Trail Bridge Program in Ethiopia Providing Rural People Access

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					Trail Bridge Program in Ethiopia
Providing Rural People Access to Development

    Organization                  Helvetas
                                  Swiss Association for International Cooperation
                                  Weinbergstrasse 22a
                                  P.O. Box CH-8021 Zurich, Switzerland

    Country / Region              Ethiopia / Oromiya National Regional State
    Project Description           Construction of three trail bridges in rural areas of Ethi-
                                  opia, capacity building to plan and implement the inter-
                                  vention with the communities concerned
    Goals                         Poverty alleviation: Eliminate the isolation of the rural
                                  population, give access to services, facilities and oppor-
                                  tunities for their welfare
    Contents                      Construction of the bridges, including community parti-
                                  cipation and the training of the regional staff, in order to
                                  capitalise on Helvetas know-how
    Beneficiaries                  50’000 – 60’000 people
    Local Partners                Local administration and communities
    Duration                      2007

    Implementation and            Helvetas Ethiopia staff
    Monitoring                    Expatriate Programme Director
                                  Program Coordinator of Helvetas headquarter in Zurich
    Budget                        CHF 120’000.-

    1. Context

    Ethiopia remains one of the poorest nations on earth. UNDP’s Human Development Index
    (2005), which measures development not only in terms of economic growth but also in
    terms of peoples’ access to social institutions (health posts, schools etc.) and personal
    and political freedom, lists Ethiopia on rank 170 out of 177.

    The pressure on the environment (land, biodiversity) is still increasing, leading to even
    more degradation and accelerating the pauperization processes. More than 90% of the
    +70-Mio population lives with less than two USD per day, and HIV/AIDS rates will soon
    exceed the 10% mark. Unemployment is higher than 30%, in urban areas more than 50%
    and only few jobs are created in the formal sector. Population growth is still higher than
    2.7%; the projection for 2050 is a population of 150 Mio. Ethiopia receives about 1 Bio
    USD aid support only. According to some experts, a fivefold amount would be required
    to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The institutional set-up is not fit to cope with the challenges of development and environ-        3
ment, even if policies with sound intentions exist (on paper). E.g. agriculture has been the
main source of stagnation and variability in GDP growth caused mainly by policy failures
and exacerbated by recurrent drought, civil war, natural resource degradation, and poor

The parliamentarian elections of May 2005 brought new life into the political sphere and re-
vealed weaknesses of the current government. It can be assumed that the policy processes
are opening up, leading to new opportunities to adjust crucial sectors like decentralization
(more investments, better service delivery), agriculture (better regulation, less direct inter-
vention, credit facilities, more market forces) and education (more quality). These should
lead to increased opportunities for the Ethiopians including the poorest ones.

Why trailbridges?
Approximately 85% of Ethiopia’s population live in rural areas, most of which are very
remote and difficult to get to. People living in rural villages usually do not have access
to social and economic infrastructure (electricity, water, schools, clinics etc.) and are
only insufficiently connected to the major traffic routes and consequently to the national
economy. Men, women and children walk long hours over steep slopes in order to reach
water points, schools, hospitals or markets.
Especially rural communities are cut off from basic services and resources. In the past,
the Ethiopian transport sector has completely neglected the needs of pedestrians and has
mainly focused on main roads. In the context of the PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy
Paper) whose goal is to alleviate poverty, and the new focus on decentralization, there has
been a switch-over in transport policy in Ethiopia. Decentralised decision-making entails
emerging requests from village communities to assist them with path networks including

But the challenges to change this situation are enormous. Ethiopia, being a mountainous
country, poses many topographical difficulties for road construction; they become even
greater when taking into account the level of education among the country’s population,
which is generally very low.

In view of this, Helvetas has decided to transfer its long-term knowledge in the construc-
tion of trail bridges in other countries (Nepal and Bhutan) into the Ethiopian context with
a view to making life easier for rural people but also to enhance knowledge of the relevant
institutions/experts within the country.

Helvetas Ethiopia started its own trail bridge program with specialized staff (one engineer
and one sociologist) in July 2005, after having cooperated for two years with another in-
ternational organization (Bridges to Prosperity) active in bridge-building.
    2. Helvetas Strategic Plan in Ethiopia

    Helvetas has been active in Ethiopia from 1975-1983 and after an interruption has resumed
    its programme activities in 2002. In its 3-years country programme 2006-2008, the focus
    is on access to basic needs: access to education, healthcare; access to markets, sus-
    taining food security and generating income for rural communities. The approach is com-
    munity-based and aims at building local capacities for improving livelihoods involving the
    Government but also civil society and private sector actors. The trailbriges project is one
    of five projects which are currently implemented by Helvetas Ethiopia in the framework of
    the Helvetas strategic plan 2006-2008.
3. Implementation                                                                                5

The Trail Bridge Program carried out by Helvetas Ethiopia works to address poverty al-
leviation in two ways:

(1) directly, by constructing trail bridges that help to eliminate the isolation of the rural
population and providing them with access to such precious goods as services, facilities
and opportunities they need for their welfare and,

(2) indirectly, through building within the relevant local institutions (Rural Road Authority,
local councils/communes) the capacity to plan and implement the required interventions
jointly with the communities concerned.

The bridges are between 70 and 100 meters long. Construction sites are selected together
with local authorities; the selection is based on logistical and social criteria. The local
communities participate in planning activities and contribute to the construction cost ac-
cording to their means. All the sites are located in Oromiya regional state.

Besides the actual construction work, the trail bridge program puts a lot of effort into
capacity building measures with the aim to build up technical and institutional capacities
in Ethiopia in order to allow trail bridges to be planned, built and maintained in local com-
munities by public, private institutions or public-private partnerships.
    4. Role and Responsibilities of the Parties

                        Main Role and responsibility of each party
    Organization           Role                   Responsibilities
    Helvetas               Project direction;     Review, assess and propose bridge
                           Technical services     construction sites in cooperation with
                           provider and main      ORRA and Woreda (=district) accor-
                           advisor                ding to technical, social and economic
                                                  Conduct all site assessments for the fi-
                                                  nal identification together with ORRA’’s
                                                  bridge team
                                                  Provide training for the bridge team and
                                                  road technicians
                                                  Mobilize funds from donors
                                                  Provide bridge designs and assure the
                                                  quality of the bridge
    ORRA (Oro-miya Ru-     Local coordinator and Forming Bridge team
    ral Roads Authority)   Project Manager
                                                 Allocate budget for procuring the ca-
                                                 bles for the construction of bridges
    District Administration Local government;     Mobilize communities to participate in
                            coordination          bridge construction and availing local
                                                  construction materials
5. Expected Results for 2007                                                                  7

Objective     Target Group Expected Re-             Activities           Indicators
1             a) Rural com-    Provided with        a) mobilize com-     50,000 to 60,000
              munities         access to socio-     munity members       people get
                               economic serv-       for making own       access to so-
                               ices                 contributions in     cio-economic
                                                    the form of local    services with the
                                                    materials and        construction of 3
                                                    labour               trailbridges
Eliminate    b) local gov-     3 low cost           b) enhance the       District and zonal
problems of ernment and        bridges infra-       participation of     government of-
rural isola- outsiders         structure made       local government     fices made to
tion through                   available in order   in community         participate in
the con-                       to provide serv-     mobilization and     community
struction                      ices to remote       bridge construc-     mobilization and
of 3 trail-                    and marginalized     tion                 bridge construc-
bridges                        communities                               tion work
              c) Civil society 3 low cost bridg-    b) enhance           NGOs and other
              members          es infrastructure    the participa-       members of the
                               made available in    tion of NGOs         civil society sup-
                               order to NGOS        and other civil      port trailbridges
                               and others to        society members      construction
                               provide services     in promoting         activities
                               to remote and        and supporting
                               marginalized         trailbridges
2             a) ORRA          A well functioning ORRA forms a     One strong trail-
              (organization)   team established bridge unit within bridges ORRA
                                                  its structure    team
Build in-     b) ORRA engi- ORRA engineers          Training ORRA        3 ORRA engi-
stitutional   neers and rural and other staff       engineers and        neers trained,
capacity of   road techni-    trained               other staff in       5 ORRA social
ORRA          cians                                 trailbridges tech-   workers trained,
                                                    nology               10 ORRA fore-
                                                                         men trained in
                                                                         trailbridges tech-

Keleta bridge - constructed in collaboration with Arsi Bale Rural Development Program (ABRDP),
supported by the Italian Government

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