During a trip to Gondar in late 2005, a Corvallis Sister Cities Association-Gondar (CSCA-Gondar) member met with City officials to discuss ways that the organization could assist them in addressing community issues. Priorities were established at that time, and several of these priorities became the basis for the long term work plan of the Water and Watershed Work Group.
Several projects relate to the goal of increasing access to clean water. The Angereb Reservoir, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for the central city, is rapidly filling with silt because of soil erosion into the drainage caused by deforestation. CSCA-Gondar has been collaborating with the City of Gondar to replant vast areas in the watershed.
There are many areas surrounding Gondar that are not served by the municipal water system. To obtain water, residents in these areas rely primarily on streams, undeveloped springs and shallow hand-dug wells. CSCA-Gondar has identified several areas that would greatly benefit from modern professionally constructed wells. Each year our organization works with the City of Gondar to construct wells and develop natural springs.
CSCA-Gondar has also focused attention on improving sanitation in other ways. In 2011-12 our organization completed the construction of four public toilet/shower facilities to serve hundreds of citizens.
CSCA-Gondar has also identified micro-financing as a long-term project. The primary purpose of the program is be to create income generation opportunities for Gondar citizens. Currently there are many residents who cut trees to create income from firewood sales. Although it is generally understood that trees play an important role in soil stabilization, residents have few alternatives for income generation in these rural areas. This loan program allows residents to pursue other forms of income generation such as sheep breeding.