ZeHabesha Ethiopian News | Latest News for All | 24/7

Addis Ababa has only 63 public toilets for its 3 million residents

By David Smith in Addis Ababa
The Guardian, Thursday 28 August 2014 1014

Community toilets in Addis Ababa typically consist of a hole in the floor.
Community toilets in Addis Ababa typically consist of a hole in the floor.

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has more than 3 million people, but there are just 63 public toilets. At one, in the oldest part of the city, there is constant activity and bustle as people queue to pay varying prices for a urinal, full cubicle or shower in the white-tiled facility inside a circular yellow building. For many, this is the only option because of the lack of provision in their own homes.

Nine in 10 households use “non-improved” toilet facilities, according to the Wash Ethiopia Movement. The most common type of non-improved toilet is an open pit latrine or pit latrine without slabs, used by 57% of households in rural areas and 43% in urban. Only one in 25 households has access to improved toilet facilities which are not shared with other households.

Mesay Berhanu, a spokesman for the movement, said: “Many people have shared toilet facilities which they would not find very comfortable. They might have to line up for some time to make use of the facilities. As a result, you may find people doing it here or there along the street.”

Government figures show that diarrhoeal diseases are among the 10 most prolific in the country. “These are one way or another linked to an unhygienic environment,” Berhanu added.

Waste can accumulate because service providers are stretched. “There is a huge problem in liquid waste management. The number of vehicles they have to collect it is limited. People might have to wait two or three months. We have a very small number of private operators in liquid waste collection.” Progress has stalled, Berhanu said, because of bureaucracy. “A year ago there was a plan to create more than 1,000 public toilets, but there is a lack of co-ordination between different departments of government.…” READ MORE www.theguardian.com

Read Aloud:   Ethiopia: Unity Is Power


  1. Thanks for the 23 consecutive years of double digit economic development. What a self destructing journey. I am not sure how the people in power justify this. Remember, this has not been reported by the opposition or terrorists/ashebarioch. I hope citizens will take this as a serious issue.
    Thanks for posting my brief opinion on the matter

  2. Thank you Mr. Smith, for addressing this problem that no one was bothered to see it. Even these few public Toilets were built by Derg/Mengistu’s Government, they are old and out of service a lot. I recommend visiting the dens neighborhoods (if they allow you to investigate) to see how people live; you will be surprise even how they can survive in such living conditions. I don’t think Municipality of this Government knows the importance of PUBLIC TOILET. The funny thing is they expect the city to be cleaner especially, free of human waste. It is hard to imagine what is in their mind not to provide such important place for people. Restaurants/cafeterias don’t allow unless people buy from them. Many of the country’s officials come from the ordinary citizens; however, right after they get positions they immediately forget to serve their people at least, for basic needs such as this. They are cheating themselves only by talking as if the country’s economy is grown up more than 11% while people in the capital city live in such horrific hygiene problem. In addition, the capital city people are still not getting enough water to clean them, sewerage systems are horrible, trash is everywhere. All went backward because they are still living with the old sewerage, water, etc. system that was left by previous Government (most of them from King Menilik and/or Haile Selassie.)
    Good Report. Thank you for exposing this problem.

  3. It is amaziing the writer choose our weakest link to diminish our strongest side. We know we have the long way to go to have basic need for our people. But advice from a writer Like “David smith” will contribute nothing. I am not saying the number of toilet are few in addis but where do you get your GUSSING number from. May be 63 is your lucky number. I know this article is to creat a scary situation for those who want to visite Ethiopia. Write a problem which is bigger than toilet such as unfair racial discrimination,systematic repression, etc which is like a cancer in your community and leave us alone.

  4. I commented by opposing the author of this article but “zehabesha Admin” did not post it. I am so much disappointed on your action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.