UNIVERSAL or UNIVERSALITY – it’s all part of the ONEWASH

By H.E. Ato Motuma Mekassa (Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity and Chair of the ONEWASH Steering Committee)

Mekdes Zewdu drinks water from a newly built water point by UNICEF with the support of DFATD.
Mekdes Zewdu drinks water from a newly built water. Since the UNICEF-supported pump was installed two weeks ago, life has changed dramatically. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Sewunet

The World has endorsed the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 which is the master world document till 2030. The SDGs are “pushing” us all as water and sanitation professionals to look beyond the “low hanging fruits” of the MDGs and start working for water supply, sanitation and hygiene provision in urban areas, remote rural settlements and in rapidly expanding small and medium size towns. The SDGs are also demanding us to think “universally” and to bring technological and social engineering solutions for everyone, everywhere…always.

So comes to the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Ministerial Meeting in Addis Ababa in March 2016. My Government (the Government of Ethiopia) are hosting this event as it presents an opportunity for us as Ethiopians to show how we have tried to practice a universal access plan for all, everywhere…always. Our ONEWASH national programme was launched during the Millennium Development Goal era in 2013 and we set out to rapidly scale up WASH services to our population by aligning ourselves and our partners around a ONEWASH programme with ONE plan, ONE budget and ONE report. So far, progress has been good and Ethiopia was able to declare that it had reached the MDG Goal 7c target 10 for water supply last year in 2015. We as Ethiopians are proud to share this experience during the SWA meeting in March.

However, looking forward, the SWA platform also provides us an excellent opportunity to take the Ministerial participants to visit our beautiful country and to see some of our work in the field. One area we are working hard to address is water supply and sanitation services in emerging small and medium size towns.  We call it URBAN WASH and it is very new for us. Until 2013, most of our people resided in rural areas. However now, our government is promoting a Growth and Transformation Plan-II (GTP)-II in which we are promoting small and medium towns as HUBS for industrial and manufacturing development….so naturally, more people (particularly our YOUTH) are migrating to our towns to work in enterprises. These all need water supply and sanitation that is appropriate and affordable. I therefore proud to say that we have partnered with the Government of Brazil and UNICEF to bring in new financial regulation and urban sanitation models to address this need.

I am personally looking forward to the SWA meeting in March and I hope to see you there.

Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to meet in Ethiopia

SWA Meeting of Ministers Announcement
Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, H. E Motuma Mukassa, announces that Ethiopia is hosting the meeting of Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene which is organized by the Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SWA) and convened by UNICEF. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Bizuwerk

Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene from around the world will meet in Ethiopia from 15-16 March 2016 to plan and prepare for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sanitation, water and hygiene.

The meeting is organized by the Sanitation and Water for All partnership (SWA), and convened by UNICEF. SWA has over 100 partners, mostly governments, and works as a platform for encouraging and coordinating political dialogue and action around water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

“This meeting will be different from all other high level meetings organized by SWA previously, mostly because of the timing: it will be the first global meeting on these topics after the UN Member States agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals last September, “says Motuma Mukassa, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia. Mr Motuma also underscores that the SDG targets on water and sanitation requires a higher level of coordination, alignment and communication both at global and national levels.

Ethiopia is selected to host this meeting for its commitment to implementing innovative ways towards achieving universal access to sanitation, water and hygiene by coordinating different ministries, increasing sector funding and investing in the training of health workers. The country’s One WASH National Progrmame (OWNP), launched in September 2013, is one of the most ambitious in the sector. It is based on a sector-wide approach and involves the ministries of water, health, education and finance and the government’s main development partners. Ethiopia devises this programme to modernize the way water and sanitation services are delivered to its people.  Recently, with UNICEF’s support, Ethiopia also started a South-South collaboration with Brazil in the area of urban sanitation and regulatory framework for WASH service delivery.

The Ministerial Meeting is a unique opportunity for countries to identify the major bottlenecks to achieving the SDG water, sanitation, and hygiene targets and lay groundwork for clear action plans, strategies and milestones.

High-level delegates, including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, Kevin Rudd, Chair of SWA and the 26th Prime Minister of Australia and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF will attend the meeting.

 

Polio transmission deemed interrupted in Ethiopia

Polio transmission deemed interrupted in Ethiopia by 4th polio external assessment; final decision awaited by Horn of Africa Final Assessment on 17 June.

Assessment recommendations include sustaining polio achievements for “polio legacy” in Ethiopia.

By Shalini Rozario 

12 June 2015

Health Extension Worker administers Polio Vaccination
National Polio Vaccination Campaign. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2005/Heger

Addis Ababa. From 8-12 June 2015, the 4th Polio External Assessment took place in Addis Ababa, to review the progress to date of the polio outbreak response, and determine the quality and status of the outbreak in the country. The assessment team was led by WHO and included members from CDC, Core Group, the Gates Foundation, UNICEF and others. The assessment team looked in detail at key elements of the polio programme including surveillance, campaign quality, communication, vaccine supply and logistics and other factors contributing to the interruption of the polio virus transmission.

4th external polio assessment debriefing
His Excellency Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister to the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia along with Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia; and Gillian Mellsop, Country Representative to UNICEF Ethiopia during the 4th external polio assessment debriefing on 12 June 2015. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Rozario

On Friday afternoon, 12 June, the external assessment team debriefed His Excellency Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister to the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia along with Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia; Gillian Mellsop, Country Representative to UNICEF Ethiopia along with key polio partners, and reviewed findings of the week-long assessment.

The overall conclusion was that the assessment believes that transmission in Ethiopia has been interrupted and called for sustained government support to ensure sustained gains.

Since the onset of the Horn of Africa (HOA) polio outbreak in May 2013, Ethiopia responded intensively. Following confirmation of cases in Somalia and Kenya, the first confirmed WPV case in Ethiopia was in August 2013 in the Somali Region resulting in a total of 10 WPV type-1 (wild poliovirus type 1) cases in the Doolo Zone of Somali Region. The last WPV case was confirmed in January 2014 — nearly 17 months ago – an indicator of interruption of transmission due to the intensive vaccination response, which includes 14 vaccination campaigns reaching children in all corners of the country with OPV (oral polio vaccine), including 4 rounds of National Immunization Days (NIDs), targeting between 12 to over 14 million children. All campaigns were supported with intensified communication and social mobilization activities, and engaged partnerships for solid community awareness, knowledge and acceptance of OPV.

H.E. Dr. Kebede responded enthusiastically to the assessment outcome, and stated, “The outbreak was closed due to the frontline teams and practioners on the ground.” He expressed support and said to value the recommendations to strengthen routine immunization, surveillance and quality SIAs (campaigns), which will benefit children and the health system in general. H.E. Dr. Kebede expressed gratitude to the leadership of the regional governments, particularly in the Somali Region. He appreciated efforts of community leaders, including religious leaders of the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, who played a key role in the outbreak response. Dr. Kebede thanked Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, for his commitment, and for his frequent visits to the outbreak epicenter, Doolo Zone of the Somali Region. He also welcomed Gillian Mellsop, as the new Country Representative to UNICEF Ethiopia and appreciated both partners for their contributions along with the other Polio Eradication Initiative partners such as CDC, Core Group, the Gates Foundation and Rotary International.

4th external polio assessment debriefing
Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia; Gillian Mellsop, Country Representative to UNICEF Ethiopia and Macoura Oulare, Chief of Health, UNICEF Ethiopia catch up during the 4th external polio assessment debriefing on 12 June 2015. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Rozario

Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou and Gillian Mellsop, congratulated the Ministry of Health on their achievements, expressed their support for the polio programme, and acknowledged the importance of drawing on the successes and lessons learned for the “polio legacy” in Ethiopia.

Final recommendations will be delivered to the Horn of Africa countries, government representatives and partners on 17 June 2015 in Nairobi at the Horn of Africa Outbreak Final Assessment Debriefing.

Discussion and Premiere of Documentary Films on Children in Ethiopia

posterWhat: Discussion and Premiere of Documentary Films on Children in Ethiopia in collaboration with 9th Ethiopian International Film Festival (EIFF); Wednesday, 19 November 2014, from 2:00-6:00pm, Italian Cultural Institute;

Who: Ethiopian International Film Festival, UNICEF, Nordic Embassies, WHIZKID, WALTA Information Centre, ZELEMAN

Why:  Preceding the national celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child and Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF will premiere two documentary films at the 9th Ethiopian International Film Festival followed by a panel discussion on;

  • Children’s right to information, expression and culture
  •  Impact of how children are portrayed in the media on society’s understanding of children’s needs

Nationally the international day of the Girl Child is celebrated with the theme of Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence, on 21st November in recognition of the importance of investing in and empowering adolescent girls and preventing and eliminating various forms of violence against adolescent girls. The theme, “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence”, speaks directly to the issues at the core of gender violence in schools – gender discrimination, gender inequality and harmful gender and social norms.

Mass media has a wide influence over all our lives. Media professionals (journalists, photographers, film makers) can contribute to improve ‘media literacy’ among children, and adults, by explaining how the mass media operates, and how to interpret its messages.

World Polio Day 2014 commemorated in Ethiopia

By Shalini Rozario

On 24 October 2014, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) gathered to commemorate World Polio Day, which also coincided with United Nations Day. In a Joint Statement issued by WHO, UNICEF and Rotary, the partners appreciated frontline workers in the fight against polio and called for sustained support for eradication efforts.

World Polio Day celebrated in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in the premises of the UNECA compound.
World Polio Day celebrated in Addis Ababa Ethiopia ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ayene

The World Polio day commemoration commenced with a moment of silence for the late Past District Governor (PDG) Nahu Senaye Araya, President of the Rotary National Polio Plus Committee. Ato Araya’s family, in attendance, was presented with a certificate of appreciation by WHO, UNICEF and Rotary for his years of dedicated service to the polio programme.

Dr. Pierre Mpele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia, stated in his welcoming remarks, “Today is a reminder of our duty to make sure that no more children are paralyzed by the disease that can be prevented with a simple, easy to administer vaccine.” The screening of two short videos, Help #EndPolio Forever and Curbing the polio spread through nation wide immunisation campaign, followed his welcoming remarks.

Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting Representative to UNICEF Ethiopia commended the contribution of partners in her key note address and emphasized the gains being made to reach all children with the polio vaccine and improved child survival interventions. “As the World Polio Day coincides with UN Day, we place our efforts within the broader context, as we work to uphold a child’s right to health as a basic human right for all. With the deadline fast approaching for measuring progress against achievement of the MDGs, our minds turn to the Ethiopia’s remarkable achievement of reaching MDG4. I believe, if we had the ability to achieve this goal three years ahead of schedule, we can certainly work together to ensure all eligible children are fully immunized by their first birthday.”

PDG Tadesse Alemu speaks at the World Polio Day
PDG Tadesse Alemu speaks at the World Polio Day commoration in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ayene

On a keynote address by PDG Dr. Tadesse Alemu, who recalled the commitment and dedication of PDG Nahu Senaye Araya, said “Swift and unprecedented changes in the world has impacted efforts of polio eradication. We must have strong push to end polio now. Dr. Taye Tolera, Special Advisor to the State Minister of Health, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, delivered remarks from the Ministry of Health. He stated, “This joint commemoration clearly shows that all partners and allies have maintained the stamina in the commitment and support to the Expanded Programme on Immunization and the Polio Eradication Initiative.” He called for continued commitment: “We all should be proud of our shared achievements. But, we should continue the journey until this highly interconnected world we all share is free of polio before 2018.”

As part of the World Polio Day events, Rotary International announced earlier in the week a US$44.7 million grant to fight polio in Africa, Asia and the Middle East on 21st October this year with Ethiopia to receive US$ 2 million for polio eradication efforts in the country.

Read the press release by UNICEF here.

Ethiopia hosted the 3rd Africa’s Nutrition Security Partnership Annual Review Meeting

By Selamawit Negash

Ten month old Hanan Mohammed Ibrahim has her mid upper arm circumference measured
Ten month old Hanan Mohammed Ibrahim has her mid upper arm circumference measured ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Getachew

Malnutrition in Africa is at present one of the leading causes of mortality among children under five. Data indicate that malnutrition including intra uterine growth restriction, stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies contribute to up to 45per cent of all child deaths in Africa.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 per cent of children under 5 years of age are stunted. Food and nutrition security in Africa, in particular in Sub Saharan Africa has hardly improved over the last decade, despite many initiatives at global and regional level.

There are evidences that all global advocacy initiatives need country examples – champions that can show in practice, and not just in theory, how to achieve results when resources are scarce and the challenges are great. The European Union (EU) and UNICEF partner to improve nutrition security in Africa at regional level and in a total of four target countries Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Africa Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) programme that is being implemented in 2012-2015 is a multi-donor initiative of in total €21 million with the support from the EU amounting to €15 million. The programme aims at increasing the commitment to nutrition in terms of policies, budgets, and effective programming and implementation. The programme fosters high-level policy engagement to nutrition at continental, regional and national levels and contributes to scaling up of high-impact nutrition interventions in the four target countries by integrating nutrition goals into broader health, development and agricultural efforts.

Ethiopia hosted the 3rd Africa’s Nutrition Security Partnership Annual Review Meeting from 14 to 15 October 2014. Participants from the government of Ethiopia EU, UNICEF as well as Cornell University from continental, regional and country level organisations discuss accomplishments, bottlenecks to implementations and sharing experiences and best practices among ANSP beneficiary countries.

Group Photo: African Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) 3rd Annual Review Meeting
Group Photo: African Nutrition Security Partnership (ANSP) 3rd Annual Review Meeting ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ayene

Good progresses is made towards the achievements of the ANSP objectives in all of the four ANSP result areas of policy, capacity, information system and programme scale up. It is clear that during the meeting, that ANSP is helping to improve the political environment for nutrition with strong continental, regional and national leadership, multisectoral coordination and joint accountability scale up community level nutrition interventions.

2015 will be the last year for ANSP support and partners must work to integrate the efforts being made with the local structures and systems to ensure sustainability. It will be very important to work on synergising continental level activities which aim to create enabling policy environment with community level programmes to scale up key high impact multisectoral nutrition interventions.

The meeting emphasised, the support for nutrition in Africa should continue within the framework of the Post 2015 Nutrition Action Plan.

In Ethiopia, new programme to reach out to 403,000 vulnerable adolescent girls’ and boys’

Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million (USD17, 421,026) to adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia
Left to Right: Peter Salama UNICEF representative to Ethiopia, Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim Royal Norwegian Embassy, Mr. Faustin Yao Representative of UNFPA in Ethiopia and Ato Berhanu Feyissa, Director General, Federal HIV/ AIDS prevention control office at the Grant signing ceremony “Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million (USD17, 421,026) to adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia” ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

ADDIS ABABA, 4 June 2014 – Today, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia announced a NOK 100 million (USD 17,421, 026 ) grant to  support the joint UNICEF and UNFPA programme on ‘Rights-based Approach to Adolescent and Youth Development in Ethiopia (Phase II – 2014-2017)’. The fund is divided equally between UNICEF and UNFPA and released independently to each agency on a bi-annual basis.

Under the programme, vulnerable adolescent girls and boys will gain improved access to an integrated youth-friendly services on protection and promotion of rights related reproductive health services, HIV/AIDS prevention services, and livelihoods. The funding will benefit 403,000 adolescents and youth aged between 10 and 24 in 30 selected woredas (districts) of six regions (Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, Afar, Tigray and Addis Ababa City Administration).

His Excellency Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim Royal Norwegian Embassy, speaks at grant signing ceremony
His Excellency Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim Royal Norwegian Embassy, speaks at grant signing ceremony “Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million (USD17, 421,026) to adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia” ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

During the grant signing ceremony, the Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Ethiopia H. E Mr. Odd-Inge Kvalheim said, “Promotion of gender equality, women and children’s rights and human rights is key to fight poverty and promote sustainable development in Ethiopia. Promoting the respect and protection of human rights, is also a cornerstone of Norwegian Policy.” The Ambassador further stated, “The Government of Ethiopia, UNICEF, UNFPA and their partners have achieved good results in the first phase of the program. We will in particular encourage them to continue the good cooperation.”

This joint programme will be implemented in partnership and with active collaboration of various government and non-government partners. The Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (FHAPCO) and key sector ministries: Health, Education, Labour and Social Affairs and Women Children and Youth Affairs will play a pivotal role at all levels of the programme implementation. Furthermore, civil society organizations (CSOs), and community based organizations (CBOs) will be active implementing partners.

The Director General of FHAPCO Ato Berhanu Feyissa said, “The collaborative achievements witnessed with Norwegian Embassy, UNICEF and UNFPA gives us an encouragement that together we can ensure reduction and prevention of new infections among young people. Our common goal is to achieve an AIDS-free generation and ultimately end the AIDS epidemic among our society.”

The joint programme aims to improve the capacity of government and non-government institutions as well as youth-run organizations to fulfil the demand of adolescents and youths in the selected 30 woredas. It will also empower communities and parents to ensure a protective and enabling environment which includes protecting them against gender-based violence, Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) and violation of their reproductive rights.

Mr. Faustin Yao Representative of UNFPA in Ethiopia speaks at a grant signing ceremony
Mr. Faustin Yao Representative of UNFPA in Ethiopia speaks at a grant signing ceremony “Royal Norwegian Embassy donates NOK 100 million (USD17, 421,026) to adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia” ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

Mr. Faustin Yao, UNFPA Country Representative to Ethiopia, on his part noted, “The programme, through provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services, will empower young girls and boys to be able to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.”

In line with rights-based programming approach, disadvantaged adolescents and youth are recognized as key actors in their own development utilizing Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and HIV/AIDS prevention services rather than as passive recipients of information, skills, and services.

Building on the experiences gained from the previous joint programme (2007- 2013), the phase II joint programme will provide services on SRH and HIV/AIDS services through youth centres, health facilities, and educational institutions so that adolescents and youths can ultimately make healthy decisions for themselves.

“We commend the Royal Norwegian Government for supporting the Government of Ethiopia, UNFPA and UNICEF to sustain the gains made so far.  UNICEF is firmly committed to enhance the development and protection, care and support of adolescent and young people,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.