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reporting on the longest established, widest reaching, most effective community led development programme in Ethiopia Spring/Summer 2014

Working as we do in urban slum areas in Ethiopia, where the needs of children caught in dire poverty are complicated and seem overwhelming it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. This is why we work with community organisations - they understand local conditions, they know who and where the children in greatest need are; they are able to meet these children, their parents or carers and assess the best ways to help them. This edition of Impact looks at the various ways we support orphan and vulnerable children. Each child’s needs and circumstances are different and we need to respond to them accordingly.

Revival of a Dream Tamirat is 10 year old boy who dreams of becoming a doctor; even at this young age he knows that to realise this ambition he needs a good education. He lives with both his parents so is luckier than some, but with a daily income of 35 pence the family lived in dire poverty. Even with his mother working as a daily labourer in a grain market and his father’s wage as a security guard the money coming into the household was not enough to pay the rent or buy sufficient food to feed the family. With money so tight the family faced difficult financial choices, consequently his parents could not afford to keep Tamirat at school. The family’s poverty was so dreadful that the local community organisation became very concerned about the welfare of the children, so in August 2013 after thoroughly assessing their situation they decided to provide support. Together with women in a similar position, Tamirat’s mother was taught basic business skills and given start-up

st. Matthew’s Children’s Fund Ethiopia

capital, some of it repayable, to run her own business. She went back to the grain market, a place she knew well and put her new knowledge to work. Her business selling a variety of grain showed remarkable growth and now she is making a minimum net profit of £1.50 per day. She is managing to save £3.70 per week with an Iqub (traditional group saving). The increased household income has enabled Tamirat’s parents to provide his basic and educational needs. Tamirat is sure that now he is able to get a good education he will realise his dream to become a doctor. He is no longer underestimated by his school mates and other children in the village. Tamirat exclaimed, “I want to be a medical doctor and serve people to the best of my ability. Therefore, I am studying hard to make Tamirat’s mother at the market selling grain this happen. I will do it for sure!”

Formerly known as St Matthew’s Children’s Fund Ethiopia (SMCF Ethiopia)


Four legs are better than two

In 2012 the future for Metalo Mekuria’s five children did not look rosy, not only was their mother ill, but their father was depressed because he was unable to support his family. Life for the family was miserable. Whichever way Metalo looked at it he didn’t know how he could increase the monthly family income from the £8 which they currently barely survived on. With the children dropping out of school and looking increasingly thin and weak it was clear to the local community organisation that something had to be done. The family’s situation was fully assessed and a range of options considered. At a meeting of the community organisation Metalo was put forward for training in JeCCDO’s Urban Agriculture Programme. Metalo seized the opportunity to learn new skills and saw this could be a solution to the family’s financial problems. He put the learning from the urban agriculture demonstration

site into practice. Trained community volunteers visited him regularly, taught him about urban agriculture and encouraged him to develop the habit of saving. After he had sold a few sheep he had reared for a good profit he was able to cover the family’s daily expenses, then he began to save whenever he could. Caring for the sheep properly, even with help from the children, was a full-time occupation so Ato Metalo’s next big step was to leave his job as a shop guard. With the addition of a calf and two rams to his flock, the combination of hard work, new

knowledge and determination enabled him to generate good profits. Metalo continued to expand the business; he secured a long-term loan from his self-help group, bought a cart and two donkeys to provide transport for his livestock and the family. His daily income increased from 50p to £1.90 and continues to rise. He now has £53 in his saving account which he will use to continue investing in his business and for emergencies such as medicine and medical costs for the family. At this stage, with a secure income Ato Metalo no longer worries constantly about being able to provide for his family. Whilst life is still challenging they have moved out of poverty and lead healthier and happier lives, the children are receiving an education and their future looks bright.


Partners for Change

A promising future Strengthening school clubs has over the years proven to be an effective way of improving the quality of education and getting young people interested in widening school activities and learning. We give assistance to a number of school clubs, including girls’ clubs and charitable clubs which provide support for poorer pupils. Teachers originally played the leading role in managing the clubs, but as students were trained to run the clubs themselves the position of the teachers became merely a supportive one. Bantegize Endeshaw, who is a member of a Charity Club in a school in Dire Dawa, mentioned

that from the proceeds of the sale of refreshments such as iced lollies and club membership fees they were able to provide school uniforms and exercise books to 11 poor students in 2013. Now that the club is contacting and obtaining donations from local wealthy people the number of pupils being helped is increasing. They have already secured a pledge of support for 25 students in Dire Dawa and 10 in Harar town. The benefits for young people are not confined to those receiving support.Young people in clubs learn how to work together, develop small business skills such as planning a project, budgeting, selling and networking and presentation. It also

Bantegize speaking in his school club

encourages a culture of giving amongst young people, something that will hopefully stay with them always.

Bearer of many burdens

Selamawit and her son, Natnael Left, Selamawit at her Road Side Business Place

Selamawit Niguse is a 26 year old widow, living in Hawassa town. Not only is she responsible for providing and caring for her two young children; she is the sole bread winner for her extended family which includes her four sisters, one of whom is HIV positive and another who has a brain tumour. Naturally the ill sisters need Selamawit’s assistance, at least for the time being. These responsibilities and burdens were stressing Selamawit considerably, thereby putting the future of her children at stake.

In the struggle to provide for everyone, Selamawit was working as maid earning 200.00 Birr (£7.00) per month which barely met the needs of the extended family. Another difficulty was having to take three year old Natnael with her while working as a domestic help. Selamawit said, “To solve these problems I had to ask for help.” As she was eligible for guardian’s support, JeCCDO was able to respond to her predicament through a partner community based organization, Andinet Fetno Derash in Hawassa town.

Selamawit attended Basic Business Skills training, received a monthly financial subsidy of Birr 100.00 (£3.50) for the younger child, Natnael, and start-up money to create her own business. Thanks to the support she received from JeCCDO and her determination to become self-reliant, Selamawit started to sell coffee by the road side. Selamawit said, “This business enabled me to get enough money to feed my children better, afford medical fees, cover my household expenses and save 200 Birr (£7) per month. I am so happy to keep my children healthy and secure a future, as well as being of assistance to other family members.”


Partners for Change

A new foundation to build on Yete, a widow living in the town of Debre Berhan is the sole supporter and carer of her children. One of her sons is HIV positive and what with looking after him and her own illness she could no longer continue to work at her job feeding and preparing cattle for market. Her neighbours generously allowed her to use their kitchens, so she switched to making and selling the local staple food called injera. Sometimes due to inadequate nutrition Yete was too ill

or weak to get out of bed. Her plight came to the attention of her local community organisation (funded by Partners for Change Ethiopia) After careful discussion with Yete they decided that the most effective way of helping was to renovate the dilapidated shack where the family lived and turn it into a house with a roof and a place to cook. She no longer has to rely on her neighbour’s generosity for cooking facilities. As well as cooking nutritious food for her family in the new kitchen,

she makes and sells butter, bread and injera; with the profits she has repaid the start-up capital she received. The community organisation also gave her good advice about nutrition to keep her and her son as healthy as possible, Yete feels eating the right food has given her more energy to look after her children and run her business. Yete can afford to send her children to school and feels optimistic about their future – she has come a long way in a short time.

Sharing knowledge We have learnt a lot during the past thirty years and together with our partner organisation JeCCDO we have jointly developed a really effective way of enabling the poorest people to put an end to child poverty in their communities. It is heartening then to see others learning from our experience and putting this into use in their local context. For years now organisations from across Africa have been visiting our climate change adaptation work in Dire Dawa. With the weather across sub-Saharan Africa becoming more unpredictable farmers are having to learn new skills such as water harvesting, irrigation and planting methods. In times of stress on resources it is always the children who are among the first to suffer; it is vital that farmers are able to adapt to climate change. Recently our partner JeCCDO was visited in Dire Dawa by an organisation from Somaliland called Barwaaqo Voluntary Organisation. They returned to Somaliland enthused and excited by what they had learnt. Somaliland claimed independence from

JeCCDO and Barwaaqo Voluntary Organisation staff learning from each other.

Somalia in 1991 but is not recognised by the international community as a country and so cannot receive any international aid or assistance. It is a very poor country with a large number of internally displaced people escaping the violence in neighbouring Somalia. Somaliland is a stable country, having held several democratic elections and it is, therefore a beacon of hope in a very unstable region. We are very pleased that JeCCDO’s knowledge and experience can be used to help Somaliland further down a peaceful and prosperous path.

Our training centre for community organisations in Debre Zeit is also busy training community representatives in JeCCDO’s approach. We have now secured funds for a similar centre in Bahir Dar. The compound is particularly beautiful and as well as a centre for training community representatives it will be used to provide much needed income from activities such as ecotourism. It is good to know that our impact is widening and reaching a larger number of the poorest children in the world.

Partners For Change, 32-36 Loman Street, Southwark, London SE1 0EH Contact: Peter Jones (Director) • T: +44 (0) 20 7922 7904/5 E: pete@pfcethiopia.org

web: www.pfcethiopia.org email: info@pfcethiopia.org Registered Charity no. 297391

Partners for Change Ethiopia spring 2014  

Welcone to Impact - find out how the poorest people in Ethiopia are ending child poverty and then join our partnership - info@pfcethiopia.or...