Preparing for Field Visit – Save the Children, Ethiopia

Save the Children UK (SCUK) continues to engage in affected communities through all the phases of emergency and development. The WaSH (Water Sanitation and Health) Program is an emergency effort.

As the WaSH team prepares for a field trip to one of the regions of Ethiopia to assess a project there, I am in the throes of preparing what they call here a Field Visit Term of Reference (ToR). We are going to learn about activities in that area, and provide training and technical support. I am charged with providing lessons learned and a best practice document for this effort.

WaSH is faced with a number of issues that impact human life in drought and flood situations. Waterborne diseases (eg, malaria, diarrhea) are serious risks to human life in both drought and flood situations. Simple measures like washing hands and boiling water can save lives. Also, there is a critical shortage of water and pasture, leading to mass livestock abortion, reduced milk production, poor physical condition and death of animals. Currently, SCUK is working with community volunteers and schools to provide key hygiene and sanitation messages.

WaSH will review and assess the flood-related response. The main sources of water are surface water from the river, shallow wells, birkads and ponds. It is assumed that in the affected areas, there is an urgent need to treat water during this season. Observations have been made of people fetching water directly from the flood recession areas which resulted in cases of water diarrhea.

A birkad previously built by Save the Children.


The birkad catches rain run off water.

WaSH will assess current staffing levels/capacity to determine if it is in line with the requirements with the plan, and identify if capacity support needs are necessary.  Does WaSH have the number of staff to effectively implement the project (eg, training, materials, manuals, guidelines)?

During this short period, I have attended several meetings where assessments and progress were provided.  I’ve learned that there are so many overarching challenges that impact the project and understanding these issues will assist me when I travel.  Hopefully this provides me with minimal standards to measure responses to some of these problems. Stay tuned.

-Ivy Peterson, PULSE Volunteer, Save the Children, Ethiopia

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