AICS Addis Abeba together with Arba Minch Correctional Institution for COVID-19 prevention

Personal Protective Equipment for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 has been delivered to Arba Minch Correctional Institution, thanks to the redirect of 12,800 Euro from existing resources by the Italian Government.

Disposable and fabric reusable masks, hand sanitizers, surface disinfecting detergent for common areas, infrared thermometers for the clinic, gloves, soaps, and sanitary pads are now available to inmates (972 men and 34 women with children), as well as to the 196 workers and 46 teachers.

1,248 people can then now protect themselves properly and follow all the prevention measures in place.

Arba Minch Correctional Institution is supported through the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Social integration (WEESI) project since 2016. WEESI project, funded by the Italian Government, has seen the rehabilitation of the female section and the construction of new showers and latrines in order to improve the living conditions of women inmates. Moreover, it has benefitted from actions aimed at promoting income-generating activities, access to financial services and creation of sustainable market linkages through two different initiatives of the Ethiopian government and the CSO CIAI.

100% Plastic, project for the safeguard of the environment and the creation of social and economic value in Awassa: the final conference tells its history and results

On the 15th of July, Centro Internazionale per l’Infanzia e la Famiglia (CIFA) live-streamed the final conference on the project “100% Plastic - Development of the collection and recycling of plastic waste industry in Awassa”, with an overall value of 1 Million and 300 thousand Euro, 75% co-financed by AICS.

Italian and Ethiopian institutions involved, non-profit and for-profit partners, and national and international players in the plastic production and recycling sector took part in the conference to tell the history of the project and give back the results to the general public.

Following the narration of the project by CIFA, AICS, and the partners, in the second part of the morning, the focus shifted to the plastic production and recycling sector at the centre of the last years’ political and environmental debate. The speakers discussed the circular economy, and in particular of the sector in the developing economies such as Ethiopia.

100% Plastic, started in April 2017 and now in conclusion at the end of July 2020, has been among the pioneers at the very beginning of the new Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) to successfully unite the non-profit and the for-profit sectors, promoting the safeguard of the environment and at the same time creating social and economic value. With the general objective of protecting the environment in Ethiopia starting the recycling process in the city of Awassa improving therefore the urban waste management, the project has actually also planned and had results beyond the pure environmental aspect.

Silvia Vanzetto, environmental engineer and project manager for CIFA, narrated the steps from the idea to the implementation. Starting from the context analysis and the problems affecting the touristic city of Awassa, previously located in SNNP region and now in the new Sidama region, she described the four expected results to picture the complexity and ambitions of the project: 1) to create the recycling process, 2) to improve the professional skills of the plastic collectors in the city, 3) to sensitize the community on environmental problems and on the bad solid waste management, and lastly 4) to create a medium-term plan for the development and the waste management, together with the city administration.

The project valued particularly the youth and its role in each of the activities to achieve these results. Activities that, here grouped by expected results, included:

  • The creation of coordination among the 18 local associations of plastic collectors and the Coba Impact PLC, local partner that produce PET flakes; the creation of a collection point for the plastic and the activities connected to the waste from the recycling plastic; and a pilot of a door to door collection with Corintea Soc.
  • Training on the collection for formal and informal collectors, on the use of the press machinery, and business skills development.
  • Community awareness activities through different channels such as the creation of a group to carry on the sensitization itself, training of university students, educational workshops in schools, two communication campaigns (a visual one and a radio one), a play that through the social theatre methodology and flash mobs can deliver the message in public events like the first World Environmental Day in Awassa, and lastly the “Hawassa green hotel” operation that included the writing of guidelines to the touristic hotels on plastic separation, training of the staff and environmental communication targeting the tourists.
  • Lastly, the definition of a medium-term plan for the city on the waste cycle together with the city administration, and thanks to the technical assistance of the Turin Metropolitan City Administration.

In addition to the 28 million PET bottles collected and the 836 tons sent for recycling for an economic value of 180,000 Euro recovered from plastic waste that otherwise would have polluted the environment or be piled up in dumpsites, the project created new income opportunities for 262 collectors, 52 workers in the collection centre and a secondary income for other 485 people and informal collectors. Moreover, 100% Plastic sensitized 33,000 students and more than 19,000 people during more than 50 public environmental events.

As the AICS’ Technical officer at Office VII and responsible for CSOs’ projects, Denise Piva underlined, the synergy between the non-profit and the for-profit sectors indeed guaranteed the sustainability and the success of the project. On one hand, the for-profit sector drives and provides professional skills, while on the other hand, the non-profit sector knows better the local context and its needs facilitating the collaborations among the different stakeholders. As mentioned before, 100% Plastic has been one of the first examples of the ambitions’ implementation of the Italian Law n.125/2014 – General discipline of international cooperation for development where the private sector appeared as a cooperation actor for the first time, now a mandatory role in order to reach the Agenda 2030’s SDGs.

A project where such diverse actors work together is a project where everybody wins, and for this reason in the Country Framework 2017-2019, AICS - Addis Abeba Office treasured its methodology to reuse it for the direct project definition of other programs for the environmental protection in Ethiopia, such as the riverside development project in Addis Abeba and a similar intervention at Wonchi’s lake.

To watch the full conference with the speeches of:

Silvia Vanzetto, Project Manager at CIFA,
Denise Piva, AICS’ Technical officer at Office VII and responsible for CSOs’ projects,
Gabriele Amara, Deputy General Manager at Coba Impact PLC,
Stefania Alemani, Responsible at the Recovery Implants’ Office and Agata Fortunato, Responsible at the Waste Management Office of the Turin Metropolitan City Administration,
Andrea Camarlinghi, Associate and Counselor at Corintea Soc. Coop,
Paolo Legato, Director at MAcA Museo A come Ambiente,
Paola Rossi, Account at Achab S.r.l.,
Maurizio Bertolini, Social and Community Theatre Expert at the Social and Community Theatre Centre,
Alessandro Corticelli, Packaging Sales Director Middle East & Africa at DOW,
Antonello Ciotti, Director of COREPLA,
Carlo Andriolo, CEO at ALIPLAST S.p.A,
and Enrico Perbellini, Manager at Pluto International s.r.l.,

you can find the video recording here. The conference was facilitated by Marco Pastori, Projects’ and Fundraising Responsible at CIFA.

SHILL Project Results’ Restitution from Amhara and SNNP Regions

In February 2017, the Republic of Italy and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia signed a technical agreement, entered into force in April 2018, to strengthen health infrastructure at the local level in different regions of the country.

A 5-Million-euro Soft Loan was committed by the Italian Cooperation, out of which 3 Million euro have already been disbursed. AICS, through its local office in Addis Abeba, provides technical assistance, monitoring, and evaluation.

The implementation of the “Strengthening Health Infrastructure at Local Level” (SHILL) Project started in September 2018 and it includes three areas of interventions:

  1. Provision of pure and potable water to selected health centers in Amhara and SNNP Regions, including either construction or rehabilitation of the centers’ water scheme.
  2. Construction or rehabilitation of selected health centers' drug warehouses in Amhara region.
  3. Implementation of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in selected hospitals of Addis Ababa.

In March 2020, AICS Addis Abeba monitored the activities’ status of the first area of intervention both in Amhara and SNNP Regions.

In Amhara Region, 27 health facilities have been prioritized with a 923,865.00-euro overall budget:

  • 14 health facilities completed the construction for water supply and wastewater management;
  • 12 health facilities are at various stages of construction;
  • 1 health facility has not yet started the construction.

In SNNP Region, 20 health facilities have been prioritized with an 860,135.00-euro overall budget:

  • 11 health facilities completed the construction work for the provision of safe water.
  • 7 health facilities at various stages including supplementary work.
  • 2 health facilities have not yet started the construction.

Watch the AICS monitoring mission’s video to discover the locations of the health centers in the two regions, and which additional development started with some communities thanks to the provision of safe water!

Unite Against NCDs: online the proceedings report from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and AICS Addis Ababa workshop

We publish the proceedings report of “The Double Burden of Diseases and Challenges on Service Provision and Integration in Ethiopia: Evidence Generated from Different Experiences” workshop organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and AICS Addis Ababa on 26 and 27 February 2020.

The two-day workshop saw the participation of 56 attendants and 17 experts from Government institutions, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Universities and Health Institutions, including two international guests respectively from Sudan, Dr. Osama Head of Family Medicine Program, FMoH of Sudan, and from Palestine, Cristina Natoli the Head of AICS Jerusalem.

The former Ethiopian State Minister - now Minister - of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse together with the former Head of AICS Addis Abeba, Mr. Tiberio Chiari, opened the works reminding the importance of the event within the wider national context and the continuous support by the Italian cooperation in the health sector in the last 15 years.

12 are the key recommendations from presentations, questions, panel discussions, and sharing among experts and participants, in order to inform policymakers and strengthen the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Ethiopia:

  1. The rise of Non-Communicable Diseases in Ethiopia requires a multi-sectoral response for their prevention and control. There is a need for higher engagement of different sectors and stakeholders through the establishment of effective and efficient structures at national and regional levels (ex. inter-ministerial and/or parliamentary committees). Moreover, barriers to multi-sectoral actions such as lack of awareness in different sectors, low political commitment, poor coordination among stakeholders, and inadequate resources should be tackled.
  2. Governments should integrate NCDs as part of primary health care. The Government can facilitate managing NCDs at an early stage and, therefore, it is a less expensive investment than diagnosing and managing them at a later stage. Investments in NCDs prevention and control should also be done through evidence-based approaches so as to contribute to the strengthening of the health system in the long run.
  3. NCDs remain one of the most underfunded programs. Nevertheless, considering the depth and magnitude of the problem and considering that it is currently on the rise, adequate resources should be mobilized to increase budgetary allocations for addressing these diseases.
  4. CSOs have long contributed towards reaching public health goals and they continue to have an important role in service delivery, awareness creation, advocacy, monitoring, and accountability. There is, therefore, a need to strengthen CSOs engagement and actions in the prevention and control of NCDs. Furthermore, their expertise should be leveraged also through partnerships with the Government. Strengthen the action and contribution of NCD civil society CSOs, which should be leveraged by the engagement of governments and partnership with CSOs.
  5. Create partnership and collaboration with Overseas Development Assistance (ODAs) to complement domestic resources to increase health expenditure in tackling the double burden of diseases consistent with the Country’s priorities.
  6. Increase commitment for integration and decentralization of NCD services in the Primary Health Care (PHC) System.
  7. Develop appropriate strategic health communications campaigns on NCD and conduct concrete and continuous awareness creation and massive community mobilization.
  8. Malnutrition and unhealthy diets are one of the leading risk factors for non-communicable diseases. It is recommended to design and implement double and triple duty action interventions and programs that can simultaneously address the risk or burden of both undernutrition and overweight, obesity, or diet-related NCDs.
  9. Strengthen the capacity of NCD human resources through the introduction of Family Medicine curricula. Moreover, it is important to implement different retention mechanisms of trained staff.
  10. Ensure a continuum of delivery of drugs and supplies for NCDs, including maintenance of equipment.
  11. Look for innovative approaches that contextualize NCDs service delivery and identify the risk factors to design appropriate interventions.
  12. Strengthen the capacity of the PHC system in providing the continuity of care needed by patients affected by chronic diseases.

To read the full proceedings report, download it here.


Press review:

Live tweet of the workshop here

EBC TV interview to Dr. Lia Tadesse and Tiberio Chiari here (from min. 34:30)

The article on ENA here

The Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Signed an Implementing Agreement on Rural WASH in Oromia

On 09th of September, H.E. Arturo Luzzi, the Ambassador of Italy to Ethiopia, and H.E. Yasmin Wohabrebbi, the State Minister of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Finance of Ethiopia signed in Addis Ababa the bilateral agreement for the implementation of the “Rural Wash in Oromia” project. The agreement was also signed by Mr. Fabio Melloni, Head ad interim of AICS Addis Ababa Office.

With a budget of 2 Million Euros on grant, the project will be implemented through the Regional Water Bureau of Oromia. The project aims to improve rural natural resources management in the Oromia Region and focuses on increasing safe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services, and to strengthen the capacity for water resources management and service delivery in rural areas of the selected Woredas in South West – Shewa Zone.

As Mr. Fabio Melloni, Head ad interim of AICS Addis Ababa Office declared while signing:

The overall objective of the Project is to improve the living and health conditions of target communities in Oromia by rehabilitating and extend the water and sanitation services in the selected rural areas. In this challenging time, the provision of safe water and the improvement of sanitation, and hygiene services in rural areas is key to enhance the resilience of the community to environmental and sanitary emergencies like the current one. AICS is strongly committed to contributing to strengthening the capacity of long-term sustainable water resources management and service delivery in Ethiopia”.

The Project falls within the Ethio-Italian Cooperation Country Framework 2017-19 whose portfolio is of 125 Million Euros. The Country Framework is aimed at contributing to the integrated, inclusive, and sustainable development and follows the guiding Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation Principles of strengthening the Country ownership and reinforcing mutual accountability as well as promoting a win-win partnership.

AICS Addis Abeba’s WASH Energy & Environment sector contributes to the COVID-19 fight

AICS Addis Abeba’s WASH Energy & Environment sector redirected 20,000 EUR to the fight of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.

Every little contribution counts!

With the AICS AA funds, the Water Development Commission of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), procured, distributed, and installed:

  • 2 immersion pumps, pipes, and fittings for the quarantine centres in different regions of the country, focusing on borders areas, particularly interested by returnees inflow.
  • 100 stands for the public handwashing points equipped with 1,000 litres tanks. The handwashing points have been installed in two of the most affected Addis Abeba’s neighbourhoods, Addis Ketema and Lideta, characterized by a very high-density population and hosting different high-risk places for community spread such as markets and bus stations.
  • Hand sanitizers, and alcohol-based disinfectants for the MoWIE personnel.

The interventions are complementary to the wider MoWIE strategy for the COVID-19 emergency response which, thanks to the support of multiple donors, including AICS Addis Abeba, has set up numerous quarantine centres in the whole country to host people entering the country. In coordination with the respective Regional Water Bureaus, MoWIE procured, distributed, and installed the necessary material to rehabilitate, extend or build functioning water schemes, guaranteeing higher hygiene standards in the centres.

The intervention implemented in the capital city of Addis Abeba contributes to the massive awareness campaign on topics such as social distancing and the importance of carrying on correct hygiene practices, it supports the installation of public handwashing facilities, focusing on high population density areas, and therefore it helps to prevent the spread of the virus.

None is safe until everyone is safe!

Italian and Ethiopian experts shared knowledge on Mental Health during Covid-19 Emergency

Mental Health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19, as António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations stated only a few days ago.

In line and complied with above, on 27th of May, AICS Addis Abeba offered technical assistance during a virtual meeting of the TWG MHPSS (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support), part of the Health Cluster in Ethiopia, thanks to the availability of some Italian experts, currently engaged on Mental Health management in times of COVID-19. The Italian experience during the pandemic in regards to this specific field is very useful and meaningful for health workers and policymakers in Ethiopia.

The meeting aimed at sharing practical knowledge, good practices, and facilitate a direct interaction among health practitioners, namely on mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three Italian experts were invited by AICS to actively share their experience and knowledge, and participants were from NGOs, Addis Ababa University, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), and the UN.

The first expert was Dr. Giovanni de Girolamo, from the IRCCS – Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli of Brescia, and presented a “General introduction based on the paper Mental Health in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Emergency - The Italian Response in Jama Psychiatry”.

The second expert was Dr. Fabrizio Starace, Director of the Department of Mental Health & Drug Abuse - AUSL Modena, also President of the Italian Society of Epidemiological Psychiatry (SIEP), and Member of the National Health Council. He presented “Services’ restructuring as paper COVID-19 disease emergency operational instructions for Mental Health Departments in EPS (Italian Society of Epidemiological Psychiatry)”.

Lastly, Dr. Maria Luisa Scattoni, from the Research and Coordination and Support Service of the Italian Institute of Health, presented “Stress management for healthcare workers in COVID-19 context”. The interesting report "Interim guidance for the appropriate support of the health workers in the SARS-CoV-2 emergency scenario" is now available also in English.

The meeting was facilitated by Mrs. Teresa Ombalo (WHO), Chair of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Technical Working Group in Ethiopia.

The three presentations can be found below, as well as the video-recording of the meeting.

We take this opportunity to thank the three experts, the organizers, and all the participants who made this sharing knowledge session possible.


The presentations:

Presentation 1: Dr. Giovanni de Girolamo, “General introduction based on the paper Mental Health in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Emergency - The Italian Response in Jama Psychiatry”.

Presentation 2: Dr. Fabrizio Starace, “Services’ restructuring as paper COVID-19 disease emergency operational instructions for Mental Health Departments in EPS (Italian Society of Epidemiological Psychiatry)”.

Presentation 3: Dr. Maria Luisa Scattoni, “Stress management for healthcare workers in COVID-19 context”.

The video-recording of the meeting:

AICS Addis Abeba redirects some existing funds to meet new needs arose from Covid19 emergency

Thanks to the support of AICS Addis Abeba, UNAIDS Ethiopia delivered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID19 to two different CSOs that work with people living with HIV: the Network of networks of HIV positives in Ethiopia (NEP+) and the National Network of Positive Women in Ethiopia (NNPWE).

Disposable gloves, face masks, hand sanitizers, and hand soaps will support the PLHIV community in applying safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Some existing funds have been relocated to this purpose. During a global pandemic, in fact, it is more important than ever to protect people’s health everywhere: in Italy, Ethiopia, and the rest of the world, in order to protect the common good and everyone’s future.

As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, stated in his official tweets:

"COVID19 is reminding us of a simple but vital truth: we are one species, sharing one planet."
(during the Earth Day, 22nd of April)

"Now more than ever, it's time for unity to defeat the common enemy & keep the world safe."
(20th of April)

The Ethiopian Ministry of Health launched an informative and monitoring platform of COVID19 situation in Ethiopia for the community, available also in English on:

AICS Addis Abeba, together with other 29 bilateral and multilateral donors in the country, is part of the Development Assistance Group (DAG) which has the objective of coordinate, catalyze and harmonize the aid for development in Ethiopia to guarantee its effectiveness, efficiency, alignment and sustainability towards the achievement of the SDGs.

During this emergency, coordination is more than ever crucial, together with the humanitarian actors in connection with the National Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) Commission and the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) of the Ethiopian Government for a better multisectoral response.

We conclude with the invitation of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in his videomessage to the Italians for the Easter:

Let’s avoid the spread of the virus and let’s instead allow the spread of the solidarity among us.


Photo credits: © UNAIDS
Image: screenshot of the initial page of the informative and monitoring platform of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health on 27th April