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Sisay Mideksa, 38, has worked at her local water and sanitation centre in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, for 12 years. She started going house to house in her community as a meter reader, before training as a plumber at night school. Now she is one of the first trained female plumbers in her area.

WaterAid is partnering with Yorkshire Water to improve Bishoftu’s water capacity, to make better use of resources and respond to the needs of customers. Sisay, and other plumbers in the area, will have the opportunity to receive further training in fixing broken pipes and line installation.

What makes Sisay’s work even more impressive is that she presses on despite the lack of decent tools she has at her disposal. She says, “The pipe wrenches are so worn out they hardly hold anything now. But we have to use them. We don’t have a choice.”


Photographer credit: WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

Bishoftu is one of Ethiopia’s fastest growing cities with a population of over 100,000 people. At the start of 2014, the town produced 110 litres of water per second. After working with WaterAid, the town hopes to double their water production capacity.

However, leakages remain a major problem. A key part of Sisay’s training as a plumber is being able to detect and fix water leakage problems, so that the town’s extra water capacity doesn’t go to waste.

Read more about the water, sanitation and hygiene issues girls and women face >

Find out more about our work in Ethiopia >