Since 1986 the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Development Commission (EKHCDC) has been recognized amongst the institutions for carrying out water development activities in Ethiopia. The integrated water and sanitation (IWSP) is responsible for undertaking the all water activities of EKHCDC. IWSP addresses the potable water needs of underprivileged groups or communities across the country, contributing towards ensuring food security in drought prone areas.
Over the years, IWSP contributed significantly to potable water access and improving sanitation measures in the regions such as Oromia, SNNPRS, Amhara, etc. Staring from 2006, the aspect of behavioral change in the field of hygiene and sanitation has been recognized by IWPS as an important factor for enhancing project impact and hence overall sustainability. Thus, construction of sand-plats demonstrated at house hold levels, beyond kebele or village levels (EKHC Water, Health and Environment Journal: Vol.o1.No.01, 2012).
In General, the water and sanitation program aims to improve the quality of life through improved and sustained access to safe water supply, knowledge and practices of sanitation and hygiene among the rural community, and skills to maintain and manage potable water sources and functional water points.
The program components include:
1) Surface water development and management that focuses on spring development, construction of gravity water schemes with different distribution points, rain water harvesting, and construction of hand dug wells.
2) Water well drilling component undertakes drilling of shallow and deep wells, pump installation service, and scheme operation and maintenance training (which is otherwise called Hard Ware Capacity Building Scheme).
3) Community education and capacity building component establishes WASH (water and sanitation and Hygiene) committees and community health clubs (CHCs) provides capacity building training for local community-based groups/organizations, etc.
4) Bio-sand filter (BSF) component includes services such as construction BSFs and promoting the technology among target communities and beneficiary households.
5) Emergency water supply is an important component whenever there are emergency calls due to drought, flooding and/or man-made and natural calamities. In such cases, the effort is used to rehabilitate the existing water schemes as well as undertake safe water collecting and construction and development of spring sources, gravity schemes and boreholes.
6) Micro and small-scale irrigation is another component of the program that provides strategic services for increasing crop yields and techniques and skills on how to efficiently and effectively manage water and sand.