Municipal Finance City Project

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Water is Life


In 2021, the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was selected as a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF), the MMC’s instrument to channel international funding directly to cities to implement inclusive projects of their own design. 

With support from the GCF, the City of Addis Ababa connected over 600 IDP households to waterlines to address their immediate public health needs during the Covid-19 pandemic The city also used funding from its GCF grant to improve the livelihoods of 40 vulnerable IDPs through entrepreneurship training, seed capital, and business registration support to help them start their own small businesses.


Over 1,700 internally displaced households live in the low-income, densely populated Koyefeche neighborhood of Addis Ababa. These displaced communities were among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ethiopian government’s infection-prevention measures pushed Addis Ababa’s displaced residents—who already faced barriers to accessing employment and essential sanitation services—deeper into poverty at a time when food assistance was limited and social distancing was infeasible.  


Using its GCF grant, the Addis Ababa City Administration ensured access to critical water and sanitation infrastructure for over 600 IDP households—comprising of approximately 3,000 people—during the pandemic. The City Administration also improved the livelihoods of 40 individuals, half of whom were women, by providing them entrepreneurship training and seed money to start up their own small businesses in the horticulture, craft, and trade sectors. 


As a result of the Water is Life project, Addis Ababa installed ten community water mains, providing essential hygiene and sanitation infrastructure to 600 IDP families comprising 3,000 individuals. The project also improved the livelihoods of 40 individuals, half of whom were women, through entrepreneurship training. Clients who participated in training and received seed money to launch small businesses saw significant improvements in their quality of life: they were able to invest in financial savings and send their children to school. 

In addition to championing an inclusive pandemic response, Addis Ababa used the project as a pilot to unlock US$ 1.6 million over two years from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to continue promoting the socioeconomic inclusion of migrants and refugees.   


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