The programme focuses on reducing child mortality due to diarrhoea in selected districts of Ethiopia’s Gujji zone. Programme centres of advocacy include reducing water-born and hygiene-related diarrhoeal disease among children, increasing access to effective treatment for diarrhoeal diseases among children, and strengthening the project management capacity of Ethiopia’s Red Cross. Water and sanitation coverage levels in Ethiopia are amongst the lowest in the world. Only 34% of its rural population have access to improved water sources, and many communities are plagued by persisting drought, which is one of the main causes of diseases in humans, including diarrhoeal diseases, in Ethiopia’s rural areas. Diarrhoeal diseases account for 46% of under-five mortality in Ethiopia, with drought amplifying other contributing issues such as food insecurity, access to affordable healthcare, and lack of hygiene knowledge, creating a fertile environment for the spread of diarrhoea and prolonged child morality. The project is located in the southern part of Ethiopia, in the Oromiya region’s Guji zone. Within this zone, the Balambale, Medhadunan, and Chana Mansa wards of the Gorodolla district and Gewisa and Odo Kelecha wards of the Girga district are targeted.
Building effective community resilience forms the core of the approach to reducing child diarrhoea-related mortality. This strategy includes building water infrastructures that allow safe water delivery to communities, providing basic health and sanitation training, increasing the Ethiopian Red Cross’ community-level presence, implementing outbreak contingency plans, and providing supplementary medicines.
The project focuses on children under-five, however, wider community members will also benefit from improved sanitation and access to safe drinking water. In total, 23,110 individuals, both children and adults, are beneficiaries of the programme.