WOM.fm brings accessible WASH education to water kiosks in Ethiopia

WOM.fm brings accessible WASH education to water kiosks in Ethiopia

German NGO Welthungerhilfe and their local partners are using the open platform for accessible audio information WOM.fm to provide accessible health education in rural Ethiopia as part of their Jimma GIZ Coffee Project.

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Germany operating in the humanitarian assistance and development fields. In Ethiopia, Welthungerhilfe works in Afar, Amhara and Oromia Regions in close cooperation with the government, national and international NGOs and the target community. The country program focuses on the sectors of Agriculture, Environment, WASH, Nutrition promotion, and Economic development. Due emphasis is given to keep maximum complementarity between sectors to bring an impact on the food and nutrition security status of target households.

Improving the livelihoods of coffee farmers

The local partner for the Jimma GIZ Coffee Project is HUNDEE, an Oromo grassroots development initiative. The joint Jimma GIZ Coffee Project aims to improve the livelihoods of 55.000 people in within 15 Kebeles of Mana, Seka Chekorsa and Gomma districts in Jimma zone of Oromia region. The main target groups are members of 13 coffee cooperatives as well as the cooperatives themselves. Out of these 13 cooperatives 8 have already been supported by a Welthungerhilfe and HUNDEE implemented project, funded by Coffee Circle and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development that was running from October 2017 to August 2021.

The main focus of the project is supporting the coffee sector through capacity development on the farm and cooperative level as well as by supporting marketing and support with coffee washing, drying and testing infrastructure. Additionally, through support of beekeeping and vermiworm production income diversification that also benefits coffee production is supported. As livelihood improvement depends on access to safe water and sanitation infrastructure, services as well as the knowledge of Hygiene, Sanitation and basic nutrition, WASH infrastructure construction, capacity development, as well as COVID-19 prevention and basic nutrition knowledge are included in the project.

Most of the coffee cooperatives do not have direct access to clean drinking water, so many residents have to rely on contaminated water. Local people also often lack knowledge about the risks posed by contaminated water or poor hygiene. The lack of awareness of health and hygiene issues is responsible for many serious diseases. The goal of this project is not only to improve the supply of drinking water and sanitation in underserved areas through water kiosks, but also to impart knowledge through targeted educational work in the health and hygiene sector.

Simple information in the local language is key

By providing audios via WOM.fm in the local language, adapted to the context of the rural community in the Jimma zone, the project promotes awareness and understanding of various issues relevant to the health and nutritional status of the community. Basic nutrition and health information is the foundation for healthier and more nutritious living, but often access to reliable and understandable information is difficult for rural people. Understanding complex information is also difficult due to low levels of education. Therefore, simple information in the local language and access without literacy skills is crucial.

WOM.fm provides 54 audios about WASH, nutrition and COVID in Oromo that are easily accessible using a QR code or the short URL WOM.fm/101. To facilitate access to this information, posters will be placed at the water kiosks.

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