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24 hours on the Road to Paris, working together to find solutions to the city’s challenges around water availability and quality.

The Climate-KIC Climathon is a global 24-hour hackathon series that was hosted simultaneously in 16 major cities around the world on the 18 June 2015. In Addis Ababa it run from 18 of June 10am EAT until 10am on the following day, and was organized by the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center in collaboration with the Source to Tap and Back Program and Hohete Tibeb Share Company in order to solve the city’s water management challenges.

The challenge

During Addis Ababa’s Climathon participants worked on the following challenge: how local business can contribute to more sustainable, climate-smart urban water management.

Climate change - in addition to the rapid urbanization - places pressure on the availability of water resources for Addis Ababa and the surrounding metropolitan region. The pressure concerns the catchment areas, the groundwater resources, but also the areas that source food to the city region. In addition, the quality of the water resources is affected by increasing waste streams.

Pitching to expert judges

The Addis Ababa Climathon had a total of 23 participants: 20 were physically present at the Climathon venue, 3 participated remotely. The latter are Ethiopian PhD students based in Wageningen, The Netherlands, who attended the workshops through Skype and kept in touch with the facilitators / mentors through online communication tools.

The ECIC organized workshops on water management problem of Addis Ababa, business model canvas and presentation skills to the participants during the 24 hours.

Five groups were formed, each working on a different solution either introduced by one of the participants or developed on the day itself.

The Climathon event culminated in the presentation of each group’s idea in front of a panel of judges which provided valuable feedback. The panel was comprised of different experts, including business experts and representatives of the Source to Tap and Back Program – directly involved with the water management challenges of Addis Ababa.

Criteria for selection included:

The extent to which it addressed the water availability and quality challenges faced by Addis Ababa.

The feasibility of the idea (the idea should be applicable to the real world, this includes the ability to either make money or attract funding to deliver the idea)

The opportunities the idea offered to create jobs and viable business

The level of innovativeness for the Ethiopian context, either regarding its input, process, or output.

The positive socio-economic and environmental impacts

The level of interest of the team in developing their idea further.

Solutions developed

Based on the selection criteria mentioned above, the judges have selected three teams that are continuing to stage 2. These are ranked as follows:

#1: WaT Green Business (WaT stands for Water and Tress)

WaT Green Business aims to enable Small and Medium Enterprises to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities. The idea has 3 main focus areas: 1. Upper Watershed Management; 2. Middle Watershed Management; and 3. Water Harvesting. In the upper watershed, WaT aims to rehabilitate the watershed by registering climate / carbon financing program and by setting up small and medium seedling producer enterprises. In the middle watershed it aims to involve farmers to change its farming system from seasonal crop to annual and perennial multipurpose crops. Also, WaT aims to collect collect rain water from roofs for non-domestic purposes.

#2: Environmentally friendly sanitary water supply for condominium housing projects in Addis Ababa

This group (based in Wageningen) has developed a sanitary water supply system for condominium housing projects in Addis Ababa. They aim to collect rain water in reservoirs that will only be used for flushing toilets. The small reservoir will be filed by collecting rain water from the gutters of the condominium buildings and also by directly harvesting the rain water in to the reservoir. Most importantly, a community friendly waste treatment and recycle site will be established to continuously keep the level of water in the reservoir constant.

#3: Teza

This group has developed a mobile application for students, environmental

advocates and community leaders to create awareness and help them contribute to urban and sanitation challenges. The idea is to increase awareness on Addis Ababa's water challenges and on the options for saving water, and - by doing so - reduce individual and household water use.

The other two (non-winning) teams are:

#4. Dewrain

Dewrain has developed an affordable, sustainable and scalable technology

to harvest water from dew and solve water shortage for Addis Ababa and

increase the city’s water reserves. The technology is simple to operate and maintain, can fit to several situations and infrastructures, and produces cheap and pure water, suitable for drinking.

#5. Integrated Rain Water Harvest and Waste Management Project

This team's idea is broad and contains elements of awareness creation, rain water harvesting technologies, urban solid waste management, and upstream and down stream water shed management.

The follow-up

Climate-KIC’s Climathon brings together cities and their citizens to actively solve a real local climate change challenge. The three winning teams will enter a coaching trajectory to further develop their idea into a viable solution for the cities. The best ideas from around the world will be selected and presented at COP21 in Paris.

Involved partners

Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center

The Climathon was organized and hosted by the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC), Ethiopia’s first climate incubation center. The ECIC supports Ethiopian small and medium enterprises that are developing innovative solutions that address climate change challenges. It aims to accelerate the development, deployment and transfer of climate technologies by providing SMEs a set of holistic country-driven support services, including early-stage financing, business support and capacity building.

The ECIC organized the Climathon in collaboration with the Source to Tap and Back Program and Hohete Tibeb Share Company.

Source to Tap and Back Program

The Source to Tap and Back Program (S2TAB) aims to improve water and sanitation services in Addis Ababa by protecting its water resources and improving water the services offered by the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority. There are several partners involved in the program, including: MetaMeta, Dutch water boards, the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority, and the Oromiya Water, Mineral and Energy Bureau. During the Climathon the Source to Tap and Back Program facilitated the workshop and coaching related to Addis Ababa’s water management challenge.

Hohete Tibeb Share Company

Hohete Tibeb Share Company (HTSC) is devoted to providing quality education and value-enhancing related services to aims to develop and enhance the quality of life in our society through creating opportunities and disseminating of knowledge. For that it provides quality education and related services including: tailor-made corporate training courses and exam preparation, developing teaching materials, online examination practice, etc. HTSC facilitated the Climathon event.


Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate change innovation initiative and the largest public-private partnership of its kind. Their aim is to bring down CO2 levels, adapt to climate change that’s already occurring and boost the low-carbon economy through innovation. The Climate-KIC educates the next generation of clean-tech change makers; runs the world’s largest climate change startup accelerator; and brings together partners on major mitigation and adaptation projects. They are the initiators and supporters the global Climathon event.

Addis Ababa and the Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy

Ethiopia is committed to building a climate-resilient green economy, comprising of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding economic growth, and of taking adaptation initiatives to reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Water is identified as one of the sectors most vulnerable to the hazards of climate change.

Currently, existing water supply sources for Addis Ababa are mainly from surface water. Several projects are planned to develop additional surface water sources to meet the short and medium term requirements for Addis Ababa. These include rehabilitation and expansion of existing water reservoirs and the construction of new ones. In addition, groundwater development has been given good emphasis in the government development strategies, as well as solid waste management issues that affect water quality.

More information?

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The Climathon forms part of Climate-KIC’s Journey to Paris campaign. It is run from June until December 2015, with the UN’s crucial COP21 climate change summit as destination. Every week for 28 weeks, Climate-KIC puts the spotlight on a different part of Europe. Join us and meet the people and initiatives who are building Europe’s low-carbon economy! Visit www.climate-kic.org/climathon.



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