Ethiopia, UNICEF, Emergency WASH Response for the Reduction of Hunger in Borena Zone, Oromia Region

The Borena Zone (Oromia Region) hosts one third of Oromia's conflict Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) between Oromo and Somali groups. Water is a priority for conflict IDP sites and local populations. UNICEF, as the lead agency for the WASH sector in development and humanitarian settings, proposes targeted interventions to respond to immediate life-saving needs by improving access to clean and safe drinking water, and support the recovery phase for both IDPs and host communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water sanitation
Water supply
01.12.2018 - 30.11.2020
CHF 503'000
Background The Borena zone in Oromia Region of Ethiopia is one of the pastoral areas experiencing recurrent complex humanitarian crises due to drought, conflict and disease. Out of Borena's 1'178'690 population, more than 200'000 people are currently food insecure. About 80% of Borena households face seasonal food insecurity (i.e. average of 5-months food gap) irrespective of their socio-economic background. This is due to socio-economic, environmental, and institutional challenges such as advance bush encroachment, overgrazing, soil erosion, demographic pressure, recurrent drought and the weakening of traditional rangeland management systems, as well as the increased incidence of resource-based conflicts. The zone has been affected by the 2017 border conflict between Oromia and Somali regions resulting in displacement of 254,922 people (i.e. circa 20% of the total population) across 5 districts (woredas) and 52 villages (kebeles). The 2018 Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) identified over 6 million people without safe drinking water in the country. The WASH Cluster urgently requires $62.3M to ensure the provision of basic services to conflict and drought induced IDPs. The priority activities include installation of sanitation facilities specifically in IDP collective centers; hygiene promotion (social mobilization); the provision of water supply to IDPs and host communities through alternatives to water trucking (durable piped solutions). The WASH Cluster is prioritizing durable solutions to repair of existing schemes which is the focus of this project. Despite hosting more than one third of the Oromia's conflict IDPs (768061), no water trucking resources have been allocated to Borena. Different long term WASH solutions are required for the conflict-affected IDPs and the local population. UNICEF and the wider WASH Cluster has identified the Borena Zone as one of the top priority areas for targeted interventions that focuses on addressing immediate life-saving needs, and building semi-permanent WASH infrastructure such as expansion and rehabilitation of water schemes.
Objectives Reduce the incidence of hunger and malnutrition for IDPs and host communities through the provision of sustainable WASH services.
Target groups 30'000 IDPs and 10'000 host communities directly in Moyale, Dhas, Arero, Wachile and Guchi Woredas, Borena Zone (Oromia Region), and indirectly an estimated 40'000 people living in the area.
Medium-term outcomes IDPs and host communities especially children in the target project areas have improved access to clean and safe drinking water and NFls for hygiene.

Expected results:  

  • 30'000 IDPs receive essential WASH non-food items(NFls)
  • 3 IDPs sites are connected to existing piped water supply scheme in the Borena Zone.
  • Research on early recovery activities to better understand the water usage balance and design a sustainable way in a fragile environment.

Results from previous phases:   This is a new single phase intervention with UNICEF. However, SDC has two secondments already imbedded with UNICEF on WASH which will compliment SDC investment.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund

Other partners
Ethiopian Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC) for the third output mentioned above (research on water usage).
Coordination with other projects and actors This contribution complements the SDC's humanitarian (multilateral and bilateral) support in the field of food security, protection and health in emergency situations (EHF, ICRC, VSF-CH, and WFP), as well as the SDC longer-term resilience engagement (Helvetas) in the Borena zone.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   503'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   503'000 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF  503'000