Press Release

Earth Council Geneva Supports International Medical Corps to Deliver Improved Sanitation & Hygiene in Ethiopia

International Medical Corps will deliver a new program in sanitation marketing in the Wolayta Zone in Ethiopia with collaborative funding from Earth Council Geneva. Through this program, International Medical Corps will promote the construction of sustainable, affordable and safe latrines and hand washing facilities and deliver hygiene education for vulnerable communities.

“Earth Council Geneva’s timely and generous award will allow International Medical Corps to reach vulnerable communities plagued by chronic food insecurity and a lack of access to sanitation facilities and hygiene education, potentially saving countless lives,” said Rabih Torbay, Senior Vice President of International Medical Corps.  “We are grateful to Earth Council Geneva for its support and collaboration to improve the health and well-being of these communities by focusing on sanitation and hygiene.”

Since 2011, with support from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection unit (ECHO), International Medical Corps has integrated water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) into its programs in the region to bring communities access to clean water while curtailing open defecation through the construction of latrines and promoting safe hygiene practices. However, many latrines in the area remain in poor condition, are unsafe to use and are only functional for a short period of time. Education to improve latrine construction and increase knowledge on proper use and maintenance is crucial to the sustainable sanitation and hygiene of local families.

Through funding from Earth Council Geneva, International Medical Corps will promote an improved household latrine prototype and organize local builders to learn construction techniques. International Medical Corps will also produce promotional materials to distribute to households, coordinate with government partners to ensure sustainability and train local health workers and community members.

This program expands and complements work completed earlier this summer (August 2014) in Wolayta by DOW Chemical’s Leadership in Action (LIA) program and IBM’s Corporate Service Corps which together with International Medical Corps developed sanitation marketing activities and methodologies that can measure the effectiveness of its resilience building programs in the region.

“Earth Council Geneva is pleased to partner with International Medical Corps to build upon the effective marketing strategies and measurement tools developed in partnership with DOW Chemical and IBM to promote healthy hygiene and sanitation practices.  This is an important step to creating sustainable solutions for sanitation in Ethiopia, a project replicable in other countries. We are proud of our partnership since 2009 with International Medical Corps and the many projects we could support during these years in several countries. It is particularly pleasing to see NGO’s and large corporations work together to make life better for people in need.”  said Reto Braun, Chairman of the Board, Earth Council Geneva.

Since 2003, International Medical Corps has operated a diversified program in Ethiopia, providing training and services in WASH, livelihoods, prevention of gender-based violence, nutrition, mental health, sexual reproductive health, primary health care, HIV/AIDS and other essential needs. The organization’s programs in Ethiopia focus on rural, urban and refugee settings and are designed to be sustainable through full community participation.

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