July 25, 2017
On July 25th the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute (EWTI) held the first Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) Meeting at EWTI. The meeting, which was attended by Mr. Ken Yamada, Chief Representative of JICA Ethiopia, Mr. Zewdu Seifu, Director of Water Technology Education & Training Directorate at EWTI and Mr. Akihiro Miyazaki, Director of Global Environment Department (JICA), kicked-off a three-year cooperation between the two agencies to strengthen the training capacity for operations and management for EWTI.
Providing safe water supply and sanitation service remains a challenge in Ethiopia; a significant portion of the population still remains without access to safe water supply and sanitation facilities. Acknowledging this issue, the Government of Ethiopia has implemented various strategies within its national development plan (Growth & Transformation Plan - GTP I and GTP II) scheme to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
In this regard, JICA has also mobilized resources and assisted the Ethiopian Government with the construction of water supply systems and capacity building through technical cooperation as well as grant assistance schemes since the 1970s. The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), in collaboration with JICA, established the Ethiopian Water Technology Center (now EWTI) in 1998. Since its establishment EWTI and JICA have trained more than 4,000 technicians and engineers in Ethiopia.
So as to fulfill the human development requirements in the sector, a new technical cooperation project to strengthen the capacity for training operation and management for EWTI is being implemented. The project is expected to: strengthen the training management of EWTI; enhance the training capacity of EWTI lecturers and to establish an internal training system for both the public and private sectors.
"At the end of the three years, our hope is that EWTI will have the ability to continuously conduct skill development activities for technicians and engineers," stated Mr. Zewdu. EWTI is also working towards being recognized as a Center of Excellence in East Africa in the next few years and hopes to train over 1,000 professionals in the water sector per year.
It is stated within GTP II that more than 13,000 medium-level professionals need to be trained in order to increase the access rate to safe drinking water to 83% by 2020." Given the importance of the need to develop human resources in the water sector, this capacity training project should seize the opportunity to foster and spearhead trainings so as to realize the GTP II targets," urged Mr. Yamada.
For the last two decades, JICA has been focusing on groundwater development in Ethiopia which has contributed to increasing access to rural water supply. However, due to rapid urbanization and the increased demand for water in urban areas, JICA will focus on improving the access rate to safe drinking water and capacity building for the sustainable operation and maintenance of water supply services in urban areas.