Sustainable Water Resources: Capacity Building in Education, Research, and Outreach

The vision of the partnership was to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial academic partnership between the U.S. and Ethiopian institutions to train the next generation of leaders to develop and manage Ethiopia’s water resources in a sustainable and productive manner.

The partner universities collaborated to prepare professionals capable of undertaking relevant research and to address development challenges through demand-driven and problem-solving research and community engagement. Community engagement focused on providing access to clean water and on educating community members about sanitary health practices. Women, in particular, were encouraged to participate in all community activities.

The partners aligned their objectives with the higher education expansion and reform strategies of the Ministry of Education and Water Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Development, and with health-sector development strategies of the Ministry of Health. Partners collaborated and promoted synergies with U.S. government (USG) initiatives in Ethiopia. The partnership activities also aligned with USAID/Ethiopia’s Sustainable Water Resources Management programs; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH); Climate Change Adaptation and USAID’s overall Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) strategies.

Activity Description

USAID’s grant to support Ethiopia’s Sustainable Water Resources: Capacity Building in Education, Research, and Outreach program addressed the critical need for institutional capacity and workforce expertise for sustainable development and management of the country’s water resources. In Ethiopia, the shortage of highly trained professionals in the water sector means bottlenecks in higher education institutions and shortfalls in developing and managing the nation’s water resources that require outside assistance.

Expected Outcomes
  • Increase the ability of tertiary educational institutions to offer relevant and high quality education in water and health
  • Enhance higher education institutions’ ability to conduct quality research in Water and Health
  • Improve outreach and community engagement
  • Develop capacity of the Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources (EIWR).
Actual Outcomes
  • Established the Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources (EIWR), which is Ethiopia’s first institute dedicated to addressing critical water-related challenges at a national and regional level.
  • Created four new graduate-level programs and courses in water-related areas; MSc and Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering & Management (WREM) and MSc and Ph.D. in Water and Health (W&H).
  • Supported 38 students towards completion of their graduate degrees, including two Ph.D. students in the WREM program.
  • Reached 16,095 community members through EIWR’s outreach activities, which involved building innovative latrines, teaching the importance of hand-washing, providing an experiential learning experience for undergraduates, and guiding a rural community on how to install a de-fluoridation vessel.
  • Conducted 32 short-term trainings benefitting 596 individuals between 2011-2015. Trainings included research methodology workshops, internships, professional trainings, courses and seminars.
  • Enhanced the facilities of EIWR by improving research laboratories and by purchasing specialized equipment like the gas analyzer