Problem Addressed

Food insecurity, hunger & malnutrition: More than 80% of the population in Soro Woreda (Region) live in rural areas and depend on traditional agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods. However, droughts, crop failure and land degradation seriously affect these communities’ abilities to produce food. As a result, the target communities have very low food crop production, and the lack of resources and information to increase this production has led to malnutrition, especially amongst children.

Lack of water supply: Soro is a region which suffers from droughts every two years, and has water supply coverage of less than 40%. The sources where water is collected are unsafe and remote, forcing local community members to travel around 1.5 hours each day to collect dirty water.

Poor hygiene and sanitation and related diseases: Current sanitation coverage in Soro is 65%, forcing those without a toilet to practice open defecation. Schools in Soro also lack safe toilets for girls and boys, making children more prone to diseases and less likely to attend classes. Girls also lack the menstrual hygiene knowledge to keep themselves clean during their periods, which discourages them from attending school during these days. Repeated diarrhea and intestinal worm infections cause 50% of malnutrition cases in children under 5 years as a result of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

Gender inequality: According to a Soro Woreda Women’s Office report, levels of empowerment amongst rural women are very low. Women’s primary functions are traditionally related to bearing and raising children, fetching water, preparing food, and other household jobs. Women and girls are also victims of gender based violence, and are exposed to possible sexual assault and abuse when having to fetch water in remote areas or when searching for a place to go to the toilet.

Innovative Approach

EECMY’s program takes an integrated approach to water supply management, environmental sustainability, and food security. Their use of old pit latrines for compost, along with EcoSan toilets, shows communities that using toilets isn’t simply for sanitation purposes but can also help them grow fruits and vegetables. EECMY works with government officials to ensure that this approach can scale up to reach communities around Ethiopia.

Program Solution

This prograim aims to increase food security and reduce water-related illnesses and malnutrition among poor, rural, and marginalised communities in Soro, Ethiopia, through improved farming techniques, increased access to safe water supply, increased access to fertilizer-producing EcoSan facilities, and improved hygiene practices.


1. Increase agricultural production of targeted farmers in a diversified and sustainable way.

2. Increase sustained access to safe water and promote sustainable management of the water facilities.

3. Increase access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and improve hygiene practices in target areas.

4. Promote the protection of the local environment.

5. Build the capacity of local government staff to sustain and duplicate project achievements.


1. Food security: Train 1,300 farmers on improved farming methods; Provide 1,300 farmers new agricultural technologies and early maturing and drought resistant seedling of vegetables and fruits; Establish and support a women’s farmer group.

2. Water: Construct 2 gravity water supply systems; Carry out quality testing of water; Establish and train boards and water technicians.

3. Sanitation and Hygiene: Trigger demand in target communities; Construct 70 household EcoSan toilets, 3 school latrines, 4 blocks of inclusive ventilated pit latrines in 2 schools, and 220 fertilizer-producing refuse disposal pits; Establish and train 300 community members; Produce IEC; Sensitise 33,000 people on WASH; Train 48 Community Hygiene Promoters and 18 Health Extension Workers; Establish 7 WASH Clubs; Conduct MHM activities and a health survey.

4. Environmental Protection: Carry out water shed management of spring area, the construction of 260 fuel saving stoves, and natural resource management.

5. Capacity building: Conduct site visits and workshops for 100 selected government staff.

Ethiopia Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development & Social Service Commission (EECMY)

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Partners: WaterAid International Ethiopia and Irish Aid.

Location:  Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region,