sector ministries.

Look at Figure 7.1. How does the organisational structure for implementation differ from that for governance and management?

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Governance and management both have a single committee or team at all levels with representatives from each of the WASH ministries. For implementation, the four ministries have separate units with responsibility for their own activities.

Implementation in the main WASH ministries

The OWNP supports the implementation plan of all four WASH ministries. They each have different roles and responsibilities and function in different ways but they all prepare and submit their OWNP plans and report to the NWTT through the National WASH Coordination Office.

Water, Irrigation and Energy

The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) is responsible for the provision of safe drinking water to all the peoples of Ethiopia as mandated in the Water Resources Management Policy, which you read about in Study Session 2.

At federal level, MoWIE is responsible for water policy, coordination and monitoring. Implementation is decentralised to regional, woreda and, in some cases, community level. In general, design and contracting of piped water supply schemes are managed at regional water bureau level, before handing over maintenance responsibility to woredas or towns. Implementation of schemes such as hand-dug wells or springs is managed by the woreda Water Offices, or by communities.


The Ministry of Health (MoH) is responsible for the sanitation and hygiene condition of all the people of Ethiopia as mandated in the various health policy documents. It is also responsible for WASH facilities of health institutions, including hospitals, clinics, health centres and health posts.

In Study Session 2 you read about the Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) prepared by the MoH. The sanitation and hygiene element of the OWNP was based on the HSDP. It is implemented by regional health bureaus, which aims to scale-up delivery of primary care services through the Health Extension Programme and health clinics at district level (see also Study Session 6). Health Extension Workers (HEWs) are trained and deployed to health posts at kebele level in both rural and urban areas. HEWs work with communities and households, and in rural areas with members of the Health Development Army (HDA) to promote behavioural change, including using improved sanitation facilities, hygiene promotion and the eradication of open defecation.


You already know about the importance of WASH in schools and how WASH facilities can affect school attendance and educational achievement. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has responsibility for the water supply, sanitation and hygiene conditions of all school communities. The MoE has prepared an Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) to achieve the education MDGs by 2015. The strategies and activities of the ESDP include providing safe drinking water, renovating existing latrines and handwashing facilities, constructing new facilities and integrating hygiene education into the curriculum (MoE, 2010).The school sanitation and hygiene aspect of the OWNP is based on this plan and supports its implementation to achieve the target.

Finance and Economic Development

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) determines and allocates budgets to all public institutions. It is responsible for implementing efficient ways of utilising WASH resources in both federal and regional governments. It has an important role in allocating and channeling resources and monitoring fund utilisation.

Programme Management Units and WASH teams

Programme Management Units (PMUs) are responsible for implementing OWNP plans and activities at federal and regional level, and zonally where appropriate. They have been established within an appropriate department of the three main implementing ministries. (There is no need for a PMU at MoFED because they do not undertake active WASH projects.) Their staff may be permanent employees, contract staff or consultants. The size and composition of each of the units will vary from ministry to ministry, depending on the magnitude and nature of the particular ministry’s activities related to WASH.

Federal level

At federal level, the PMUs in each ministry will ensure their respective regional PMUs, woreda and town sector offices have the directions, information, systems, skills and resources necessary to carry out their WASH mandate and achieve expected programme results. For example, the PMU would provide training for staff, review plans and designs, support M&E and so on.

Regional level

At regional level there is a similar structure. Each of the three bureaus (water, health, and education) have PMUs within an appropriate department. The size, structure and composition of each of the units will vary from bureau to bureau depending on the nature of the particular bureau’s input to the OWNP. A Unit Head will be appointed whose duties will include serving as the focal person for their bureau in the Regional WASH Coordination Office (see Section 7.5).

The regional PMU role and responsibilities are similar to the national level but at the next step down in the hierarchy. They ensure that the WASH teams have what they need to carry out their WASH activities. They tend to be responsible for larger projects, such as the construction of water supply schemes.

Woreda/Town WASH Team

Woreda WASH Teams or Town WASH Teams are responsible for implementing planned activities under the direct supervision of their woreda or town WASH Steering Committee. Membership includes the heads or representatives of the water, health, education and finance offices, and other permanent or contract staff with a variety of roles. These include coordinators, accountants/clerks, environmental health workers, development agents, WASH consultants, community facilitators, and contractors and suppliers.

The Woreda WASH Team (WWT) coordinates the input of the various sector offices, supports the daily management of the activities and is accountable for achieving expected results (POM, 2014). They are responsible for such activities as the construction of small-scale water schemes for communities, schools and health facilities, giving training on CLTSH (community-led total sanitation and hygiene) and other relevant topics for communities, HEWs, the HDA and others.

Community WASH committee

In rural areas, the community WASH Committee or WASHCO plays an important role in OWNP implementation by managing the operation and maintenance of specific water schemes. WASHCOs are established for one community in order to manage one specific WASH facility. They are accountable to the WWT. In one kebele there may be many WASHCOs depending on the number of WASH facilities. They have between five and six members, at least 50% of whom must be women. Case Study 7.1 describes one WASHCO in Amhara region.

Case Study 7.1 WASHCO at Alem Sefer

Alem Sefer village is near Meksignit, a rural kebele in Fogera district, Amhara Region. The village has a new water point that has been in use since December 2014. It provides safe water close to a community of 270 people.

Figure 7.5 shows the WASHCO of three women and two men who have been elected from the community to manage their water point.

Figure 7.5 Alem Sefer WASHCO.

This community WASHCO is led by women. They have been chosen to lead because they understand that collecting water is predominately women’s responsibility: ‘It is us who are well aware of the challenges the lack of access to safe water brings to us and to our family,’ says Nurit Kalilu, the treasurer.

Hawa Wadajine, on the right in the photo, is the chairperson of this committee. She carries the overall responsibility of managing the water point. Nurit Kalilu, on the left, oversees the income which is generated from the collec­tion of the monthly water tariff. This is 5 Birr/household, which is expected to bring in about 160 euros a year. The community has also deposited 60 euro as an up-front cash contribution to a bank account in the local micro-finance institution. This can later be used for the operation and maintenance of the water point.

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 4:13 AM