Empowering Water Management: Collaborative Training in Addis Ababa

19 December 2023

In the second week of December 2023, a team from the Blue Deal Wastewater program journeyed to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. The mission? Conducting a training session for our partner water utilities of Hawassa, Shashemene and Adama, on the effective use of vacuum trucks—specialized vehicles designed for emptying septic tanks. What set this training apart was its collaborative and open approach.

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Breaking the Mold of Authoritative Training

The trainers, Christophe Meijer from the municipality of Urk and Arjan Geertsema from the municipality of Groningen, approached the training with a refreshing departure from the traditional authoritative style. Participants noted a significant shift towards a more cooperative and open atmosphere.

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Appreciating Open-Minded Training

Traditionally, trainers are seen as assertive and directive. However, this experience was different. Attendees appreciated the open-mindedness of the trainers, fostering an increasingly open and sharing environment as the training progressed.

Comprehensive Training Topics

The training truck management covered a range of crucial topics, including:

  • Sanitation Awareness: Emphasizing the importance of proper sanitation facilities and awareness.
  • Vacuum Truck Usage: Exploring the efficient use of vacuum trucks for wastewater management.
  • Data and Information Management: Understanding the significance of effective data and information handling.
  • Tariff Determination: Discussing the process of determining tariffs for water services.
  • Maintenance and Spare Parts Management: Addressing the importance of equipment maintenance and spare parts management.
  • Safety: Highlighting safety measures, including the contribution of three H2S gas meters from the municipality of Groningen.

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Field Visit to Adama

The last day consisted of a field visit to Adama. Here, we looked at vacuum trucks, storage of spare parts, septictanks at public toilets and an example of an overflowing septictank of condominium houses (local residential buildings). While at the several places of interest, we discussed the matters at hand to connect theory with practice.   

Implementation and Future Plans

With knowledge and experience in hand, it's now up to the water utilities to implement what they've learned. A follow-up is guaranteed, with considerations for extending similar training to other water utilities and planning more hands-on practical sessions.

Enriching Cross-Cultural Learning

This week served as a rich learning experience for both Ethiopian and Dutch participants. Ethiopians gained insights into managing vacuum trucks, while the Dutch learned about the significance and positive impact of training programs characterized by openness and adaptability to participants' needs.

Additional Information

The Blue Deal Wastewater program, led by Wereld Waternet with Richard Oudhuis at the helm, aims to enhance water purification management at three partner water utilities in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Energy.