19 May 2016

Open University resources to boost water projects in Ethiopia

A major national initiative by the Government of Ethiopia to provide 30 million people with safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is being supported by new free resources from The Open University.

OpenWASH is a set of five free learning modules developed by The Open University and expert Ethiopian authors, aimed at helping practitioners and new employees in the sector improve their skills and knowledge. Working with World Vision Ethiopia and UNICEF, and funded by UK aid from the UK Government, the resources are designed to make WASH projects more successful and could ultimately save lives in Ethiopia.

Only half of Ethiopia’s population have access to a safe water supply and even fewer have access to adequate sanitation. Ethiopia needs new infrastructure plus people with the right mix of skills, from engineering to community engagement, to deliver successful water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects. OpenWASH provides vital education resources to help meet this need.

Pam Furniss, Academic Director at The Open University for OpenWASH, said: “The OpenWASH modules are unique in their particular focus on urban settings. Images of Ethiopia often focus on people carrying contaminated river water long distances in rural areas. Yet with growing towns and cities in Ethiopia, the reality of access to water, toilets and effective waste disposal often presents a different set of challenges.

“Increasing funding for equipment and infrastructure for WASH projects in Ethiopia won’t work without the right people with the right skills to manage and maintain new services. By equipping WASH workers with this vital expertise, OpenWASH will enable them to make water and sanitation projects more successful and sustainable.”
As freely available open educational resources (OERs), the OpenWASH modules can be used and adapted for WASH projects around the world, supporting the United Nations Global Goal to achieve safe drinking water and access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030.

To find out more about OpenWASH visit

Notes to Editor: OpenWASH supports World Vision Ethiopia’s Urban WASH programme. This feeds into UNICEF’s One WASH Plus programme, which is funded by UK aid from the UK Government, and directly supports the Ethiopian Government’s One WASH National Programme.


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