AFTO - Solar well operational since 2011

Afto is full day’s journey (approximately 180 km) southeast of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It is located at GPS coordinates 7° 27' 20.48" N, 37° 59'2.57" E.

Afto is in the Hadiya Zone where there is an acute shortage of potable water and electricity. As a result, local residents rely on surface collection ponds, rivers, or shallow hand-pumped wells for domestic water supply, including drinking water. Collection ponds and rivers are polluted from surface run-off. Many shallow wells run out of water during the dry season.

Initial Situation

Current Solution

solar waterkiosk - perennial clean water


Can I come and see/check the project myself?



Project visits are coordinated with SMART. ARS is pleased to forward requests to Director Mulugeta Sedoro. In 2013 Florian and Ramona from MOViEATION coordinated a multiday visit with Mulugeta and stayed in the project’s solar-powered Afto guesthouse. The modest fees charged for guesthouse accommodations support CORE & HUB operations. Click here to view photos from their visit. Click here to view the related 8 minute video. In addition, Florian and Ramona wrote a short letter (in German) about their findings. If you are interested, let us know so we can forward a copy to you.

WaSH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene)

Evolution of the Distributed Services HUB (HUB)

In response to community usage patterns and customer/client requests, in 2012 SMART and ARS technical staff seized the opportunity to design and install solar-powered WASH modules, including Shower, Laundry, and Toilet, each with an integral wetland. The CORE supplies the Shower module with water. Wetland output is used as water input for each subsequent stage/module, thus minimizing demand on the aquifer. The integrated system now installed at the Afto training and demonstration site illustrates effectiveness of water recycling and “wastewater" elimination.

Subsequently, ARS's permaculture expert designed a system to utilize the recycled water from the last stage (Toilet module) to water livestock and irrigate high value cash crops on an adjacent two hectares, thus effectively extending the growing season from 3-4 months to 12. In essence, when the interconnected modules are linked to the CORE, the complex becomes a Distributed Services Hub (HUB) which offers a replicable, zero-carbon, zero-direct cost, 21st century water, sanitation and livelihood off-grid solution.

Food production

In this picture you see the last tank that holds the recycled water from the toilet area. As of our last visit Dec. 2013 we have witnessed that all is technically working. December was just after the end of the rainy season, so local ponds where animal can drink are available. But that will change rapidly. Starting around Feb/Mar this cattle drink system will be filled so that goats, donkeys, horses and even cattle can drink.  

Status as of December 2013

Status as of February 2014

Status as of May 2014

Status as of July 2014

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