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Ethiopia - U.S. Grants Foster Community Development and Self-Reliance
U.S. Embassy Press Release
Addis Ababa, December 15, 2009 – The Embassy of the United States of America pledged $90,000 in financial support today through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program to eight projects initiated by Ethiopian communities, schools, and NGOs. The Self-Help Program is a special source of support, allowing U.S. assistance to directly respond to needs at the community level, funding local initiatives that might otherwise not meet the criteria for traditional development assistance.
“The community leaders you see here today are very important partners in our work to build a better, more prosperous tomorrow through grassroots development. All of the selected projects exemplify the United States’ commitment to working with Ethiopian communities to promote self-reliance as well as to support local organizations in helping others to help themselves,” said United States Chargé d’Affaires in Ethiopia Dr. Tulinabo Mushingi at a private signing ceremony at the American Embassy today.
The Special Self-Help Program prides itself on offering small-scale, short-term support that yields a large impact, bringing about tangible improvements in people’s lives. Communities funded through the Special Self-Help Program must commit to provide a significant local contribution, either financial or in kind, to support the proposed project. The eight projects launched today will have an impact on over 12,000 Ethiopians, living throughout the Afar; Oromia; Tigray; and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples regions. Among the new projects are initiatives that will provide safe drinking water for ten rural communities, construct a library and16 classrooms for four primary schools, provide desks to a school serving 1,920 students, and support income-generating activities that will improve the economic autonomy of women and girls in two communities.
The newly funded 2009-2010 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help projects are:
Alemu Woldehanna Primary School Library (SNNPR): The 3,598 students of Alemu Woldehana Primary School are without a library. This Self-Help grant will contribute to the construction of a library on the grounds of the school that is accessible to students at the same time that it serves as an active center for the greater community as well.
Bedele Spring Water Development (Oromia): The communities in ten localities of Bedele Woreda are forced to use unprotected water, compromising the health and well-being of residents. Self-Help funds will contribute to the development of a spring water source in each of the ten locations, providing potable water for all.
Community Vision Ethiopia - Women-Led Dairy Chain (SNNPR): Most women in rural Kucha Woreda are engaged in small-scale dairy enterprises, but the income they generate is barely enough to cover basic living expenses. Children, particularly girls, must work to supplement the family income instead of attending school. With the assistance of Self-Help funding, this community will construct an efficient low-cost dairy collection/processing center and provide skills-training on dairy processing/ entrepreneurship, improving women’s socio-economic status and relieving girls of family dependence on their income.
Guri Luchicha Primary School Construction (Oromia): This mostly-Muslim highland community is in critical need of classroom space at the primary school level. A Self-Help grant will contribute to the construction of four classrooms, an administrative office, and a teaching aids center.
Kudu Enqui Primary School Classrooms (Tigray): Sebeya is the closest woreda to Eritrea where the Erob minority group is living. The existing classroom capacity of this community’s primary school, Kudi Enqui, is very limited. Self-Help will help expand their school by constructing six additional classrooms.
MDCCDO Training-Based Weaving Project (Afar): Despite being known for cotton production, the Afar people must travel more than 200 kilometers to purchase cloth in neighboring Amhara regions. During these journeys conflicts can arise, particularly among women. Self-Help support will help alleviate conflict and generate sustainable income for Afari women by contributing to the construction of a training hall, providing training in hand-weaving techniques, and purchasing hand-weaving machines.
Nano Jidu Primary School Addition (Oromia): Determined to educate its children, the Nano Jidu community built a primary school for grades 1 through 4, along with a conference hall and a latrine. Upon graduation from grade 4, however, boys and girls must travel a long distance to attend grades 5-8. The journey is particularly problematic for girls, who, out of fear of being abducted or raped on their way to school, often drop-out and marry at a young age. To assist in furthering children’s education and safety, Self-Help funds will contribute to the construction of classrooms for grades 5 through 8 on the existing school grounds.
School Desks for Community-Built Tulu Bacho Primary School (Oromia): Wolencomi’s one primary school could accommodate only 31 percent of its more than 5,000 school-aged children, so recently the community mobilized to construct an additional school, Tulu Bacho. Tulu Bacho’s 1,920 students are still sitting on stones and logs as the school is without desks. The Self-Help grant providing these desks will be the final step in completing this community-built school.
Projects selected for Self-Help funding require a substantial community contribution, must be completed in one year, and should benefit the greatest number of people possible. Applications for the 2010-2011 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program are currently being accepted through March 31, 2010. The Self-Help application and further information may be found on the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa website at http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/self_help.html.
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