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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hawassa has grown explosively in recent years. After 30 years of its establishment, Hawassa is serving as the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State (SNNPS) since 1991. The 57 years old town consists of eight sub-cities and 32 kebelles. The total population of the town is estimated to be 350,000.
The Ethiopian Herald recently conducted an exclusive interview with Mayor of Hawassa Town Administration, Yonas Yosef on the development progress of the town. Hawassa has been undertaking various projects aimed at reducing poverty. The administration has given prime attention to the development of infrastructure, construction, trade, and social services among others.
Yonas noted that Hawassa town has got its name from the name of “Lake Hawassa.” 'Hawassa' means 'big' in Sidama language. Hawassa was chosen as urban centre due to its natural beauty and attractiveness of the area around. Before 1960, the place was not inhabited by many people, but pastoralists used to graze their cattle around the lake. The existence of water throughout the year and the availability of grass for grazing the cattle steadily appealed the highlanders to visit the area regularly and at the same time people from different surroundings began to settle in the area now become Hawassa.
As far as educational facilities are concerned, Hawassa has 87 kindergartens, 81 primary schools, eight secondary schools, 12 preparatory schools, one university and eleven colleges. These schools are meant to produce citizens with strong sense of responsibility to provide quality education locally and nationally. According to Yonas, higher level educational institutions in the town work to identify and address gaps in skills and competencies of students.
Hawassa also has various health institutions. The number of hospitals has reached five while the number of clinics is 50. There are also seven governmental health centres. The health institutions play an important role in promoting and improving healthcare delivery within the community. The health centres work to address the needs of the community and to build a strong, integrated healthcare service delivery. They help improve the well-being of patients and communities by delivering compassionate, patient and family-centred healthcare, enriched by education, science, and technology, says Yonas.
Concerning road development, Yonas explained that Hawassa has 61.55 Km asphalt, 81.36 Km cobblestone and 312 Km gravel roads. The emerging cobblestone construction industry in Ethiopia is proving to be a major role player not only in increasing the road networks but also in creating job opportunities. Cobblestone roads are expanded to inter-city roads, walkways, car parks and inter-community links.