In Ethiopia, one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of trachoma is by encouraging face and hand washing - not easy where water is scarce. This will help to slow the spread of bacteria which causes infection and ultimately prevent people from contracting trachoma. ORBIS representatives have started to train teachers about facial cleanliness, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and how to wash hands effectively to prevent the spread of bacteria.
In order to train the local community, it is important that water is readily available. The biggest challenge in water development and provision is not the initial cost (which is very high), but the maintenance and follow –up of its function.
Within the Konso area in southern Ethiopia, almost 60% of the water-pumps were non functional. ORBIS implemented a strategy to repair the non-functional water schemes. This involves training community members on how to perform minor repairs on these pumps to ensure they are in working order. A WASH committee was also set up to generate revenue for the repair. This strategy is focused on the repair of these non-functional schemes and handing over the responsibility to the communities, which is a very cost effective approach.
A single water scheme could serve a population of up to 100 households. If the scheme is located in a school it can serve more than 1000 students. The average cost of maintenance is about ETB10, 000 or approx €400.