By Tesfa-Alem Tekle (Addis Ababa) – Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is a cosmopolitan city and considered as a growing prominence as continent’s diplomatic hub.
The city serves as a seat of many international organizations among others the African Union (AU) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The Africa’s diplomatic capital, is home for an estimated 4 million people including to thousands of politicians from Africa and from across the world.
Although Addis Ababa is over century-old and is the country’s largest city, however lacks access to improved toilet facilities as a capital city of Ethiopia.
Due lack of public toilets, thousands of residents in Addis Ababa still practice open defecation, not because they don’t understand such practices are unhealthy but because they have no other alternatives.
According to UN report 2014, some 38% of Ethiopia’s estimated 100% – of whom 82% living in rural areas – are forced to openly defecate.
Addis Ababa, has only limited public toilets with some recent figures reportedly showing around 100.
Health officials told AAO that the inadequate toilet facilities are reasons forcing people to practice an open excretion as they might have to line up for extended time to make use of the facility.
In a bid to improve the capital’s sanitation and to curb unhygienic environment, the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) announced that it is set to build 3,000 public toilets across the capital.
UNICEF representative in Ethiopia on Tuesday said currently 64 sanitation blocks have already been constructed.
According to the UN official, an additional 640 sanitation blocks are need to be constructed to cope up with the increasing number of population in the capital of Africa’s second most populace nation.
The toilets will be build in almost every streets, Market places, bus stops, at schools and universities where sanitation access is highly required.
Etsegenet Tesfay, head of public relation within the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) said the sanitation projects have created job opportunity for some 700 people most women.
According to Etsegenet, the Authority will build 3,000 sanitation facilities across the country with each costing 30 thousad US dollar.
The facilities will all be completed in the next 5 years, the official disclosed.
Individuals will have to pay $ 0.45 cents to use the service and the income will be used for future maintenance and for salary of workers.
The toilets are designed to provide drinks and fast food services, as well as to offer free drinking water to anyone who asks.
It will also have different types of shops where traders can run smaller business.