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Learning the complex range of skills needed to deliver sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects

Project Status: Completed.

Funders & Partners Panel

Lack of access to basic sanitation and clean water remains a major issue in many developing countries. Governments and NGOs are attempting to address the shortages through a wide range of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) initiatives, yet it is often difficult to recruit people with the broad range of skills and expertise needed to make a WASH project successful.

The Government of Ethiopia's long term One WASH National Programme (OWNP) aims to modernise the way water and sanitation is delivered throughout the country. During 2014-2016 the OU worked in partnership with World Vision Ethiopia (WVE) and UNICEF, to develop a set of learning resources known as OpenWASH. The OpenWASH modules, supported by a Trainers' Handbook, offer targeted learning to develop the expertise of WASH practitioners, and improve the effectiveness and sustainability of WASH projects. The OpenWASH modules were written by expert Ethiopian authors, with support from OU academic teaching specialists, and cover issues such as urban water supply, sanitation and solid waste management.

In 2018 the OU worked with WaterAid Ethiopia to develop a sixth OpenWASH module on equity and inclusion.  This module was launched at the end of July.


The modules are designed to meet the growing demand for trained WASH practitioners, especially those working with the particular challenges of WASH in urban contexts. They can be used as the basis for classroom teaching, for short courses, for cascaded training and independent learning. All the modules are freely available online as open educational resources (OER), to use or adapt by anyone interested in WASH.

Explore the OpenWASH resources on OpenLearn Create.