International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Posted by Amy on Tuesday 16th October 2018
Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.
This is the theme for the 2018 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
As explained by poverty relief worker and UN affiliate Joseph Wresinski,
“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
How are we eradicating poverty in Ethiopia?
To help those furthest behind in Ethiopia, we are tackling key factors which condemn people to a life of poverty – factors like lack of healthcare, limited education, lack of women’s rights, and insufficient support for the marginalised.
Access to quality healthcare – particularly maternal healthcare – is a fundamental part in breaking the cycle of poverty. Without medical attention, those who are sick or suffering from a chronic condition have no way to change their circumstance. On top of this, maternal health conditions such as obstetric fistula are very socially isolating, so without access to healthcare or even knowledge that treatment exists, those who suffer are often forced to live on the fringe of society; denied employment, and reliant on handouts from relatives with no way to provide for themselves.
This ties into themes of women’s rights – women face unique risks to their health and livelihoods such as early marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and gender based violence, which restrict them from living an independent life and limits their capacity to achieve their full potential.
Correspondingly, there are other marginalised groups in Ethiopia’s society – such as the elderly, orphans and those with disabilities – who are often neglected or exploited. People with disabilities are routinely denied their most basic human rights; cut off from education, employment, and healthcare, and often living in extreme poverty; while the elderly often have no access to state pension, never earned enough to save for their old age, and so become either reliant on family support or are forced to beg on the streets.
Finally, education is the lynchpin that ties this all together. By providing the opportunity for education – in the form of both formal schooling and informal skills training – this gives people from every walk of life the tools, skills and knowledge to build better prospects for employment, income and self-sufficiency well into the future, and tackle the cycle of poverty from the ground up.
International Day of the Girl Child
Posted by Amy on Wednesday 10th October 2018
The International Day of the Girl Child shines a light on the unique needs and challenges that girls face.
In Ethiopia, girls face barriers to attaining their full potential – barriers like harmful traditional practices, unequal access to education, gender-based violence, and lack of specialised health services.
This year’s theme for the International Day of the Girl Child is “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce”. Our global Ethiopiaid offices and local partners in Ethiopia are hard at work every day to help break down these barriers that girls face and give them the skills to reach their full potential in life.
Here’s how we stand for girls and women in Ethiopia… Here’s how we stand “With Her”.
Harmful traditional practices
It’s not just the immediate trauma of harmful traditions like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage which are so dangerous – it’s also the health risks and social repercussions which stay with girls for life.
With female circumcision – which affects up to 85% of girls in the Afar region of Ethiopia – long term side effects such as difficulty urinating, kidney disease, and severe childbirth complications physically limit a girl’s ability to lead a full, unrestricted life. At the same time, girls who have been married as children often experience a severe lack of rights in their marriage, losing their independence plus opportunity for schooling or employment.
How we are “With Her”
We work on the ground through a local partnership in the areas where these traditions are still carried out to raise awareness and education about the risks involved.
WOMAN BY WOMAN | Local women who have experienced and/or practiced these traditions themselves are trained as Women Extension Workers to understand the dangers of these traditions, bring this knowledge back to their community, and help communities move away from these traditions.
RELIGIOUS LEADERS | Training and empowering workshops are held with religious leaders to help them defend the rights of women, while community committees are created to monitor the discontinuation of harmful practices and to provide a forum which actively speaks out against these traditions.
COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS | Workshops and conferences for local communities are held every quarter, sometimes in areas so remote they’re only accessible by foot or by camel. These conferences open up discussion about harmful traditions and help bring new ways of thinking forward – important for areas which are so inaccessible they don’t often have other information or health resources at hand.
Unequal access to education
Only 7.8% of girls/women have some secondary education in Ethiopia compared to 18.2% of men. And, correspondingly, the adult literacy rate is a low as 47% in women as opposed to 63% in men.
It’s clear there’s a huge discrepancy in access to education between women and men – and the reason behind this boils down to puberty and periods. Oftentimes, girls have neither the resources nor the knowledge to manage their periods discreetly, nor do their schools have bathroom facilities to allow them privacy and sanitation. It’s a sad fact that girls will often stay home during these days of the month, fall behind in their studies and drop out at a much greater rate than male students.
It’s a shocking waste of human potential.
How we are “With Her”
One of our global partners operates in the remote areas of northern Ethiopia where menstruation is still a highly stigmatised topic to help keep girls in school and give them back their dignity.
RESOURCES FOR GIRLS | Our partner distributes reusable sanitary pads to girls in schools throughout rural areas who would not have ready access to them otherwise. The pads are reusable, washable (in fact, they can be hung out to dry just like a normal item of clothing so girls don’t have to feel embarrassed) and are locally made.
SCHOOL FACILITIES | Creating more supportive school environments for teenage girls is imperative, which is why our partners are hard at work improving facilities in rural schools with private girls’ bathrooms to allow girls to manage their periods with dignity instead of having to stay home from school.
INFORMATION | A short informational booklet called ‘Growth and Changes’ is also printed and distributed to both girls and boys to teach them about the facts behind puberty (facts they often would not get elsewhere), dispel common myths and help break down the taboo behind puberty and menstruation which so isolates and shames girls.
Gender-based violence is a horrifying reality in Ethiopia, with 71% of women having experienced physical or sexual abuse (or both) over their lifetime. What’s worse is that an estimated 39% of these women have never talked about their experience because they fear the repercussions of reporting it.
Not only is violence against women rife, but a lack of social support services means that women often find themselves alone and unable to seek help.
How we are “With Her”
We partner with a local organisation which runs fully-staffed sanctuaries for women who have experienced gender-based violence or abuse.
SAFE SHELTER | The shelters are staffed 24/7 and are women and children-only, so that survivors of violence can feel fully secure. They also offer food, medication and legal advice for residents.
EDUCATION | Residents are given the opportunity for basic literacy lessons and skills development courses to gain better prospects for the future. Some of their skills development courses include hand weaving, food preparation, sewing and bamboo weaving.
CONFIDENCE | Staff in the safe shelters encourage residents to be physically active as a way to rebuild their confidence, and offer activities such as self-defence classes, scouts groups and marathons.
GOVERNANCE | Staff work with the wider community such as the police, media, local governance and school teachers, to encourage the reporting of abuse, promote awareness and coverage of abuse cases, better prosecute cases, and educate on the harm of gender-based violence.
Lack of specialised health services
Lack of specialised health services – particularly maternal health services – is a huge detriment to girls in Ethiopia. Practices such as child marriage and female circumcision are part of the reason behind the devastatingly high rates of maternal mortality and childbirth complications. There are an estimated 36,000 women living in rural Ethiopia with the debilitating condition of obstetric fistula, but less than 7,000 midwives trained to deal with this issue.
This lack of healthcare, especially in rural areas, means that girls and women suffer alone and in silence for conditions which should be and can be curable.
How we are “With Her”
We partner globally with multiple organisations who work across four key areas to identify, treat, prevent and support maternal health in Ethiopia.
IDENTIFY | Our partners work tirelessly to locate women suffering from conditions such as the socially isolating obstetric fistula (often these women are located in some of the most rural and remote areas of Ethiopia) and arrange transport to the nearest quality health centre or hospital for treatment.
TREAT | A number of our partners provide free treatment and surgery for conditions like fistula and pelvic organ prolapse, along with post-operative care, rehabilitation and counselling to help with physical and emotional recovery.
PREVENT | Ex-patients are given the opportunity to train as advocates of women’s health and are equipped to go back out to their communities to help identify women in need, refer them for treatment and provide valuable information to expectant mothers on safe pregnancy and childbirth. Within health centres and hospitals, our partners also run programs to train more midwives, gynaecologists, surgeons and nurses to provide critical healthcare, particularly in the rural areas where it is still sadly lacking.
SUPPORT | A key part of improving girls’ healthcare is to grow awareness and support for this need in communities. This is done through radio broadcasts, educational film screenings and community workshops – including male sensitivity workshops – all with the aim to teach about the facts of fistula and other maternal health conditions, break down the stigma behind them and show how families can support women living with them.
Want to learn more?
Today, the International Day of the Girl Child, shines a spotlight on this critical need for support of women and girls in Ethiopia.
LEARN MORE | To learn more about our work empowering girls, check out the ‘Our Work’ section.
SUPPORT GIRLS | To make a donation in support of girls in Ethiopia, head to the ‘Donate’ page.
How you’ve helped survivors of domestic violence
Posted by Amy on Sunday 23rd September 2018
A new face, a new life
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 13th September 2018
Imagine going through life with just half a face… It happens to thousands of children every year in Ethiopia
Today I want to introduce you to Sufi, a 13 year old Ethiopian girl. She is just like all teenage girls: she smiles, enjoys talking to people, loves her hair being done and is starting to become a confident young adult.
She dreams of a bright future and wants to become a teacher one day.
Born in the town of Ambo in Ethiopia, daughter of farmers and eldest child in a family of six, she has always had many responsibilities: fetching drinking water from rivers, herding animals, caring for her younger siblings and cooking food.
At the age of eight Sufi developed a small swelling on her jaw, and the swelling grew really fast. In a short period of time Sufi was unable to eat, drink, talk and breathing was becoming an increasingly difficult task.
Relatives and good willing people from the village gathered some money for Sufi’s treatment, but no hospital in Ethiopia could help the young girl.
The tumour in Sufi’s face was revealing the shocking truth of Noma: in Ethiopia Noma kills, local treatment and surgery are not available.
Noma is a gangrenous infection that devours the face, eating through skin, muscle, and bone. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of six, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.
When Sufi reached our partner Facing Africa, they knew they were the only ones who could do something to help Sufi. It was clear that without the necessary surgery, Sufi would die. Her future was not going to be as bright as she had hoped for...
Sufi, however, was a lucky one. She received surgery from Facing Africa’s volunteer surgeons who had travelled to Ethiopia to perform complex surgeries last October.
Sufi’s surgery was challenging: 15 long hours in the hands of extremely experienced and skilled medical team, the surgery was a success.
Sufi was given a new face. A new life. A future.
“It was a miracle to see my daughter breathing!” said Sufi’s father.
Sufi truly is a miracle. Many more like Sufi need your support. Noma destroys lives, please help us reach Noma victims and give them the opportunity of a new lease of life.
Just a small gift from you will help give a Noma survivor the opportunity of a better future.
Your support will enable continuing lifesaving medical missions to Ethiopia. There are still too many Noma victims who need to be reached, adults and children whose lives will dramatically improve with necessary surgery. We need your support now more than ever.
Drought update: Fresh water at Kori!
Posted by Amy on Wednesday 12th September 2018
THANKS TO YOU… A new well has been built in the Kori woredas or region of central-eastern Ethiopia.
For people struggling to survive one of the worst droughts Ethiopia has faced, this well makes a huge difference in their lives.
Because of your support, the people of Kori now have access to:
SAFE DRINKING WATER: Bored from deep underground, this well provides a fresh and reliable supply of water. Although water purification tablets can still be used, the water here has a vastly lower risk of contamination than from dwindling water supplies found from dried-up rivers or lakes.
EASE OF ACCESS: Beforehand, children would trek for miles each day to find a water source and fill their containers with enough to sustain their families for another day. Not only does this well offer a water supply much closer to home, but it also makes the water readily available to everyone, including the elderly, invalid and very young.
WATER FOR LIVESTOCK: For pastoralists who live off the land, ensuring cattle can survive the drought is hugely important. Livestock not only provide a source of food, but also act as a source of income so families can afford basics like schooling, medical care and clothing.
The video below shows the people within the Kori region enjoying their new well.
Local partner APDA (Afar Pastoralist Development Association) is working tirelessly to alleviate the effects of drought in these rural and isolated areas.
Boring for water and constructing a new well is an incredibly labour-intensive project, and one that needs to be coupled with immediate solutions for drought-relief, like transporting water across the vast desert landscape, providing water purification tablets to minimise risk of water-borne disease and providing veterinary care to livestock to help them survive the drought and safeguard the livelihood on which so many families rely.
All the drought continues across much of north and eastern Ethiopia, for the people in Kori your support has made all the difference.
From this very happy Kori community, a very heartfelt THANK YOU.
Midwives & Motherhood Ambassadors
Posted by Amy on Tuesday 28th August 2018
MIDWIVES & MOTHERHOOD AMBASSADORS: Who are they? What do they do? And why are they needed?
Both midwives and safe motherhood ambassadors give women the support, care and advice they need during their pregnancy, labour and postnatal period.
They work hand-in-one with one another.
Safe Motherhood Ambassadors are trained in basic maternal health skills and will educate and encourage expectant mothers to give birth in maternity clinics, often referring mothers to a midwife.
Midwives will monitor mothers for any health complications, particularly during labour, and are trained to treat any complications that occur.
In a country where maternal health is devastatingly low, both midwives and motherhood ambassadors are essential for safe pregnancy and childbirth – especially in rural areas where health resources are few and far between.
Across Ethiopia, only 16% of mothers are attended by a professional midwife or obstetrician, largely in urban areas. This has led to a high maternal mortality rate. It is a sad statistic that among mothers there are 420 deaths per 100,000 live births. And, among infants, there are 44 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Field research has shown that midwives can prevent 87% of maternal mortality. In fact, one midwife can provide care for 500 expectant mothers and safely deliver 100 newborns every year! Meanwhile, one Safe Motherhood Ambassador can reach hundreds of women with information on safe pregnancy and childbirth that they would not otherwise have access to.
This is why the training of both midwives and ambassadors is so vitally important for the safety and care of mothers and their newborns.
ACTION: What steps are being taken?
Across our global Ethiopiaid offices, we work with different partners focused on spreading maternal health throughout Ethiopia.
SUCCESS STORY: The story of Tigist & how one Motherhood Ambassador can make a difference
Tigist’s Story, from Kebele, Ethiopia
Tigist spent 2 long years living with obstetric fistula following the birth of her second child. Her labour lasted for days, and the prolonged pressure of the baby’s head caused a rupture to occur internally, resulting in incontinence.
For 2 years she lived in shame with her condition, not knowing where to go for help or that help was even available.
Through the awareness work of other midwives and ambassadors, Tigist became aware that she did not have to bear the shame of her condition – that she could receive treatment for it. Not only was Tigist able to receive a fistula-fixing operation through referral to the Gondar Fistula Centre, she also opted to be trained as an ambassador of maternal health through the Women & Health Association (WAHA).
It has been 5 years since Tigist received her life-changing treatment and training as a maternal health ambassador. Since then, she has taught more than 900 women about maternal health, including information about HIV, staying safe during early pregnancy, and preventing and treating fistula.
Her work has caused a ripple effect throughout her community and neighbouring district. She has brought 6 women living with fistula to the Gondar Fistula Centre where she herself received treatment. One of these women was only 9 years old.
One of Tigist’s proudest memories was being able to help her neighbour; a woman who had been living with obstetric fistula for years, just like Tigist. Thanks to Tigist, not only did her neighbour receive the treatment she needed, but she also was able to become self-employed following the surgery and live a life no longer dependent on others.
For Tigist, her neighbour is a daily reminder of her achievement;
“Every day I see her, I am proud to be so helpful to other fellow women!”
International Youth Day
Posted by Amy on Saturday 11th August 2018
Youth are the key to our future; and giving them safe spaces to live, learn and grow is essential. That’s why the annual International Youth Day is so important to us and this year’s focus on Safe Spaces for Youth is particularly close to our hearts.
With partners across Ethiopia, we are working to give youth the safe spaces they need; not just to live, learn and grow; not just for their best chance for a brighter future; but also so they can be part of a confident and resilient generation that can continue to shape and advance society for the better.
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150,000 children live on the streets of Ethiopia
60,000 of these live in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa
50% of homeless youth don’t have access to shelter, adequate food or education
Many find themselves lured into prostitution as a way to survive
71% of woman have experienced physical or sexual violence
Cultural taboos on puberty & menstruation means youth don’t have safe spaces to talk about this natural part of life
Ingrained traditions like female circumcision and child marriage don’t give youth opportunity to question or express their views
How are we providing #SafeSpaces4Youth?
SPACES FOR PHYSICAL SAFETY
REQUIREMENT: Youth must first feel physically protected, and be given the opportunity to live with dignity and in safety.
Through partnerships with various organisations in Ethiopia across our global offices, we help provide sanctuaries or safe houses for vulnerable youth who have been forced to live on the street and women who have experienced violence
These safe houses provide physical necessities such as shelter, food and medical aid and also protection from violence, abuse and the threat of prostitution
SPACES FOR MENTAL HEALTH & EDUCATION
REQUIREMENT: For youth to reach their full potential, they need to have safe spaces to disclose their thoughts, ask questions, discover new interests and learn.
Children living in these safe shelters are given the opportunity to enrol in their local school or to take introductory lessons at the shelter in reading, writing and simple maths if they have not yet had the chance to go to school
Pop-up street schools operate in different urban areas of northern Ethiopia. The mobile ‘school’ is set up in a public square, offers a free meal for children living on the streets and encourages them to take part in fun, interactive and educational activities – like learning their letters or numbers – to give homeless children a basic education
Almost all sanctuaries have counsellors at hand to help youth overcome trauma. Counsellors also help children from rural areas acclimatise to their new urban surroundings and teach them ‘street smart’ skills such as looking after their sexual health, managing puberty and finding sound work
Youth are given the opportunity to take part in a sport or hobby. Leisure activities is said to be an essential part of the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people, plus helps them build their self-esteem and confidence
SAFE SPACES FOR INTER-GENERATIONAL DIALOGUE
REQUIREMENT: Youth need a space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome, firstly with family members and then with wider society.
Provide menstrual hygiene kits including re-usable sanitary pads and puberty information packs at schools. A simple but effective solution to give youth the resources they need to understand this natural part of life, plus help encourage conversation so that these topics are no longer seen as taboo or shameful
Actively create safe spaces for dialogue in rural communities through trained on the ground workers, such as Women Extension Workers and Safe Motherhood Ambassadors. These workers go out to isolated communities and speak one on one with individuals, families and community leaders about topics like the rights of girls and women and maternal health.
Not only do they start talk about these otherwise taboo subjects and share information but they also provide opportunity for youth and the rest of the community to ask questions or ask for help in a safe and supported environment
Violence Against Women
Posted by Amy on Saturday 28th July 2018
Violence against women and girls is a daily reality across Ethiopia. Figures by the World Health Organisation paint a frightening picture about the levels of violence girls and women experience in Ethiopia.
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Nearly one half of women have experienced physical violence by a partner at some point in their lives
71% of women have experienced physical or sexual abuse (or both) over their lifetime
The main injuries these women suffer are:
- Abrasions or bruises -
- Sprains and dislocations -
- Injuries to eyes and ears -
- Fractures -
- Broken teeth -
For pregnant women, 8% experienced physical violence during at least one pregnancy and of these, 28% had been punched or kicked in the abdomen
39% of women have never talked to anyone before about their abuse...
...and more than half of these woman said they had not said anything because they had been threatened or feared the consequences of reporting it
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Violence can be in the form of emotional abuse, physical violence or rape and is often at the hands of male family members, neighbours or employers – people the women know or are close to in their lives.
How are we working to support survivors of violence?
We partner with the Association for Women’s Sanctuary & Development (AWSAD); an organisation working across Ethiopia to provide protection and support for women who have survived gender based violence.
AWSAD runs fully-staffed safe houses for women who need safe refuge. These shelters are for women and children only, so that survivors can feel safe in their new environment and share their experience with others who have gone through a similar ordeal.
Alongside safe shelter, AWSAD provides food, medication, legal advice and counselling for the women and girls in its care. For women who have not had any formal education, they provide basic literacy education and also skills development training to give women the tools to rebuild their lives and move forward as independent and self-sufficient members of society when they are ready.
Residents are also encouraged to develop their self-esteem and confidence by being physically active and developing their own interests; such as taking self-defence classes, joining a scouts group or participating in a marathon.
In the past year alone, AWSAD has supported 160 women and 73 of their children who experienced and needed refuge from violence. At the start of this year, 13 young women graduated as fully qualified hair dressers following a 6-month course, allowing them to find work in a skilled profession once they are ready to leave AWSAD.
For women and girls
Safe shelter and food
Food and medication
Reading and writing education
Skills development for jobs
Educate primary school students and teachers about the harm of gender based violence
Work with the media to report cases of gender based violence
Work with police and other officials to encourage reporting of abuse and violence
Work with community and government institutions to provide quality services for women and girls
World Youth Skills Day
Posted by Amy on Saturday 14th July 2018
In a country where almost 3 million children are deprived of basic education and almost 50% of youth are unemployed, it’s more critical than ever to ensure youth have the skills they need for their best future.
Today on World Youth Skills Day we’re showcasing the work we’re doing to support training and education for youth across Ethiopia.
OUR AIM: To promote quality education for all
Across our global offices, we have partnered with various local organisations in Ethiopia to cover a range of education resources for youth; from basic literacy on the street, to access to formal primary or secondary school, to scholarships for university and apprenticeships. We believe everyone should have access to comprehensive education regardless of age, gender or physical condition.
STARTING OUT: SAFE HOUSES & BASIC EDUCATION
For homeless and parentless children, going to school is often less of a priority than finding safe shelter and food. We work with different local organisations across Ethiopia who run sanctuaries or safe houses for orphaned children and survivors of violence. As well as housing, feeding and protecting these children against slavery, these sanctuaries provide access to formal and informal education.
Provide all the essential school materials such as writing books, pens and textbooks so students can focus on their learning - and not how to pay for it.
Enrol children living in the safe houses to local primary schools which they attend daily.
Provide programs for business, craft production, communication and mathematics to students unwilling or unable to attend formal school.
Help older students access higher education, vocational training or find long-term employment so they can become self-sufficient citizens.
Provide mobile schools where children still living on the street can learn simple literacy and numeracy so they don’t miss out on basic education.
HIGHER LEARNING: UNIVERSITY & APPRENTICESHIPS
Higher learning is often a luxury only the wealthy can afford; but even for those who can afford it, a lack of choice and quality in tertiary institutions has meant many students go abroad to study. They often do not return to Ethiopia, so valuable skills and expertise are lost. We partner with universities and vocational institutions to provide higher learning scholarships to disadvantaged students who could not otherwise afford it.
Provide access to university education through scholarships at the Hope College of Business, Science & Technology – Ethiopia’s first public benefit university!
Here, students can obtain diplomas in areas such as business, technology and social sciences. These are all highly employable areas in the government and private sectors, so students are able to find jobs quite easily after graduation.
Provide access to vocational training through the Hope Enterprises’ Vocational Training Unit in Ethiopia’s capital.
Students can learn practical skills in tailoring, metal work, furniture making, industrial machinery, hospitality and catering. This includes a 2-month apprenticeship to help graduates secure a permanent job upon completion.
EQUAL EDUCATION: GIRLS IN SCHOOL
There is a stunning difference in education levels between men and women in Ethiopia. Only 7.8% of women have some secondary education compared to 18.2% of men and, for women, literacy levels drop by 16%. A large factor behind this is that girls in rural areas often miss school during menstruation due to lack of sanitary items and toilet facilities, plus widespread stigmas against menstruation. This causes them to fall behind in their studies and drop out of school at an earlier age. This is a huge waste of human potential and one we are working hard to rectify with local partnerships.
Provide menstrual hygiene kits to girls in school which contain a reusable sanitary pad so girls can manage their periods discreetly, with dignity and without having to stay home from school each month.
Distribute information booklets which have the facts on puberty and menstruation to help break down taboos, dispel common myths and offer a factual resource for students who often have nowhere else to turn.
Build toilet facilities with adequate sources of water including female-only toilets so girls can manage their periods in a sanitary and private environment.
INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS
For a child living with a disability in Ethiopia, access to education is virtually impossible. Only 1% of children with special needs have access to specialised education and are often neglected by society. Through various partners such as a boarding school for the blind and a physical mobility support and rehabilitation organisation, we support youth with special needs to have the same opportunity for education as every other child.
Support a boarding school for blind children (Mekelle Blind School) including funding for training in braille typewriting.
Provide funding for ‘Talking Textbooks’ where volunteers read and record textbooks for use by sight impaired students.
For physical mobility needs, provide walking aids, ramps and accessible toilets in schools where students have mobility issues.
Cover costs for school fees, books and transport for older children with disabilities who don't have the means to support themselves, and provide funding for inclusive kindergartens where children both with and without disabilities can learn and interact together.
Want to get on board?
To get involved in this work, visit our Donate page and help promote education and skills training for youth across Ethiopia!
What stands between a girl and her education?
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 12th July 2018
In Ethiopia, menstruation is a taboo subject. As a result, a girl’s first period usually takes them by surprise.
I’m sure you understand that education is the most valuable thing you can give a girl. Educated girls are empowered to make better decisions about their bodies and their lives. They have access to better opportunities and pay, are at less risk of dying in childbirth and are more likely to send their own children to school. With your ongoing support I know we can reach more girls.
Two out of five Ethiopian girls miss school because of their periods. Missing school causes girls to fall behind, and many leave school altogether.
This was almost the case for Amina.
Amina is 16 and lives in Shahigubi, a small town in the Afar region of Ethiopia. She lives with her family, which is fortunate for her. Many girls at her school live far from their families having moved in search of a good education.
Amina had her first period when she was 14 years old. She knew from school what menstruation was, but these classes did nothing to change the social perceptions about it — that it is shameful, unclean, and a result of sexual activity.
During her period, Amina never went to school because she was afraid of accidents and being teased.
I’m sure you agree that no girl should miss out on getting an education just because of her period.
Lack of access to good menstrual hygiene products is one reason adolescent girls drop out of school. In Ethiopia, 85% of the population lives in rural and remote areas. It often takes substantial effort to reach these locations, hauling supplies to schools using donkeys or on foot.
Women and girls make do with home-made menstrual pads, usually created out of discarded bedding, with grass or straw.
It’s no wonder girls like Amina were forced to stay at home.
But everything changed when Amina was provided with a reusable menstruation pack from our partner, Dignity Period.
These pads are comfortable, and girls like Amina can wear them all day without having to worry about an accident. Each pack consists of four washable, reusable menstrual pads and two pairs of underwear.
Washing is easy, and Amina feels confident drying them with other laundry, because they look like any ordinary piece of cloth.
We have an easy solution to an issue that prevents girls from staying in school. But we desperately need your help to make it a reality.
Each sanitary pack costs just €3.50 to produce.
The best part is that we know your support is making an enormous difference. Dignity Period carried out a large-scale study of school attendance before and after sanitary pack distribution and found that school absences among girls dropped 24% after distribution.
We also know that just one menstrual hygiene kit can help keep girls in school for up to two years - compared to girls who do not have access to such supplies. In a developing country such as Ethiopia, two additional years of education can have a huge impact on the economy.
We have the ability to change the lives of whole communities with this initiative, not just the girls we work with.
Since Amina received her Dignity Period menstruation pack, she does not worry about being embarrassed and missing school. She enjoys biology and aspires to be a doctor so that she can help people in her area.
Please, will you consider to donate today so that we can supply more girls with a menstruation pack?
Together we can continue to help girls to complete their education and create a better future for themselves. As always, thank you for supporting Ethiopiaid in our mission of bringing health and hope to girls in Ethiopia. I am grateful to have you standing with us.
Emergency & Long Term Drought Relief
Posted by Amy on Friday 15th June 2018
Each day, children across Ethiopia’s north-east walk for over 9 hours to find water.
These children trek long distances over a dry, desert landscape, with no food and sometimes without shoes, to collect water for their families.
The amount they can carry in their containers, sometimes as little as 3 litres, is just enough to sustain their family for a day or two before making the long trek once again.
Families and children are down to their last drops of water.
Provide 2.50L of water a day for 28,399 people for just €8.50
Keep a health worker in the field for €20
Buy a 50kg sack of lentils and 2 goats for a family for €100
Ethiopia is in the middle of a severe drought.
Right now 7.9 million people are in dire need, struggling to find enough water while facing off starvation. Almost half are young children.
Failed rainy seasons have led to back-to-back periods of drought, which has had devastating consequences for a country that relies so heavily on agriculture. In the north-east region of Afar, one of the worst affected areas, thousands of livestock animals have died and food prices have exploded. Many thousands of families have lost their livestock, are unable to rebuild and now struggle to provide for themselves and their children.
With your help and with trusted community partners, we are working to provide emergency food, water and medicine to those in serious need.
Our community partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), is working hard to develop sustainable, long term solutions to the water crisis, but immediate relief is needed to ensure families can survive until the next rainy season.
OUR EMERGENCY & LONG TERM RELIEF
TRANSPORT CLEAN WATER
Water trucking is critical for immediate relief, especially in remote communities where drilling for water is impossible.
APDA is working tirelessly to deliver 2.5L of water per person per day. Their trucks cover distances of up to 180kms to reach the most remote communities of Afar with enough water to withstand the drought.
Although for some communities water trucking is the only way to get clean and safe water, APDA is also working on more sustainable solutions. Where possible due to the lay of the land, APDA has plans to use their skills and equipment to drill new boreholes, install wells and maintain cisterns for water catchment and storage.In this way, communities will be able to collect and store water when it does rain and so reduce their dependence on trucking.
PURIFY WATER SUPPLIES
Dehydration and malnourishment makes children and seniors even more vulnerable to disease. During drought, it is vital that what little water there is remains safe to drink.
APDA supplies water purification tablets to households to ensure any water they collect, store or have delivered is safe from waterborne disease such as acute watery diarrhea.
It is not just during times of drought that water purification is essential. Directly after the seasonal rains set in, new bacteria or pathogens are often washed into catchments for fresh water which can lead to epidemics of waterborne disease unless safely treated first.
PROVIDE EMERGENCY FOOD RATIONS
APDA has two phases of food relief to provide immediate aid and then restore independence to families whose farming or livestock livelihoods have been wiped out by continual drought.
First, to provide immediate aid, APDA supplies a 50kg bag of lentils and 2 goats to families identified as being the most vulnerable. They also provide veterinary treatment to help livestock survive the drought and provide much-needed income or food for families.
For families who have lost their whole herd and prospects for their livelihood, APDA gives them the tools to start afresh with 10 breeding goats each. In this way, communities can make a shift from being reliant on food relief to being able to provide for themselves once again.
KEEP HEALTH WORKERS ON THE FIELD
APDA’s health workers are vital in ensuring aid gets to the most vulnerable. They travel huge distances on foot for 15 days at a time, visiting households to give immediate food and medical aid and give awareness on hygiene and disease prevention.
In just 15 days, one health worker can reach and treat 150 people who are severely malnourished.
The government, UNICEF and the World Food Programme rely on APDA’s health workers to get vaccinations and malnutrition supplements to remote communities across the Afar region.
Thanks to the kindness of our supporters, clean water has already been provided to 27,000 people and 60 health workers have been deployed to provide emergency aid to households, most accessible only by travelling huge distances on foot. 275 families across the Afar region who had their livelihood wiped out have also received a chance to start over with 10 goats to raise and breed.
GET ON BOARD
Great steps have been taken, but as the drought in Ethiopia persists many families especially in remote communities are still under great threat.
It is only with your help that we can continue to provide the emergency relief so desperately needed.
A small gift today can make a big difference to a family struggling to endure the drought.
Provide 2.50L of water a day for 28,399 people for just €8.50
Keep a health worker in the field for €20
Buy a 50kg sack of lentils and 2 goats for a family for €100
Menstrual Health Management Symposium
Posted by Amy on Friday 1st June 2018
The FIRST-EVER meeting on managing menstrual health for women and girls in East and South Africa was held this past week in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A ground breaking initiative, the Menstrual Health Management Symposium aims to bring together the many different programs and policies that already exist surrounding menstrual health and develop a sustainable, scalable framework which is cohesive across East and South Africa regions.
Purpose of Menstrual Health Management Symposium
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the purpose of the symposium is:
To strengthen commitment and build on the latest evidence base, to move from research to action, and to demonstrate innovative, sustainable and scalable models to address the menstrual health management needs of adolescent girls and women throughout their menstrual life cycle in East and Southern Africa.
Issues surrounding menstrual management
Across the globe, a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and a lack of widespread education contribute to cultural stigmas against menstruation.
Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, says on the topic:
“African sexuality is very much a hidden thing… [but keeping it hidden] perpetuates stigma and discrimination.
“Access to sexuality education is vital for menstrual literacy but also for self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.”
In Ethiopia, menstruation is a taboo subject. As a result, girls’ first periods usually take them by surprise; they don’t know what to do, or who they can turn to for help.
“When I first started to menstruate, I did not know what it was. I was very shocked and embarrassed. I was even too embarrassed to tell my mother.”
Excerpt from educational booklet ‘Growth and Changes’ distributed by Dignity Period
Although health and biology are taught in schools, the classes do not do enough to change the social perceptions about menstruation — that it is shameful, unclean, and a result of sexual activity – nor do they offer the practical knowledge adolescent girls need to manage their menstrual hygiene effectively.
Many girls are forced to use straw or strips of old cloth because they do not have access to or cannot afford sanitary products.
The lack of sanitation, fear about accidents and shame of having their period often drives girls to stay home from school during menstruation. With frequent absenteeism, these girls fall behind in their studies and have a higher risk of dropping out early.
Not only does this greatly restrict girls’ freedom and opportunity for education, but it is also a tragic waste of human potential.
How we support menstrual management
We work in partnership with Dignity Period with the mission to keep Ethiopian girls in school by providing quality menstrual hygiene products. Dignity Period operates within three areas of work:
SANITATION | Purchasing and distributing reusable, eco-friendly pads for girls in school, locally manufactured in the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory.
RESEARCH | Funding research at the established Mekelle University in northern Ethiopia to explore cultural beliefs and social attitudes around menstruation in rural Ethiopia.
EDUCATION | Developing research-based programs to improve awareness and support on issues surrounding menstruation that are sustainable over the long term.
Within the field of education, Dignity Period produces a ‘Growth and Changes’ information booklet which provides facts on puberty and menstruation, answers common questions and dispels long-held myths which perpetuate menstruation as shameful.
Since launching the Menstrual Dignity Project in Ethiopia in 2015, a huge 73,197 students have been reached with information booklets and sanitary products for improved menstrual management.
Small steps for sustainable change
The menstrual management programs we support through Dignity Period are just one part of a wider chain of programs spanning many different sectors, channels and organisations.
The Menstrual Health Management Symposium aims to look at a wider picture of menstrual health across Africa by collating evidence and research from the many different programs in place and using this knowledge to drive more unified, scalable solutions for menstrual management.
Together we can help shape menstrual health in rural areas of Ethiopia and take the steps needed for sustainable change.
Want to get on board?
Reusable sanitary pads are an effective and immediate way of improving menstrual hygiene and management. Dignity Period purchases these sanitary pads locally from the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory and distributes them to girls in rural schools who could not afford or access these products otherwise.
For a small amount, you can purchase a Mariam Seba sanitary pad to help a girl in school manage her period with dignity. If you would like to give a gift of dignity, please visit our Donate page. A small gift will make a big difference for a girl in Ethiopia.
Learning about menstrual health and hygiene in Ethiopia
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Monday 28th May 2018
Menstrual health and hygiene can help to contribute to achieving a number of Sustainable Development Goals
Menstruation is called yewor abeba in the Ethiopian language Amharic, meaning “monthly flower”, and usually first starts for girls the age of 14-15 years old. More often than not, menstrual hygiene is a monthly challenge for girls in Ethiopia as they struggle to properly manage their periods. In particular this can have negative consequences for girls’ participation and performance in school and is linked to their absenteeism and dropout.
1 in 6 girls report having missed schooldays in the past year due to their menstruation, with absenteeism often leading to dropping out of school entirely. Girls who drop out of school are more likely to enter into marriage early. Dropout rates for girls are highest in Grade 8, around the same time as the onset of menstruation (age 14). While Ethiopia has made significant progress in increasing school attendance in recent years, especially for girls, statistics from the Ethiopian government indicate that only 53% of girls complete Grade 8 and even fewer (47%) continue to secondary education.
The likelihood of absenteeism is found to be linked to the ways in which girls manage their menstruation, with those lacking appropriate ways to manage their periods more likely to drop out of school. Research found that in Ethiopia girls’ main methods for managing their periods included using old rags (58.6), using nothing (14.8%), or wearing additional clothes or underwear (5.4%), with some reporting the use of sanitary pads.
Effective management of their periods is an even bigger challenge for girls in rural areas with only 1.6% of rural girls using pads compared to 37.1% of urban girls. While sanitary pads are the preferred method form of menstrual hygiene for girls (with insertable products such as tampons or menstrual cups less socially acceptable) in rural areas girls usually do not have money to buy pads, may be too embarrassed to buy them or they may simply not be available in rural and remote areas.
Negative cultural attitudes towards menstruation also have a negative impact on girls’ ability to manage their period. In Ethiopia misinformation and negative beliefs about menstruation are widespread, and restrictions are often imposed on many girls around the time of their menstruation such as not entering a church or mosque while menstruating, avoiding social groups and activities, and not being allowed to prepare food or drink. In addition, a study in Tigray in the northern part of Ethiopia found that 22% of males and 11% of females believes that menstruating girls should not attend school.
The social stigma around menstruation means that often girls are left to figure out puberty on their own only 55% of girls having any information about menstruation before it occurs. This can be frightening for girls and also prevents them from managing their periods properly as girls are often girls are embarrassed about their periods - 35% of girls indicating that they had been teased about their menstruation. In school, there is often a lack of adequate sanitation facilities in schools, especially in rural schools. Reports from the government indicates that only 20% of primary schools and 34% of secondary school have menstruation sanitation available.
Education is one of the most effective tools for empowering girls and efforts must be made to ensure that all girls have the opportunity to continue their education. Education increases their access to paid employment and economic empowerment, delays their entry into marriage and increases their agency and self-confidence. Wider benefits of increasing the girls’ education levels include increasing GDP, helping to reduce infant mortality increasing child immunisation and nutrition, lowers fertility and unwanted pregnancies.
To ensure girls can continue and take advantage of their education they must be enabled to effectively manage their periods. A holistic response is required. To give girls control over their period they first and foremost girls need access to appropriate knowledge and information and access to clean, safe, affordable and ecologically sustainable sanitary products. More medium to long-term solutions include ensuring girls have access to adequate facilities at school, raising awareness of the school community, parent teachers associations and general public around menstruation. Female teachers were found to be the main source of information about menstruation for girls so it must be ensured that there are female teachers in school and provide teacher training to support girls in school.
Ensuring adequate menstrual health and hygiene can help to contribute to achieving a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), and clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).
Louise Yorke PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher at REAL Centre,
Faculty of Education,
University of Cambridge
Read more about how Ethiopiaid is working hard with Dignity Period in order to give girls In Tigray the confidence to manage their period and continue with their studies free from fear and embarrassment.
References  Wall et al., 2016. Pain and discomfort, fear of having an accident at school, embarrassment and having nothing to manage their period are some of the main reasons for girls missing school. Population Council, 2010. Ministry of Education Annual Abstract 2015/16 Population Council, 2010 Population Council, 2010; Wall et al., 2016. Wall et al., 2016. Population Council, 2010. Population Council, 2010; Tegene & Sisay, 2014. Population Council, 2010.
Back to drought and unpredictable rains across Ethiopia are still destroying communities
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Wednesday 16th May 2018
Just €8.50 can provide 2.50L of water to 1,000 people
Just €12 can provide veterinary assistance to 14 households
No one is talking about it… but East Africa is still suffering from an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Currently 7.9 million people in Ethiopia are in dire need and still facing starvation and thirst, just under half are young children.
Consecutive failed rainy seasons have eroded the coping capacities of agro-pastoralist communities in key locations and poor rainfall is expected to continue to drive humanitarian needs in the coming months. In addition to climate change, conflict, insecurity and political instability remain important drivers of humanitarian need in the region.
According to UNICEF Ethiopia, 50,111 children are in urgent need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition, and 2.2 million school-aged children, including adolescents, are in need of emergency school feeding.
Ethiopia has experienced two years of exceptional drought emergency. In 2017, severe drought conditions continued in lowland, mostly pastoral areas, rendering hundreds of thousands destitute and displaced. Approximately 60% of the people in need of food assistance are expected to be in pastoralist areas.
In the Afar region alone, one of the worst affected areas, thousands of animals have died and food prices have risen, leading to extreme malnutrition.
With your help, Ethiopiaid can once again provide emergency relief to the remote communities in Afar through our trusted partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA).
The people from Afar region live a traditional nomadic lifestyle, moving all their lives in search of food and water. This burden is on women as traditionally they walk vast distances through burning hot and arduous landscape to collect water. This fragile lifestyle becomes more difficult every day as climate change increases the severity of drought.
Currently women in the Bidu District trek for up to 9 hours to collect less than 2.50 litres of water per day. Women in the Kori District walk between 15 to 24 hours to collect water. Distances keep growing every day — people are scared for what lies ahead. Drought and lack of access to water leaves young children particularly vulnerable to illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration and as a result severe malnutrition – after which it is only death and desperation.
In Ireland, we use on average 150 litres of water per day, which is clean and easily accessible wherever we are. Can you imagine what life would be like if every day we were on our last drop?
Sadly, the continuing unpredictability of the rains means that funding is urgently needed to ensure that these vulnerable people can survive the next six months. Please helps us to deliver much needed emergency relief efforts.
APDA are focusing on developing long term solutions to the water crisis, but now they urgently need to deliver a minimum of 2.50 litres of water per person per day to the communities of Afar to ensure people’s survival.
Water trucking is essential to their survival. Together with APDA, we are working to deliver at least 2.50 litres of clean water per person to 28,399 people living in remote communities in Afar.
These families are scared. They are living their lives holding on to the last drop.
For pregnant women and children, thirst and malnutrition mean impeded mental and physical development, increased risk of illnesses and ultimately death.
They are struggling and we must act now to reach them so that can stay strong and survive this humanitarian crisis.
Your generosity has helped us before save some of those in the most desperate circumstances.
We need your help more than ever before. We cannot do it without you.
Together we can stop horrific violence against women and girls
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Monday 26th March 2018
In Ethiopia, half of the women have experienced a form of physical violence. Two-thirds of these have been sexually assaulted. And horrifically, one in six girls will be raped.
Ayana is a bright girl. She and her little sister Fatuma hope to be doctors when they grow up. Despite their four-year difference, the two sisters are extremely close.
Last year, their whole world fell apart.
''I try to forget what happened''. Ayana says. ''We were at home back from school, my mom was making coffe and my father was there too. He sent Fatuma to buy milk and when she returned with it, he stirred something in it and gave it to us to drink. We slept heavily that night.''
''But in the middle of the night, I woke up to sound of beating and shouting. When I wen to see [what was happening] my ftaher was beating my mother with rods of metal.''
''I was frightened and tried to scream but he threatened me. He killed my mother using pieces of glass, right there in front of me.''
It is no wonder Gadise, their mom, didn't report her husband. Deeply entrenched traditional values and unequal power relations between men and women in Ethiopia mean that women feel powerless to protect themselves or their daugthers.
That's why we desperately need your help. We must end this epidemic that is destroying women and girls' lives, killing mothers like Gadise.
After murdering his wife, Ayana's dad tried to run away but he was caught by the police and arrested. Ayana and Fatuma were left alone and deeply traumatised.
Despite experiencing one of the most horrific things a person could live through, Ayana and Fatuma still have hope thanks to your incredile support.
Our local partner the Association for Women's Sanctuary Development (AWSAD) work tirelessly to run safe houses for women and girls survivors of gender based violence. The women and girls referred to AWSAD have suffered emotional abuse, physical violence and rape, often by male family members, neighbours or employers.
''They gave us a clean place to sleep, meals and counsellor to talk to us.'' Ayana says. ''They accompanied me to court hearings and took care of our legal case.''
After working extensively with their counsellors to deal with their trauma, the girls started to show a bit confidence. Soon they were ready to return to school.
''I have been through a lot but I feel that education is what I need to be able to face future challenges in my life.'' Ayana said.
Your support also allows AWSAD to engage with primary schools and communities in Addis Ababa to dispel the myths that cause violnce against women to be so endemic. By educating children on gender equality, reproductive health and positive life skills, we are teaching the next generation of boys and girls that violence against women will not be tolerated. The good news is that it's working, there is a slow decrease in violence.
We need to continue spreading the vital message, but we need your help to reach more girls and women who aare victims of senseless violence.
A gift of €25 will help AWSAD to help girls like Ayana and Fatuma stay in a safe house and turn their lives around.
Gives back a teenage girl her dignity
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 1st March 2018
Just €7 helps give two teenage girls their dignity back
Just €3.50 a month gives a teenage girl back her dignity
Our partner Dignity Period works in the Tigray region of Ethiopia helping to give girls the information and support they need to manage their period. Sadly menstruation is largely misunderstood in Ethiopia and particularly in the rural areas of the country, Dignity Period hope to change these misconceptions and ensure that girls feel comfortable and confident talking about their bodies.
Harifeya is 16 years old and at the top of her class at Adigudem Secondary School in a small town in Tigray. She is from a farming family in Wujurat, about 22 miles away from her school, and is only able to visit her family home once a month. For girls like Harifeya, starting the period is a difficult experience.
‘When I first started to menstruate, I did not know what it was...[it] came suddenly when I was working on the farm... I was very shocked and embarrassed...I did not tell anyone the first day. The second day the blood came again. I was very embarrassed...’
In rural Ethiopia, menstruating girls have little or no support. This important step into womanhood is not openly talked about and is seen as a source of shame. 98% of girls in Tigray lack access to sanitary products which are expensive and difficult to find. Many don’t possess underwear either. Girls are forced to use whatever materials are available such as grass, leaves, old rags or nothing at all.
‘I went home, hid… and tore an old scarf. I used this to manage my menstruation. I couldn’t attend class ... I did not go to class for three days.’
Harifeya could not ask her parents to purchase menstrual products because they are too expensive and she was ashamed. During their periods girls are afraid to go to school where they often face ridicule and embarrassment. In addition to this, the majority of schools have inadequate, if any, toilet and washing facilities. As a result, many girls drop out of school altogether, missing their chance to create a better future for themselves.
‘I thought people would stare at me and insult me. Whenever I menstruated, I did not go outside of the house. I didn’t even to go to school…..this affected everything in my life.’
There are 9 million girls in Ethiopia. Educated girls make better decisions about their bodies, their lives and their future families. They have access to better opportunities, employment, are at less risk of dying in childbirth and are more likely to send their own children to school
‘…Girls should not be shocked or afraid when they start menstruating because it is something natural that happens to all girls when they grow to [become] a woman.’
A reusable sanitary pack costs just €3.50 to make and provides girls with everything they need to manage their period for 12-18 months.
We are working hard with Dignity Period in order to give girls In Tigray the confidence to manage their period and continue with their studies free from fear and embarrassment.
Video credit Dignity Period. Photography Joni Kabana
Help us turn tragedy around
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Tuesday 20th February 2018
Obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder, caused by prolonged obstructed labor. It is a devastating condition that leaves the woman incontinent. We'd like to tell you Hawwa's story.
Hawwa was born and raised in a remote rural village in Oromia where she lived with her farming family. At just 15 years old she married and led a happy existence with her husband who cared very much for her. The news that she was expecting their first child was a time of great excitement and preparations began for their new family.
Hawwa’s labour was excruciating and her worried family tried every possible traditional remedy to help her. After five days of laboring Hawwa was left unconscious. Desperate, her family carried her by stretcher for five hours to the nearest town.
Sadly, it was too late to save Hawwa’s baby. Her prolonged labour had left her with a devastating and complex fistula injury. Mourning the loss of her baby and the trauma inflicted upon her body, Hawwa returned home. The never-ending flow of urine a harsh reminder of her devastating loss.
“After... I feared eating and drinking, I lost appetite. I never got back to my husband and almost divorced. Fistula had totally ruined my life.” Hawwa said.
But hope was not lost. Another woman in the village told Hawwa’s mother about the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. It took three surgeries to completely cure her after which Hawwa rejoined her husband to rebuild their life together. Several years after her traumatic fistula injury, Hawwa was overjoyed to find that she was expecting twins.
“And now here I am totally dry, restarting a happy family…. Thank you all for reconstructing my whole life and enabling me to become a woman with self-esteem…. no words of mouth can express my heartfelt gratitude.”
Sadly, Hawwa’s story is not unique. There are so many women still facing a life of despair. The Ethiopian Ministry of Health estimates there are more than 36,000 women living in rural Ethiopia with obstetric fistula and that over 3,000 new cases occur each year.
Our partner the Hamlin Fistula Hospital is part of the Ethiopian government’s fistula taskforce. Together with other grassroots organisations aim to eradicate this devastating birth injury and help survivors resume their lives as mothers, wives and members of their community.
We can reach out to more women and help them. But to do this, we need your support.
A gift of €50 will help provide free surgery, maternal care, counselling and practical support so that fistula suffere can piece their broken lives back together.
Ethiopian Art Exhibition 2017
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 26th October 2017
Marking 15 years of our charity work on health, education and women’s welfare in Ethiopia, we had the pleasure to host the largest ever collection of Ethiopian art in Ireland, from October 12th until October 15th in The Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Ethiopiaid Ethiopian Art Exhibition 2017 was officially opened on Thursday, October 12th by Ireland’s best known columnist and broadcaster John Masterson and celebrity chef Kevin Thornton, who has been involved with charitable work in Ethiopia for almost ten years.
Over 200 paintings from Ethiopian artists, celebrating the best of the African nation’s modern art, were on display. The exhibition was organised in partnership with Makush Art Gallery of Addis Ababa.
Bruk Hiwet of Makush Gallery said: “It gives us great pleasure to continue our partnership with Ethiopiaid Ireland and bring this art collection to Ireland. Our artists are very conscious of the contributions made by this Irish NGO and firmly support their work through the generous provision of their paintings.”
The style of art emerging from Ethiopia is unique to Africa, given the country’s history of independence and multiculturalism. Over the last 16 years, the Makush Art Gallery has focussed on working with Ethiopian artists along with supporting humanitarian causes.
Ethiopiad founder, Sir Alec Reed said: “In the 15 years since I founded Ethiopiaid, I have been impressed by the dynamism of the Ethiopian people as well as the kindness and generosity of our Irish donors. Although there is still a lot of poverty in the country, Ethiopia is now the fastest growing economy in Africa.
By raising funds for key local partners working to improve maternal health, education, women’s welfare and to help the most marginalised, we can continue to create positive and sustainable change.”
“Ethiopia is a country that holds a special place in my heart, having spent much time there over the last eight years working with communities as a catering mentor. The work of Irish people, in partnership with grassroots organisations in Ethiopia has played an integral part in bringing the country out of, what seemed like, hopeless times due to famine, drought and insidious poverty." said Kevin Thornton.
Artists Dimetros Kidane,Atklit Assefa and Abiy Eshete travelled to Ireland for the occasion and had the opportunity to talk to the Irish public about the value of art in modern Ethiopia, while allowing Ethiopiaid to benefit from the sale of their pieces and raise much needed funds in support of our Ethiopian partners.
Finally we are delighted to confirm some paintings are still available to purchase. Details of the sale here
Facing Africa Surgical Mission 2017
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Wednesday 20th September 2017
Mr Hiroshi Nishikawa recently travelled to Ethiopia, with our partner Facing Africa, to take on complex surgical work not available in the country. He tells us about his experience with two Noma cases.
Recently I have returned from my eighth Facing Africa surgical mission to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. As always, I come back older, slightly wiser but also humbled by what we see and do there.
Facing Africa is a charity that deals with the treatment of a devastating disease called Noma. It affects poorly nourished children and those who survive often have terrible facial deformities as well as difficulties eating and drinking.
The charity organises and funds all the equipment and hospital conditions needed for an experienced surgical team to treat these very challenging patients in the middle of a poor developing country.
This year we were faced with both technical and ethical dilemmas. Our mixed skill set often means that we are asked to help with non-Noma cases too. This year we were presented with a total of twenty patients, all who had facial deformities. I personally dealt with two young women called Hulu and Zinash, who were both suffering from a condition known as ossifying fibroma.
Both women’s lower jaws had been replaced by a solid, rock-hard bony tumour that had invaded the surrounding tissue. They had been suffering from this slowly growing benign tumour for several years and now the size of them was equivalent to a large melon. Unless we could treat the women, they would die as it was becoming almost impossible to eat, drink or breathe.
It took two surgical teams ten hours respectively to remove the tumours and replace the resected lower jaws with new ones made from the skin and fibula bone taken from one of their legs. The operations had been planned weeks in advance, in the UK, to allow for the precise fit of the bone and reconstruction plates by my Maxillofacial colleague Kelvin Mizen. Microsurgical techniques were also needed to allow blood to flow to the new jaw.
Zinash recovered brilliantly and her fighting spirt was inspirational. She now has a fantastic future ahead of her and it was wonderful to see her true beauty emerge now that the mass had been removed.
Prior to her surgery Zinash’s loving and totally dedicated father had tried everything to cure his daughter. He had even sold his cattle to help fund her treatment in the past but it came to no avail. Luckily however, myself and the team at Facing Africa were able to not only save Zinash but also help to fund his cataract surgery to allow him to see properly again.
Unfortunately, the reconstruction for Hulu failed, but thankfully a salvage operation helped to ensure that she would have a functional lower jaw. Despite this however, she will still require future surgery in order to live a normal life.
While Zinash came from a very supporting home, the same could not be said for Hulu, who had been rejected by her family after her disease lead to the demise of the family laundry business (locals feared they might catch the same disease as Hulu). As a result, Hulu was left living on the streets and it’s only due to the persistence of Facing Africa front line workers, Tihitna and Kidist, that she was saved.
The sadness in Hulu's eyes reflected the desperation to be accepted by her family again, but sadly, when her mother did eventually come to visit her in hospital Hulu received a slap instead of a hug. However, in spite of this, Hulu did eventually return to her family home but unfortunately, we have no idea how she’s now being treated or whether her family have now accepted her.
Obviously, a two-week surgical mission only allows for me to skim the surface of this vast country, but I’m so thankful to say that I could assist in saving not one but two lives. Furthermore, I am so proud of the Facing Africa team as it is rare to find total harmony between skills and aims.
Mr Hiroshi Nishikawa
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon
World Humanitarian Day 2017
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Friday 18th August 2017
Today is World Humanitarian Day, an annual tribute led by the United Nations to honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service, those who continue to bring relief and assistance to populations in need and to encourage more people to be part of humanitarian actions.
We would like to take the opportunity of this memorial day to recognise the work of our partners in Ethiopia. We have been supporting them for the last 15 years. As a result, their social projects go from maternal health and women’s welfare, to education and disabilities. Ethiopia has made huge strides forward since the devastation and despair of the famines during the 1980s. Thanks to organizations, institutions, teachers, doctors and volunteers, many Ethiopians enjoy today a better life.
Each partner fulfills a mission:
AWSAD supports victims of gender-based violence and discrimination, harmful traditional practices and exploitation.
The Hamlin Fistula Hospital is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of childbirth injuries called obstetric fistulas: a condition that can lead to severe infections and paralysis caused by nerve damage.
Hope Enterprises operate two feeding programs for people living on the streets of Addis Ababa and Dessie, seven elementary schools, five high schools, numerous vocational training and adult literacy programs throughout Ethiopia.
Cheshire Services provide orthopedic and social rehabilitation services for children and young people with disabilities also throughout Ethiopia.
People with dedication are working on all these projects every day to give better life opportunities to thousands in Ethiopia. Your assistance means so much, and we want to say thank you for the compassion you show to these people, is an inspiration for us all.
Through your support, you have just given the priceless gift anyone could have ever given – kindness and love. THANK YOU!
A midwife for every woman: 20 students graduate at the Hamlin College of Midwives
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Wednesday 26th July 2017
On Saturday July 15th 2017, The Hamlin College of Midwives (HCM) proudly awarded 20 female students the BSc Degree in Midwifery at the College’s Compounds. Friends and families, staff and representatives from partner organisations were only but a few attending the ceremony and celebrating with the graduates this significant step in midwifery education.
In acknowledging the graduates' achievement, Dr. Catherine Hamlin, who founded HFE with her late husband Dr. Reginald, said: ‘You are about to put in practice what you learnt, and to us your skills for the area you will be working in. I hope most of you will be in the areas you once lived and will know the people you will be helping. They will, I am sure, welcome you back to serve them now as trained midwives. And to see and help for their babies being born, and growing up safely under your care.’
Ethiopia still has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. It is estimated there are 39,000 women suffering with untreated fistula and another 3,700 who develop fistula injuries each year in the country. Obstetric fistula are holes that form between the vagina and bladder as a result of the prolonged pushing of a baby’s head against the wall of the mother’s womb. The agony of protracted labour often results in a stillborn child.
However, the last year has shown very positive improvements, with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital reporting that fewer incidences of new fistula patients are occurring. Currently there are approx. 7,000 trained midwives for a population of over 100 million, of which only 1,500 are trained to deal with fistula.
Ethiopiaid has been working with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, who works at forefront of fistula prevention in Ethiopia, for 15 years. The Hospital, which was founded by Dr. Reg Hamlin OBE and Dr. Catherine Hamlin AC in 1974 was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of fistula in the world and the only place where fistula injuries could be treated in Ethiopia. Today, thanks to your support, the Hamlin Fistula Hospital has been able to open a number of treatment centres across Ethiopia, and now provides training for the next generation of Ethiopian Midwives.
Although the provision and quality of maternal health services in Ethiopia is improving and more than 40,000 women have been treated at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, there is still so much that needs to be done. Thousands of women across the country are still needlessly suffering during childbirth; from preventable fistula injuries and from a lack of pre- and post-natal support. But we could not do this without you.
We need your support to help improve the situation for pregnant women and new mothers in Ethiopia and eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia by 2020.
Please consider donating today. Donate here
About HFE: The Hamlin Fistula Hospital is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of childbirth injuries called obstetric fistulas: a condition that can lead to severe infections and paralysis caused by nerve damage. Ethiopiaid works with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital to help prevent, treat and rehabilitate women with this birth injury. Together, we work in over 30 health centres across Ethiopia providing surgery, counselling, skills training, antenatal and postnatal care.
Pictured above: Midwife and patient and Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Art Exhibition 2017
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 19th July 2017
To commemorate Ethiopiaid 15th Anniversary in Ireland we are proud to host a remarkable exhibition of Ethiopian art at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin.
We have partnered with the Makush Art Gallery of Addis Ababa with the intent of showing you a different side of Ethiopia. Over 100 beautiful artworks from all parts of Ethiopia will be on display this October, with proceeds from the sale of the paintings going to fund our partners’ projects in Ethiopia.
If you wish to attend the opening night on 12th October, please contact Eufemia Solinas via email@example.com.
If you are unable to attend the opening night, the exhibition will otherwise be open to the public from the 13th - 15th October, between 10:00am - 6:00pm (no registration needed).
Looking forward to seeing you in October!
You can see some pictures from our last Exhibition please click here.
International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 2017
Posted by Natacha Soto on Tuesday 23rd May 2017
Obstetric fistula are holes that form in a woman’s bladder or rectum caused by obstructed labour during childbirth. This condition is easily prevented and treated with access to good quality maternal healthcare. In Ethiopia around 10,000 new cases of fistula are reported each year but currently there are only 1500 midwives trained to deal with the condition.
In Ethiopia, women suffering from fistula often face societal marginalisation, preventing them from being able to work, seeking help or receiving treatment. Ethiopiaid have been working with Hamlin Fistula Hospital, who works at forefront of fistula prevention in Ethiopia, for over 20 years. The Hospital, which was founded by Dr. Reg Hamlin OBE and Dr. Catherine Hamlin AC in 1974 was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of fistula in the world and the only place where fistula injuries could be treated in Ethiopia. Today, thanks to your support, Hamlin Fistula has been able to open a number of treatment centres across Ethiopia, and now provides training for the next generation of Ethiopian Midwives.
Although the provision and quality of maternal health services in Ethiopia is improving and more than 40,000 women have been treated at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, there is still so much that needs to be done. Thousands of women across the country are still needlessly suffering during childbirth; from preventable fistula injuries and from a lack of pre- and post-natal support. We are currently seeking your support to help improve the situation for pregnant women and new mothers in Ethiopia and help us eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia by 2020. To see how you can help and to donate, please click here.
Natalie Imbruglia shows support for Ethiopiaid in Dublin
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 18th May 2017
Australian singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia showed her support for Ethiopiaid on Monday 15th May, following her successful show at Vicar Street. Natalie is a committed Ethiopiaid Ambassador for the eradication of Obstetric Fistula and met three of her biggest fans, twins Joanne and Ruth (aged 12) and Noel (aged 10), who were born in Ethiopia and now live in Donard, Co. Wicklow with their adoptive parents, Harriet and Martin Andrews.
Maternal care is a critical and challenging issue in Ethiopia and Natalie is a vocal supporter of the campaign for the eradication of obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth industry which affects thousands of women in Ethiopia each year.
The Andrews family got to witness first-hand the provision of maternal care supported by Ethopiaid when Martin was CEO of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa from 2013 to 2016. The family understand the importance of Natalie’s role as Ambassador in speaking out to ensure all women in Ethiopia have access to good maternal healthcare. With Natalie’s help, Ethiopiaid will keep supporting the work which aims to eradicate obstetric fistula by 2020.
In joining her husband and children, mum Harriet said: "We had the privilege of living and working on the grounds of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and got to know many of the courageous patients who received free life changing surgeries. Their lives were transformed beyond belief, no longer doubly incontinent or burdened by shame. It was such a joy to witness time and time again. I also got to lend a hand in the Hamlin College of Midwives outside Addis. With doctors in very short supply, qualified midwives are key to the future of improved maternal healthcare. Ethiopiaid is committed to supporting this life changing work for many years now. Natalie’s commitment is an inspiration to us all to continue to sing from the rooftops about the good that is being done and the difference we can all make."
For more information on Ethiopiaid’s work and on how to contribute see www.ethiopiaid.ie.
As an ambassador for Virgin Unite – the charitable arm of the Virgin Group – Natalie’s charity work is extensive and she passionately campaigns to end poverty and to raise awareness of maternal healthcare. In 2005, Natalie visited fistula hospitals in Ethiopia and Nigeria with representatives from UNFPA – the United Nations Populations Fund – and Virgin Unite. Deeply moved by the suffering these women endure, she felt she needed to become more involved in the fight against fistula.
"Obstetric fistula was eliminated here in Europe and the United States more than 100 years ago,” said Natalie Imbruglia. “It’s unacceptable that women and girls in developing countries are still suffering from this entirely preventable and treatable condition."
“After that first field trip to Ethiopia, I could not forget about all those women suffering. I promised myself I would continue to shine a light on this issue and be a voice for them so they are not suffering in silence. As a woman it affected me deeply. I believe it’s a woman’s human right to be able to deliver their baby safely. Ethiopia is on its way to making this a reality, my hope is it that other countries will follow their lead."
Ethiopia Emergency Drought Relief 2017
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 19th April 2017
East Africa is in the grip of a critical humanitarian crisis which is spreading across Ethiopia. Many have died and millions more are at risk of starvation.
The Ethiopian Government has pledged $47.4 million and they are calling on the international community to help assist 5.6 million people whose lives, livelihoods and well-being are at risk.
In the last few weeks, our newest partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), has identified 15,000 children under the age of five and 25,000 pregnant or breast-feeding women who are suffering severe malnutrition and are unable to reach the government’s aid distribution points. The situation is deteriorating rapidly and we need to act now to provide the emergency aid they so desperately need.
While Ethiopia battles the continuing impact of last year’s El Niño-induced drought, again, failed rains in the southern and eastern parts of the country have led to new symptoms of drought. Many have been unable to rebuild their livestock herds, struggling to control disease outbreaks and remain reliant on water trucking. The crisis is deepening and we are asking you to help us scale up our efforts to protect those in vulnerable situation from starvation as the severity of drought has hugely affected the already meagre lifestyle of these nomadic vulnerable communities in Afar.
APDA is responding directly to the crisis in three key ways: water trucking, the provision of health workers and veterinary care.
€12 will cover veterinary care for the livestock of 14 households in Afar.
€55 will support one healthcare worker in the field and lifesaving provisions (malnutrition supplements and vaccines) for 30 people.
€240 will provide a water truck for one day to delivery 14,000 litres of water to 2,800 people.
Please consider supporting our emergency relief appeal with whatever you can afford.
Ethiopia Drought 2017 FAQ’s:
What is the Ethiopian Government doing?
The Ethiopian Government is calling on the UN and international community to assist 5.6 million people, whose lives, livelihoods and well-being depend on our support. The Ethiopian Government has pledged $47.35 million, leading the emergency response, but a total of $948 million is needed.
What happened to the goats Ethiopiaid donors bought last year?
Throughout the last year we have been providing our partner APDA with funds for animal feed and veterinary medicine to keep the goats alive and continuing to support the families and communities.
Why can’t wells be dug?
Running water pipes and drilling boreholes is extremely expensive and difficult. There is a lack of supporting infrastructure, such as roads, to bring in equipment and the geology of the land requires expertise difficult to find in Ethiopia. The government relies on foreign NGO’s to provide wells but with these projectscost often in excess of $1million, progress has been slow. Further issues with boreholes are also common, climate change can mean boreholes dry up and having the skills and finances to maintain wells is difficult.
Why do droughts keep happening?
Ethiopia is particularly susceptible to droughts being a landlocked country with a vast and, in many regions, difficult terrain. Although over many decades infrastructure has been put in place and has changed the lives of those living in those locations, many regions and lifestyles are severely vulnerable to climate change. Changes to traditional weather patterns, failed seasonal rains, El Nino and back to back droughts have lead to regions, such as the Afar, being on the brink.
Why do health workers travel on foot?
Many settlements in the Afar region are remote and dispersed. No roads connect the family dwellings and vehicles are expensive, unreliable and badly equipped for the landscape. Progress on foot is slow but more flexible and reliable.
Why don’t families and communities move to regions where there is water?
Over many decades Ethiopia seen much internal displacement, in times of drought and famine families and communities do migrate to other parts of the country and even cross borders in search of water, food and grazing land for livestock. However many people, the most vulnerable we are supporting, are not able to relocate. The elderly, disabled, pregnant women and young children are unable to make the long journeys, on foot, over the rough, hostile volcanic landscape, with no vehicles, food, money and even shoes. These families are often left behind while the men go in search of water, food and work. The families are left to wait it out.
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2017: Economic Empowerment at Cheshire Services!
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Monday 3rd April 2017
Last Saturday I travelled to Harar, a walled city with a rich past and history, and once a capital of Ethiopia. There is no airport so I flew to the city of Dire-Dawa, where Cheshire Services also runs a centre with services for the disabled. Fasil, Cheshire’s program manager, was waiting for me. We drove east, up a steep sinuous road into the mountains, to an altitude of about 2000 metres. About 50 kms away from Harar, we turned onto a dusty and bumpy country road and crossed a few small villages in the rolling hills. People smiled and waved at me when we drove by, foreigners are still a rare sight in these parts. We stopped in the village of Ifa Aramaya, where Cheshire has been supporting 20 women with disabilities through its credit cooperative for animal husbandry. Adinan, the social worker running the project, greeted me. We walked up a long path lined with cactuses. It was already very hot under the sun.
Along the winding path around several houses, with many curious children now in tow, we reached a modest mud house. This is where Chaltousan, a mother of five, lives. She is 40 years old and was born here. Her husband, Abdul, is a farmer. One of their sons was with spina bifida and severe mental disabilities. He was unable to attend school and, in the absence of proper health care, passed away just three months ago. Chaltousan stopped speaking, it was a difficult moment as she recalled her 8-year old’s tragic end. Life has been hard on the family and they were barely surviving with the help of relatives. Poor families in the countryside cannot access bank loans as they are deemed a liability.
Cheshire’s outreach team visited Chaltousan eight months ago, and invited her to join the credit cooperative to help her break out of poverty. She first attended a 3-day training with other women in the village to learn basic numeracy and business skills. She received advice on how she should use and pay back the loan, and how to make savings monthly. Chaltousan purchased a cow and 2 goats. At the beginning, it was difficult and she had to postpone two reimbursements. But within six months of selling milk and butter, and lending her male goat to breed in the village, she is now able to save a decent amount every month. The family’s life took a turn for the better and she expressed a lot of gratitude. With her savings, she looks forward to purchase another cow and increase her butter production.
Over the next two days, I visited other families in Ifa Aramaya (like Meimouna and her adopted daughter, to the left), Gursum and Kabsu. These are all remote villages in the Harar region, where women benefit from the credit cooperatives set up by Cheshire Services. I was shown how the credit cooperatives are managed, from individual records of certified beneficiaries, cooperative committee policies and credit saving booklets. In Gursum, the cooperatives have successfully mobilized resources within the community to increase the amount of credit available for people with disabilities. A worthy endeavor of solidarity!
In this National Regional State, the population is composed of about 70% Muslims, and 30% Orthodox Christians and other faiths living in perfect harmony. People are not shy and women wear extraordinarily colourful traditional clothes. I will long remember the beautiful faces and smiles that punctuated my village visits and meetings. A long drive back to Dire-Dawa and a flight to Addis Ababa, I look forward to a few final meetings before diving back into Spring in Ottawa.
Olivier Bonnet, Executive Director Ethiopiaid Canada
March 30 Harar, ET
Cheshire Services is supported by Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK. Since we share a Global Strategy for empowerment and change in Ethiopia, this post is also being shared on Ethiopiaid Australia's page.
This is the fifth of several posts Ethiopiaid will be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. Every year, as part of our monitoring and evaluation process, the directors of Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK travel to Ethiopia to meet with our partners to make sure we are creating lasting and effective change and that your donations are well spent. Watch this space for more updates!
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2017 - Hope Enterprises
Posted by Céline on Thursday 23rd March 2017
My Ethiopiaid Ireland colleague Eufemia and I visited Hope Enterprises projects in Addis together today - Hope Enterprises has been providing free schooling from kindergarten to high school (grade 10) for over 30 years. Hope runs 7 schools in different parts of the country for families living below the poverty line and for single moms, as well as 2 community kitchens, including the street children breakfast in Addis. The Hope school we visited is located in Ayertena, a suburb of Addis. It caters for hundreds of children, who are also provided free uniforms, books and stationary. It also houses the vocational training centre for youth that Ethiopiaid Canada has supported for several years.
Bruk, the director, took us around a few primary classes to introduce us to the children - they were so kind and welcoming, proud to teach us a few Amharic words, and practice some English with us. Unfortunately, two pupils in primary at the Hope school died in the tragic collapse of the landfill in nearby Koshe just a little over a week ago. Photos to commemorate the two young children could be seen on boards around the school.
I was so happy to visit the tailoring training, a new pilot project for 20 marginalized women that Ethiopiaid Canada began to fund in late 2016. I met Mohamed and Julya, the two trainers who explained what the 4 month curriculum offers, and I was able to interview Birtukar and Baridou, who told me how this opportunity will change their lives, by helping them gain skills which are in great demand in Addis, and become financially independent.
For those who have completed the training and obtained their certificates, Hope has already obtained places in government-run cooperatives, and is helping others find work in the private sector. It is also encouraging the women to set up a self-help group, as many have bonded during the training. Birtukar had tears in her eyes when telling me her story, and I was so glad to see for myself first-hand how successful this initiative has been. The project will continue and Ethiopiaid Canada will support a second batch of trainees this year, as well as continuing to support the catering and hospitality training for women.
In the catering training program, students had prepared our lunch, with an assortment of no less that 9 different traditional Ethiopian dishes such as shiro, red and green lentils, stuffed peppers and injera. Solomon, the head trainer, has also included pastry making in training sessions, adding yet another dynamic skill to the program. The food was delicious. With the growth in the hospitality market in Addis and other big cities, catering is in high demand; I know once these young women graduate, they will be highly employable.
Olivia Bonnet, Ethiopiaid Canada
Addis Ababa, 23rd March 2017
This is the fourth of several posts Ethiopiaid will be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. Every year, as part of our monitoring and evaluation process, the directors of Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK travel to Ethiopia to meet with our partners to make sure we are creating lasting and effective change and that your donations are well spent. Watch this space for more updates!
Our interview with Fistula Ambassador Natalie Imbruglia
Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Thursday 23rd March 2017
Last night we caught up with our Fistula Ambassador Natalie Imbruglia via a live Twitter interview.
We were delighted back in September when Natalie agreed to become our Fistula Ambassador, helping us to raise awarenss for this devestating, yet curable, childbirth injury. We asked Natalie why she wanted to get involved in our fistula work and to tell us about her own expereiences of visting Ethiopia.
When did you first become aware of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia?
I learnt about it in 2005 from Richard Branson. Virgin Unite took me on a field trip to Ethiopia and Northern Nigeria. I interviewed women suffering with the condition. I also interviewed the husbands, families and Emir’s (spiritual leaders). I couldn’t believe I’d never heard about Fistula when 2million women worldwide are suffering with this preventable treatable condition.
How has being a Fistula Ambassador changed you?
After that first field trip I could not forget about all those women suffering. I promised myself I would continue to shine a light on this issue and be a voice for them so they are not suffering in silence. As a woman it affected me deeply. I believe it’s a woman’s human right to be able to deliver their baby safely. It’s all our responsibility to nurture and protect women and mothers around the world. Child birth should be a joyous occasion, a celebration of life, not the beginning of a life with fistula, which can tear apart the family unit.
What do you like most about being an ambassador?
I like giving people an opportunity to help themselves and using my profile to draw attention to matters that are close to my heart. I love getting to learn about other cultures. I now have more compassion for people and a respect for our differences. These women have inspired me. I’m also inspired by those who work tirelessly to help them. It makes me want to be a better person, to do more to help. My heroes are people like Catherine Hamiln, who founded the first fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and Allison Shingo who founded Healing Hands of Joy in Mek’ele. Both of these women have dedicated their lives to helping women with Fistula.
Is there a story that has particularly touched you?
On my last field trip to Ethiopia to visit Healing Hands of Joy I met a woman who had been suffering with fistula for 22 years. We approached her with one of the Safe Motherhood Ambassadors who had gone through the program at HHOJ. She had already had a successful fistula surgery, been educated and reintegrated into society. I watched this women inspire the other to finally come forward and have the courage to seek help. The women who had been suffering for 22 years went on to have fistula surgery. When we support each other we can find courage we didn’t know we had. This woman’s life was given back to her. This really touched me.
Why do you support Ethiopiaid?
Ethiopiaid has partnered with the Ethiopian Government on their Campaign to Eradicate fistula by 2020 in Ethiopia. I’m really excited about this campaign and I wanted to be part of the amazing work that Ethiopiaid is doing to help these women.
What other charities do you support?
My main focus is women with fistula; I support Virgin Unite, Ethiopiaid and Healing Hands of Joy. But as its World Water Day (22nd March) I should draw your attention to Drop4Drop who do amazing work around the world to ensure people have clean drinking water.
I also support Big Change whose mission is to transform the way we support the next generation. You should check out their site.
What do you hope for the future of maternal health?
My hope is that women all over the world will be supported to deliver their babies safely. There are already solutions, we just need to work together with the governments and Emirs to make this happen sooner rather than later. Ethiopia is on its way to making this a reality my hope is it that other countries will follow their lead.
Who has inspired you?
My mother and father have inspired me by working full time jobs and raising 4 strong powerful women! I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices they made for us. As I mentioned earlier, Catherine Hamlin and Allison Shingo inspire me because they have dedicated their lives to helping women with Fistula. Richard Branson has also inspired me, not only is he a successful business man, he is an amazing father who has instilled great values in his children. If it wasn’t for Richard and Virgin Unite I would never have known about women with fistula.
Have you ever been to Ethiopia? What do you like about the culture?
I have such fond memories of Ethiopia. My first visit was to The Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. It was so impressive and the staff were so loving to all the women being treated. When a woman there is repaired of fistula they all sing a song and they present her with a new dress. I will never forget seeing the joy on their faces, to finally be dry after so much suffering. It was fantastic. The people were very graceful and friendly and I loved the food!!! On my last trip I saw some beautiful lush landscape. I definitely want to go back.
If there was a person from history you could follow on social media who would it be?
Oscar Wilde … for his Wit!
Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram?
I have so many but I love Mattdraperphotography for his underwater photography. His pictures take you to another world, just stunning.
A big thank you to Natalie for giving up her time to talk to us, we look foraward to working with you!
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2017 - Our Partners
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 23rd March 2017
Be the Change you want to see
Today I completed the visits to Ethiopiaid Ireland’s partners in Ethiopia: AWSAD, the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Hope Enterprises and Cheshire Services opened their doors to Ethiopiaid and made us feel welcome every step of the way.
Today I also read the United Nations Development Programme’s latest Human Development Report: 'Human Development for Everyone', which was released on March 21. The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on. Principally women and girls, newborns and school-age children, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and LGBT communities are among those systematically excluded by barriers that are not purely economic, but political, social and cultural as well.
The Human Development Index measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, education, and a decent standard of living. Ethiopia still ranks low at 174th out of 188: this means there are still many challenges the most vulnerable in the modern Ethiopian society face on a daily basis.
What I witnessed in the last few days is local organisations working hard to reach and serve the most vulnerable, the poorest of the poor:
AWSAD supports victims of gender-based violence and discrimination, harmful traditional practices and exploitation.
The Hamlin Fistula Hospital is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of childbirth injuries called obstetric fistulas: a condition that can lead to severe infections and paralysis caused by nerve damage.
Hope Enterprises operate two feeding programmes for people living on the streets of Addis Ababa and Dessie (both children and adults), seven elementary schools, five high schools, numerous vocational training and adult literacy programs throughout Ethiopia.
Cheshire Services provide orthopaedic and social rehabilitation services for children and young people with disabilities also throughout Ethiopia.
Salem (hello) and a smile were on every person I met. The testimonies we heard were heart-breaking to say the least. Nevertheless they thanked us infinitely for the support we provide, they know they now have the opportunity of a better life, an opportunity they never thought it was available to them and they will make the most of it.
The people and the work I had the honour to witness are a sign of hope for all those who are mostly affected by the inequalities of the modern world and we are thankful for all the support of our donors, who through the provision of funding to our partners, are very much participative of the change we are enabling in the Ethiopian society.
Eufemia Solinas, Ethiopiaid Ireland
Addis Ababa, 22nd March 2017
Eufemia, the team of Cheshire Services and visitors during visit at Menaghesa Centre / Tailoring Vocational Training for young mothers run by Hope Enterprises at Addis Ababa branch.
This is the third of several posts Ethiopiaid will be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. Every year, as part of our monitoring and evaluation process, the directors of Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK travel to Ethiopia to meet with our partners to make sure we are creating lasting and effective change and that your donations are well spent. Watch this space for more blog updates!
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2017 - AWSAD
Posted by Natacha Soto on Tuesday 21st March 2017
A warm welcome in Ethiopia
It is not every Monday morning that you have the opportunity to meet amazing people doing amazing work. And it is not every day you get to meet wonderful women, who are showing determination, bravery and real hope for the future even through some of the most devastating experiences life could bring.
The first partner I got to meet during my very first visit to Ethiopia is AWSAD, the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development. AWSAD runs a crisis centre for women and girls in Ethiopia, providing a refuge for victims of gender-based violence and discrimination, harmful traditional practices and exploitation. They also offer legal advice, health services and vocational training, as well as delivering training to community and government institutions, such as the police forces, to enhance their capacity of providing quality services to victims of gender-based violence and exploitation of women and girls.
Maria, founder and director made us feel welcome since the moment we crossed their gate: water, tea and biscuits accompanied a thorough presentation of the work of the organisation during 2016, together with its successes, such as the opening of new safe houses outside of Addis Ababa, but also with the endless challenges they face when providing a multi-faceted service to young girls and women, who have been affected by violence.
We were then honoured to be welcomed in one of the safe houses, where we were introduced to three young survivors, who very kindly shared their heart-breaking stories. It is hard to imagine a world where anyone has to endure such level of pain, violence and abuse – but it is a reality, and that is why there is such demand for the services AWSAD provides. Currently their safe houses are at full capacity and more – the one we visited hosts 79 women and 37 young children. Numbers confirms that there is no denying they need ongoing support.
Even through life hardships, the group of young children and women welcomed us with dances, singing, a beautiful coffee ceremony, a hand-made card from the young children who attend classes in the house and few hand-made presents by the very same women we seek to support.
The spirit and genuine warmth was overwhelming, nevertheless I felt truly uplifted. A feeling that is accompanied by the certainty that Ethiopiaid support to AWSAD is truly in aid of some of the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia and it is a partnership we are very proud of.
Eufemia Solinas, Ethiopiaid Ireland
Addis Ababa, 20th March 2017
Olivier Bonnet (Ethiopiaid Canada), Eufemia Solinas (Ethiopiaid Ireland) and Lisa Cousins (Ethiopiaid UK) Directors with Maria Munir (AWSAD), during visit at AWSAD. / Tailoring Vocational Training for young women run by AWSAD.
This is the second of several posts Ethiopiaid will be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. Every year, as part of our monitoring and evaluation process, the directors of Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK travel to Ethiopia to meet with our partners to make sure we are creating lasting and effective change and that your donations are well spent. Watch this space for more blog updates!
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2017 - Arrival
Posted by email@example.com on Sunday 19th March 2017
Diary Entry from Canada:
It's a bit tough leaving behind our Canadian winter in the middle of the night, and arriving in Addis in the early morning hours after 15 hours of flying and an 8 hour time difference! Some emotions as I step once more on the continent in which I was born. Between the airport and hotel, the city is just waking up, and it is summer in Ethiopia. The bougainvillea and hibiscus are in flower, it is sunny, the air is full of unfamiliar bird songs and the soft sounds of Amharic language. There are smiling faces to greet me.
As expected I did see many groups of soldiers, men and women, carrying old Kalashnikovs and batons, stationed along the main arteries. They were not there last year. The state of emergency declared last October was expected to end this month, but it has been prolonged. The soldiers' blue uniforms are visible, but they seem laid back, sitting in the shade, not on high alert. It is morning rush-hour, the shops and cafes are opening, streets are bustling and there are people everywhere. I am happy to find fruits and vegetable stalls carrying a bright and wide variety you simply cannot find during winter in Canada.
This evening, I took a stroll to close-by Medane Alem Church. My colleagues from the UK and Ireland are arriving tomorrow. I will read up on our partner's latest reports to prepare the visits to our partners next week. I look forward to my meetings at Hamlin Fistula Hospital on Monday, where we are set to meet Dr Tesfaye, the new CEO who was appointed 9 months ago. I may even have the opportunity to meet Dr Hamlin herself.
I also look forward to meeting the youth graduates we supported for vocational training this past year, as well as some of the women from the first tailoring training project - all run by our partner Hope Enterprises.
This is the first of several posts Ethiopiaid will be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. Every year, as part of our monitoring and evaluation process, the directors of Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid Canada, Ethiopiaid Ireland and Ethiopiaid UK travel to Ethiopia to meet with our partners to make sure we are creating lasting and effective change and that your donations are well spent. Watch this space for more blog updates!
We are headed to Ethiopia!
Posted by Natacha Soto on Saturday 18th March 2017
A year has passed and it is time to head to Ethiopia for our annual partner visits! On Saturday 18th March, our Executive Director, Eufemia Solinas, departed for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city. She will have a busy week ahead of her, armed with questions for our partners, and a camera to capture what she sees. This trip is all about connecting with projects on the ground and seeing how the euros you have donated to Ethiopiaid are being spent. If you have a burning question about one of our projects or for a specific partner that you would like answered, send us a message here.
Watch this space for our upcoming trip diary!
International Women’s Day 2017
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 8th March 2017
The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day. This day commemorates and recognises the integral role women play in all aspects of society, and the importance of breaking down social and cultural barriers which inhibit women from fully participating in all areas of life.
Today we celebrate the women who have achieved great feats, who have worked tirelessly to eliminate the obstacles faced not only by themselves but by women and girls around the world.
We celebrate the women who have shown perseverance and resilience in the face of opposition, discrimination and oppression.
We celebrate the women who have created change and paved the way for women and girls after them, and who have made sacrifices so future generations may face greater opportunities and qualities of life than they did.
Here at Ethiopiaid we are also celebrating our incredible partners who work every day to ensure the women and girls of Ethiopia live a life of dignity and opportunity, free from the harms of traditional practices and cultural constraints.
Former High Court Judge Maria Munir co-founded the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD). AWSAD began its work in 2003, after Maria and a small group of her fellow lawyers had been providing female survivors of gender-based violence with a pro bono legal advice service to bring their perpetrators to justice. They recognised however that once women had received legal support, they still worried about how to feed and provide shelter for themselves and their children. As a widow, Maria had a particular understanding of the difficulties of being a single mother.
In response, AWSAD was established providing a holistic service to help vulnerable women to recover and rebuild their lives – alongside legal advice, this included residency at a safe house, food, medical care and skills training for income generation. The organisation runs three safe houses across Addis Ababa for women and girls providing shelter, food, counselling, medical services and legal assistance. Through prevention, rehabilitation and economic empowerment the organisation addresses gender-based violence.
Maria has been nationally recognised for providing legal aid to more than 8,000 women. She has travelled widely to promote women’s rights; encouraged participation of women in elections; advocated for the revision of the family and penal code and pension regulation; provided paralegal training across Ethiopia.
Photo credit: Womankind Worldwide
Dr Catherine Hamlin has been a pioneer of women’s maternal health in Ethiopia for over 40 years since her and her late husband, Reg Hamlin, founded the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia organisation in 1974. Since then, Catherine has also gone on to found the Hamlin College of Midwives and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Dr Catherine’s organisation treats over 3000 obstetric fistula patients each year between the main hospital in Addis Ababa and five other regional hospitals. The life’s work of Dr Catherine Hamlin has made an insurmountable difference to countless thousands of women in Ethiopia, and today we celebrate her.
Photo credit: Ethiopiaid UK
Today we also celebrate the sisterhood. The women in our lives who have taught, nurtured and inspired us and who we stand side-by-side with in the pursuit of gender equality around the world.
If you would like to help us continue our support of these incredible organisations please donate here.
Great Ethiopian Run 2017
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 27th February 2017
Meet Noor, a Noma survivor
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 15th February 2017
During my most recent visit, I was lucky enough to join one of the complex surgical missions where surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses from the UK and Ireland volunteer their expertise to operate on victims of Noma and others suffering severe facial disfigurements. Here, I met Noor.
Noor is a remarkable young man I met on my trip. He had survived Noma and had been left with a significant disfigurement on the left hand side of his face. Unlike many other Noma survivors, twenty-five year old Noor had managed to stay in school and is currently studying Computer Science.
Before his operation we spoke together for some time. His command of English was fairly good and it was clear that he was determined to make a good life for himself despite what had happened to him. He explained to me that he had been told his condition was gangrenous so he had used a computer to research the word and discovered he had Noma. After further research, he found out about the complex surgical missions organised by one of our partners and travelled three days by bus to reach their team in Addis.
Noor had received previous surgery elsewhere when skin from his tongue had been taken to repair his lip and the hole in his face. Unfortunately, the operation had been done poorly and had left him with terrible scar tissue which would be impossible to repair.
Noor’s surgeon explained to me that this is a common problem. Noma survivors are so desperate that they seek help from poorly-qualified doctors or resort to traditional healers. One particular healer is known to use Sulphuric acid to try and ‘cure’ the Noma, with horrific consequences.
Later that morning I was invited into the operating theatre to watch Noor’s surgery. It was called ‘Radial Artery Free Flap’. Two surgeons worked together to cut out the Noma damage and scar tissue around the mouth and replace it with a flap taken from Noor’s arm. The operation took 6 hours, and witnessing it was not for the faint-hearted! But I was fascinated to see the surgeons deftly navigating arteries, tendons and muscles to rebuild Noor’s face with such skill and craftsmanship.
That evening, I returned to the ward to see Noor. Although he was still groggy from the anaesthetic and swollen, he seemed very pleased with the outcome. As I left Noor, I couldn’t help wondering what the future will hold for him. Returning home with a new face will give Noor new confidence and opportunities, and judging by his tenacity and determination to find himself help in the first place, I am sure he will go far.
Noor spent a month receiving post-operative care, before taking the long bus journey home. Just recently we heard that Noor has settled back into his life and is healing well. The operation was a lifechanging success!
Chair of Ethiopiaid UK Board &
Member of Ethiopiaid Ireland Board
If you wish to donate to Noma victims, please click here
Introducing our new Ambassador for Fistula… Natalie Imbruglia!
Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Thursday 9th February 2017
We are delighted to announce that Natalie Imbruglia has agreed to become our Ambassador for obstetric fistula, helping us to raise awareness of this devastating childbirth injury.
Natalie is an Australian-British singer-songwriter, actress, model, and philanthropist. Her charity work is extensive and we are really pleased to have her support for our important work. As an ambassador for Virgin Unite – the charitable arm of the Virgin Group – Natalie supports campaigns to end poverty and to raise awareness for the eradication of obstetric fistula. In 2005, Natalie visited fistula hospitals in Ethiopia and Nigeria with representatives from UNFPA – the United Nations Populations Fund – and Virgin Unite. Deeply moved by the suffering these women endure, she felt she needed to become more involved in the fight against fistula.
"For some people, fistula is a difficult issue to talk about. But that discomfort pales in comparison to what women living with fistula face every day," Imbruglia says. "I don't want to be part of the silence. I want to do everything I can to make a difference in these women's lives." To hear Natalie talk more about obstetric fistula, please watch the video below:
In 2009, along with fistula survivor Sarah Omega Kidangasi, Natalie addressed the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations to call attention to obstetric fistula, a childbirth injury that results in prolonged pain, incontinence, and social exclusion. She spoke to 400 attending ministers, detailing the condition, as well as how treatable it is.
“Obstetric fistula was eliminated here in Europe and the United States more than 100 years ago,” said Imbruglia. “It’s unacceptable that women and girls in developing countries are still suffering from this entirely preventable and treatable condition.”
She has fundraised and lent her voice and energy to ending obstetric fistula. She has contributed to the Department for International Development’s blog, outlining the devastation caused by fistula, as well as its negative impact on developmental progress. To read the full blog, please click here.
Natalie’s work is crucial in terms of raising awareness of the condition. Every minute, a woman dies needlessly in pregnancy or childbirth, and for each of these women, 20-30 women suffer a serious birth injury. Obstetric fistula is a treatable condition, and we cannot let any more women to suffer.
Ethiopiaid’s partners in Ethiopia – Hamlin Fistula, Healing Hands of Joy, and the Women and Health Alliance International – work tirelessly to create lasting change on the ground. Together we aim to make great strides towards eradicating obstetric fistula for good. But we need your help to reach the many thousands still living in isolation and shame and to prevent this happening to more women. Please donate here:
12 Facts You Need to Know about Ethiopia!
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Thursday 19th January 2017
As an NGO that supports work in Ethiopia exclusively, we thought we should share some facts about the very country whose change and progress we are most humbled to be part of! We guarantee you’ll find at least 3 of the following 12 facts interesting (sorry, no refunds!).
#1 Coming in at 4.4 million years, Ardi is the oldest hominid ever to be discovered, followed by Lucy at 3.2 million years old- making Ethiopia the birthplace of Humankind! As an aside, Ardi was discovered by Ethiopian Paleoanthropologist, Yohannes Haile-Selassie., Image: Ardi. Source Wikipedia- Ardi.
#2 Standing tall (literally) at 2,400 metres, or 8,000 feet, Addis Ababa is the highest capital city in Africa and the third highest capital in the world. Image: Bole, Addis Ababa. Source: addisababaonline.com
#3 In the classroom, we’re almost even, boys and girls! In grades 5-8 the ratio of girls to boys is now at 97%, almost 1 girl for every boy in class! Though this number is improving at other grade levels as well, the quality of education has been declining. We know it’s happening, and the government is making efforts to reverse it!, Image: Happy learning at Hope Enterprises in Ethiopia! ©Ethiopiaid
#4 A pillar of strength, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to have been colonized, although this was attempted twice by Italy. However, some delicious Italian influence remains, like macchiatos, pasta and pastries. Image: Statue of the Lion of Judah taken against the Ethiopian National Theatre. A symbol of Ethiopian freedom erected for the coronation of Haile Sellassie I, stolen by the Italians and placed in Rome, in 1935. It was finally returned to Addis Ababa in the 1960s. © Jennifer Naidoo
#5 Here’s a feel-good quote from the World Bank (2016) we think belongs in this list: “Over the past two decades…primary school enrolments have quadrupled, child mortality has been cut in half, and the number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled.” Image: Clean Water in Ethiopia. ©Charity:Water
#6 “13 months of Sunshine”: Ethiopia runs on a 13 month Julian calendar. Today, January 19, 2017 is 11 Tarr, 2009 in Ethiopia. Interesting, right? Image: January 19, 2017 from ethiopiancalendar.net.
#7 Despite early marriage being outlawed, Ethiopia still has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 16% of girls married before the age of 15 and 41% married before the age of 18. We’ll expand on this serious challenge in coming blogs!
#8 The first African ever to win Gold in the Olympic Games was Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila. He ran the race barefoot! Check him out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_Nygi01VqI
#9 While Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world, it was also one of the first countries to sign the Charter of United Nations. Ethiopia is currently home to the Headquarters of the African Union. Image: The African Union HQ in Addis.
#10 Ethiopia’s official language is Amharic. In addition to this, there are 88 individual languages spoken, with English being the main foreign language taught in schools. Image: Map of Ethiopia.
#11 New achievement unlocked: In less than 3 years, Ethiopia has more than doubled the number of health centres in 6 regions of the country. Now, more people than ever have access to healthcare. To keep pushing forward, the country will need to improve the ratio of health professionals to people, consistently provide quality care in all facilities in all regions, and train more doctors.
#12 Finally, the best is of course, last. So most of us know that the origin of our favourite bean (coffee, obviously) comes from Ethiopia, but how was it discovered? Told for generations in Ethiopia, and shared with us the same way, the story goes like this: One day a young Ethiopian herder named Kaldi noticed his goats eating the coffee plant and becoming energized, so he decided to try it. He ate it, but nothing really happened. After trying it in several different ways, he finally roasted it, ground it, and put it in hot water, like tea. This is how coffee, as we know it, was discovered. Coffee shops named after Kaldi can be found all over Addis Ababa, and even in Nairobi, Kenya. I thank my sweet grinds for Kaldi every day! Image: Jebena used for brewing buna (or coffee) in Ethiopia. Source: NatGeo
Special thank you to one of our very own Ethiopian-Canadian volunteers, Eden, who helped research and add to this blog! Also, huge thank you to our volunteer Patricia, for meticuliously editing our work.
- National Geographic. (n.d.). Explorers Bio: Yohannes Haile-Selassie. Retrieved from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/yohannes-haile-selassie/
- Institute of Human Origins. (n.d.). Lucy's Story. Retrieved from https://iho.asu.edu/about/lucys-story
- Marcus, H. G., & Crummey, D. E. (2016, June 30). Britannica Online: Ethiopia. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Ethiopia
- The World Bank: Ethiopia Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview#1
- UNDP. (2014). National Human Development Report 2014: Ethiopia (pp. 1-123, Publication). Addis Ababa, ET. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/nhdr2015-ethiopia-en.pdf
- UNICEF. (2014, November). THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2015: Executive Summary. pp. 90. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SOWC_2015_Summary_and_Tables.pdf
- Abebe Bikila: barefoot to Olympic gold. (2017, January 08). Retrieved from https://www.olympic.org/videos/abebe-bikila-barefoot-to-olympic-gold
- The World Factbook: ETHIOPIA. (2017, January 12). Retrieved January 19, 2017, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html
Survivors of violence find hope in shelters in Ethiopia
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 1st December 2016
Crossposted from UN Women
Photo: Womankind Worldwide/Maheder Tadese
“After I came to this shelter, it was like a new beginning. I am back in school and I am a good student. I want to help other girls who are survivors of violence,” shares Tigist Getachew who lives in the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD), a shelter for survivors of violence located in an unmarked, confidential location in the center of Adama town, Ethiopia.
Tigist, 16, worked as a domestic worker in Chiro town before she came to AWSAD eight months ago. Since her grandmother’s death, she had no one who could give her a home. Tigist was raped by a friend of her employer and the case was reported to the police, who referred her to the AWSAD shelter.
A large proportion of women in Ethiopia have come to accept domestic and sexual violence as an inevitable part of their lives. A national survey in 2011 showed that 41 per cent of Ethiopian women aged 20-24 were married before they reached 18 years of age, and 8 per cent of those aged 15-19 years were married before their 15th birthday . Harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, abduction and early marriages affected 25 per cent of Ethiopian girls . A 2010 survey by the Population Council and UNFPA revealed that 25 percent of Ethiopian women experienced their first sexual experiences under coercion and there is widespread acceptance of violence against women and girls, among both men and women 
This violence is further driven by an acute lack of services for survivors, particularly, shelters that can provide housing, reintegration and rehabilitation support. As a member of the Federal Police Commission explained, “the shelters we have are so few that it is better to say we do not have shelters in this country, given the demand we have.” There are an estimated 12 shelters operating in Ethiopia, hardly enough to respond to the scale of violence faced by women across all regions.
In 2015, UN Women Ethiopia Country Office partnered with the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) to establish the largest shelter in the country in Oromia region, as part of the ‘Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls in Ethiopia’ programme, funded by the Governments of Ireland and Denmark, under UN Women’s flagship programme initiative. With a 50 bed-capacity, the shelter has hosted more than 143 women and their 54 children since May 2015, providing them holistic rehabilitation and reintegration services, including transitional housing, food, medical services, counselling, legal support and professional skills training.
Hiwot Abebaw, also a survivor, shared how the shelter helped her overcome the trauma: “I used to want to be alone all the time when I first came here. But not anymore.” With counselling and support, Abebaw has regained hope and dignity.
“It is not about high numbers but about turning around the lives of these women and girls, in a way that impacts the generations to come,” said Ms. Funmi Balogun, UN Women Deputy Representative in Ethiopia.
Ms. Maria Munir, Executive Director of AWSAD added: “Safe houses take a lot of efforts, from supporting women and girls to build back their self-esteem and providing them with medical and psychosocial support to ensuring that they gain skills to be economically independent and working with the police and health officials to preserve evidence to get justice.” As a critical response mechanism, shelters require adequate and sustained resources.
Ending violence against women needs multi-pronged approaches at different levels. Working with partners and communities, the programme combines prevention, increasing women’s access to justice and providing life-saving services through the shelter. For example, a training of more than 300 religious leaders has led to the prevention of almost 470 child marriages in Gozamen and Sinan districts in Amhara region.
The programme is also building the capacity of police officers, prosecutors, judges and community leaders to ensure an effective investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cases. Following successful collaboration between UN Women and the Ethiopian Government, the Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia has committed to register data on violence every five years.
 Central Statistical Agency [Ethiopia]. Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, 2011.
 UNFPA and Population Council (2010), Ethiopia Gender Survey: A Study in Seven Regions, Population Council In
Join the Ethiopiaid team!
Posted by Liam on Monday 21st November 2016
Ethiopiaid are seeking an accomplished and enthusiastic individual to manage our Irish operations. This is a broad role and the successful candidate will have strong leadership and organisational skills, in addition to having the ability to work on a small team of 2 people on a daily basis. The role is hands on and will include processing data, donations and managing the appeals through to completion.
The candidate is expected to work with a variety of stakeholders including the board of directors, directors of partner organisations in Ethiopia and colleagues in the UK, Australia, and Canada as well as demonstrate excellent project management and communication skills to ensure the successful completion of a wide range of tasks.
There is scope for innovation, with a supportive and engaged board of directors and a new strategic plan for 2017-2020 identifying areas for growth and opportunities to shape the organisation’s future.
The ideal candidate will have a minimum of two years demonstrable experience in at least two of the following fundraising specialisms:
Trusts and foundations
The role is an excellent opportunity for an ambitious candidate to make a significant impact on a well-established charity that has potential for growth and expansion over the next few years.
The role may also suit an experienced candidate looking for new challenges in the charity sector where the hours could be customised on a mutually agreeable basis.
Working knowledge of database products such as Raisers Edge would be an advantage.
*Applications are now closed.
Congratulations to Kalkidan and Bezawit!
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 10th November 2016
Kalkidan Getu and Bezawit Gebeyehu, long-time residents of the safe house of our partner AWSAD, recently graduated from university.
Kalkidan, 23, who was only 14 when she joined AWSAD shelter, graduated from Gondar University in Ethiopia with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. Beza, 23, first came to AWSAD five years ago, and attended primary and secondary education while living in the AWSAD Addis Ababa safe house. She graduated as a Teacher from Kotebe College of Teacher Education. Kalkidan is now doing an apprenticeship in her area while Beza has secured a job as a teacher.
Throughout their studies, both women continued to receive support from us and our partner AWSAD in the form of supplies, a small stipend and accommodation for two months during the end of each academic year, during this time they volunteered at AWSAD helping both in the office and assisting hospitalised residents and new mothers at the safe house.
Kalkidan and Beza are a part of AWSAD’s family and a reflection of the amazing work our partners do. Some of AWSAD staff members travelled to their graduations and held a celebration party for them at AWSAD Addis Ababa afterwards.
Beza and Kalkidan at the party at AWSAD Kalkidan and some of AWSAD staff members
On behalf of everyone at Ethiopiaid we extend a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to Kalkidan and Beza!
Learn more about AWSAD's work here: http://www.ethiopiaid.ie/our-work/womens-welfare.
Off the Plane Letter by Board Member Alex Chapman
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 2nd November 2016
I have recently arrived from a field visit to Ethiopia which I wanted to share with you. As you may have heard on the news there has been civil unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country and the Ethiopian government has announced a 6-month State of Emergency. Luckily, none of our partners have been directly affected but they are monitoring developments carefully and are concerned for the safety of their staff and beneficiaries. In one of Hope Enterprises schools in Roggie, the parents have come together and are taking it in turns to guard the school to ensure their children’s education is not disrupted. My thoughts are with them and all the people of Ethiopia at this time and I hope that calm and stability will be restored.
Part of the reason of my trip was to see how our partners are faring since the drought and how they have utilised the funding provided by Ethiopiaid’s generous supporters like yourselves. I was heartened to hear that the recent rains that finished in mid-September have been the best in 10 years. However, the crisis is by no means over. Now, there is an outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhoea which is waterborne and spreading rapidly in some areas of the country. The protracted drought means that people are very susceptible as their immune systems have been weakened by malnutrition. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children are particularly vulnerable. There have been over a hundred deaths already and the disease has spread to 4 districts. In Ethiopiaid we are doing everything possible to continue supporting them through this ongoing crisis.
I was lucky that my visit to Ethiopia coincided with our partner Facing Africa’s biannual surgical mission. Volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses from the UK and Ireland had come out to Addis Ababa to operate on victims of Noma and other severe facial disfigurements. You may have read about Noma in our newsletters. The word ‘Noma’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘devour’. It is a gangrenous infection that literally devours the face. It starts in one corner or the mouth and burrows down eating through bone, muscle and skin. 80% of victims die in the first two weeks. Those that survive, the so called ‘lucky’ ones, have to live with the most terrible facial disfigurement often hiding away from the public gaze becoming isolated from society. It is a disease of poverty attacking children who are malnourished and have weak immune systems often coming in the wake of other illnesses like measles or malaria. In the developed world it can be easily treated with antibiotics but in remote parts of Ethiopia there is no such medical assistance and within a day of contracting Noma a child will be severely dehydrated and will then go on to develop pneumonia and most likely die. As one of the doctors said to me, “Noma is a dark disease lurking in dark places and comes out during times of famine, pestilence and extreme poverty.”
I accompanied the Facing Africa doctors on their morning ward round. I met Noor, a 25 year old man from near Khartoum in Sudan. He had a significant Noma scar on the right-hand side of his face. Noor had a remarkable story as unlike many Noma victims he had managed to get an education in Sudan and had studied Computer Science. His English was fairly good and he explained to me that he had been told his condition was gangrenous so he had used a computer to google the word and had discovered he had Noma. He had then done further research and had found out that there are only two places in Africa you can get surgical treatment for Noma, Nigeria and Ethiopia. As Nigeria was too far he wrote to the Facing Africa team to plead his case and they agreed to see him in Ethiopia. He had travelled three days by bus to meet them.
The Facing Africa surgeon explained to me that Noor had received previous surgery in Sudan where they had taken some skin from his tongue to repair his lip and the hole in his face. But it was a botched operation that had left him with terrible scar tissue which would be impossible to repair. Apparently this is a common problem. People with Noma are so desperate that they accept help from poorly qualified doctors or resort to traditional healers. One particular healer is known to use Sulphuric acid to try and ‘cure’ the Noma with horrific consequences.
Later in the morning I was invited in to the operating theatre to witness Noor’s surgery. The two surgeons worked together to cut out the Noma damage and scar tissue around the mouth and replace it with a flap taken from Noor’s arm. The operation took 6 hours and witnessing it was not for the fainthearted! But I was fascinated to see the surgeons deftly navigating arteries, tendons and muscles to rebuild Noor’s face with such skill and craftsmanship. That evening I returned to the ward to see Noor after he had come round from the anaesthetic. Although he was still groggy and swollen he seemed very pleased with the outcome. He will now spend a month receiving post operative care before taking the long bus journey home. As I left Noor, I couldn’t help wondering what the future will hold for him. Returning home with a new face he will be a fully functioning and successful member of society and judging by his tenacity and determination to find himself help in the first place I am sure he will go far.
I feel incredibly privileged to be Chair of Ethiopiaid UK and a Board member of Ethiopiaid Ireland, and to witness firsthand the inspiring work that our partners carry out in Ethiopia often in the most challenging of circumstances. It is an honour to meet inspiring people like Noor and the Facing Africa surgeons. But none of this work would be possible without the kindness and generosity of our donors like you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope that you will continue to support Ethiopiaid for many years to come. It is through partnership and long term support that we can truly make a difference.
Chair of Ethiopiaid UK Board &
Member of Ethiopiaid Ireland Board
14th October 2016
Chair of Ethiopiaid UK Board &
Member of Ethiopiaid Ireland Board
Great Ethiopian Run - Ethiopiaid Trip 2016
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Earlier this year we asked some of our incredible supporters to join us in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the Great Ethiopian Run in November 2016 and volunteer with some of our amazing local partners. 4 of them signed up and started fundraising on behalf of Ethiopiaid and the project of their choice.
However, as we shared with you before, on the 8th of October 2016 the Ethiopian government declared a six-month national State of Emergency as a result of civil unrest and anti-government protests in the regions surrounding Addis Ababa. After much debate with the Ethiopiaid board and having been in consultation with the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia, our Ethiopian partners, our sister offices in Australia, the UK and Canada, our insurance agency, and other larger NGOs who were planning to participate in the GER, it was with great sadness that a decision was made to cancel this year’s trip.
Whilst Addis Ababa itself is, at the moment, considered fairly safe to visit, large gatherings and travel outside of Addis Ababa's city limits pose a risk. The GER organisers are still planning to go ahead with the race, but with 40,000 people expected to take part it is considered a significant gathering and a high profile event.
Our supporters have all worked extremely hard raising funds (with some even breaking their targets!) and preparing for the trip and obviously this is disappointing for everyone involve. Their safety is however our primary concern and after consulting with them we have decided to reschedule the trip for the GER 2017. All the funds that have been raised will still go to our partners and we will cover the costs of altering flights and accommodation that we have booked.
Special thanks to Angela, Miguel, Katie and Harriet for being amazingly committed to our cause! The adventure still awaits for us.
Now, our top priority is to ensure that our partners can continue their important work in the current climate. The State of Emergency does put extra strain on our partners who already work in difficult circumstances. The fantastic work that our partners do is continuing in spite of the restrictions, and we will continue to update you on the situation.
If you have any questions please drop us a line: email@example.com
Eradication of Poverty Day
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 17th October 2016
Today (17th October) marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
According to UN statistics nearly half the world’s population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less than $2 a day. 80% of the Ethiopian population falls within this figure. Furthermore, just under 1 billion people on the planet go to bed hungry every night, a direct result of poverty. The largest segment of the world's poor are the women, children and men who live in rural environments.
Our vision is an Ethiopia free from poverty and that’s why in Ethiopiaid we are working to contribute in the achievement of the Global Goals that look to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years: End extreme poverty, Fight inequality & injustice, and Fix climate change; with our main focus on those of particular interest for our work in Ethiopia.
One of the targets of Global Goal 1 (End Poverty) is to ensure that by 2030, all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services.
What are we doing to achieve this?
Ethiopiaid and our Ethiopian partners are tackling the issues of hunger and lack of access to education and health:
Hunger and Education: Since 2002, Ethiopiaid has worked with HOPE Enterprises to feed and school thousands of street children who are rounded up from doorways, bus stations and derelict hovels. Hope has established a scheme that provides the most disadvantaged children in Ethiopia with quality education and training. You can learn more about it here.
Access to Health: The Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Facing Africa and Cheshire Services focus on providing access to different medical treatments for those less fortunate. The Hamlin Fistula Hospital focus on maternal healthcare and the safety of childbirth in order to avoid obstetric fistulas. Facing Africa prevents and treats people living with Noma (an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection that predominantly attacks children whose immune systems have been weakened by malnutrition) and other facial disfigurements. Cheshire Services works with people affected by disabilities such as club foot, cerebral palsy and cognitive impairments. Cheshire looks to enhance the social functioning of persons living with disabilities in Ethiopia.
To learn more about any of these projects click here.
All of this is possible thanks to the amazing support of our donors and the tireless work of our partners.
Join us! And lets #EndPoverty.
Best Will Week 2016 - Remember a Charity!
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 17th October 2016
National 'Best Will Week 2016' commences on Monday 31st October and we hope that you will consider remembering Ethiopiaid in your Will.
Legacies make a significant impact by helping us to continue our local Ethiopian partnerships, engage with new organisations and make a difference to people living in poverty and isolation. Every legacy, big or small, can change lives for the better.
A gift in your Will is a wonderful thing -it costs you nothing in your lifetime and promises tomorrow's generation of Ethiopians a better life.
Your legacy would enable Ethiopiaid to support more communities to work themselves out of poverty and have hope for the future.
Making your Will, or updating it, is easy and the best way to take care of the people closest to you after you have gone. Your Will helps you to clearly set out your wishes and to make proper provisions for those you love.
Once family and friends have been properly provided for, we hope that you will consider including a gift to the people of Ethiopia. Should you decide to remember Ethiopiaid in your Will -or if you have already done so, it would really helps us if you could let us know.
Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to talk to someone in confidence by calling 01 677 5188 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
State of Emergency in Ethiopia
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 10th October 2016
The Ethiopian government has declared a six-month national State of Emergency effective from 8th October. This is due to civil unrest and anti government protests in the regions surrounding Addis Ababa, primarily involving the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups clashing initially on issues of land rights. This is the first state of emergency declared in 25 years.
Ethiopiaid's top priority is to ensure that our partners can continue their important work in the current climate. The state of emergency does put extra strain on our partners who already work in difficult circumstances. The fantastic work that our partners do is continuing in spite of the restrictions, and we will continue to update our supporters on the situation.
Ethiopiaid, 10th October 2016
Feed a child’s ambition this Autumn
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 19th September 2016
As a mum, I know that getting ready for the new school year is an essential part of any family’s calendar. New uniform, stationery, shoes and bags help our children feel prepared for their September start and mark an end to the summer holidays. For many families in Ireland, the only choice we face for feeding our children at school is whether they have school dinners or a packed lunch. Impoverished children in Ethiopia simply do not have the luxury of a choice.
I would like to tell you about 10 year old Tirualem –a young girl who is a student at one of the schools run by our local partner, HOPE Enterprises. Tirualem’s father died when she was two, and her mother struggles to provide for her four children’s basic needs, which includes sending her daughter to school with lunch. Most of the time Tirualem’s friends would share their food with her, however when they weren’t able to come to school she faced the day’s classes with an empty stomach. Tirualem’s severe hunger clouded her mind and affected her concentration as she struggled to listen to her teachers and complete her work.
Thanks to supporters like you, Tirualem has benefitted from a new school feeding project that was piloted last September in her school. Now she receives a daily lunchtime sandwich, which staves off hunger and enables her to concentrate in the afternoon. During a recent visit to Ethiopia, Tirualem told us: “The programme helps me, and now I do not get hungry. I can also pay attention to my teachers.” Tirualem has a great hunger for learning. It has helped to keep her in school, and she recently finished her term 5th highest out of her class of 56 students. Without Ethiopiaid’s vital intervention, girls like Tirualem would have to drop out of school and watch their dreams for the future fade away.
Sadly, her story isn't unique.
The challenges facing children who want to go to school are high. 80% of Ethiopian people survive on less than $2 a day, which means there is no money for food, shoes, school books or fees. According to UNICEF, only 10% of girls in Ethiopia are in school. On average, an educated Ethiopian child will only go to school for 7 years and only 52% will complete primary school (World Bank statistics). That is why we need your help.
Thanks to your support, the ambition of students like Tirualem don’t need to be drowned out by the sounds of rumbling stomachs, or blurred by the tiredness that comes from a lack of food or sickness. Help us to reach out to more hungry school children.
As parents and grandparents, we are full of hope at the beginning of a new school year. That hope is part of the universal language of parenting because all children deserve the opportunity to feed and nurture their own ambitions.
It’s because of you that children like Tirualem are able to concentrate in school. Tirualem is immensely grateful to all those sponsors who made it possible for her to get food at all. “The food support really helps. I hope it will continue next year. It would be great, if possible, to have two meals per day.”
Last year we helped to support over 800 vulnerable children to stay in school by providing them with a nutritious meal every day to improve their well-being and help them to fulfill their potential. So please, do something wonderful today for school children and consider a gift of €50. Help us to feed their stomachs, so that together we can feed their ambition –empowering young people to change their own lives, and those of their future children.
As ever, I am grateful for your kind support of Ethiopiaid, and I hope you will feel able to join me in helping more children like Tirualem.
International Youth Day
Posted by Natacha Soto on Friday 12th August 2016
For International Youth Day (12th August) I’d like to tell you a little bit about our partner HOPE Enterprises. HOPE has been transforming the lives of young children in Ethiopia since 1971, ever since Jack and Evangel Smith opened their home, and hearts, to twenty street children offering them basic needs, schooling and skill training. When the Smiths left Ethiopia, local people continued their work and now employ nearly 400 staff and run feeding programmes for up to 4,000 students.
In 2002 Ethiopiaid and HOPE joined forces and since then have worked together to feed and school thousands of street children who are rounded up from doorways, bus stations, and derelict hovels.
One of the kids that Ethiopiaid and HOPE have helped is Tamrat. Tamrat started going to HOPE School when he was 5 years old and thanks to his love of learning, now 18, Tamrat has enrolled in the General Metal and Fabrication Assembly course at HOPE Enterprises. He says that the best part of the course is its high chance of employability and shared that: “For future students I recommend this field of education”.
Tamrat wants to work in a self-help business group when he completes the two-year course –he has a group of 5 friends who want to do this too. They plan to finance the enterprise by linking with a microfinance scheme.
The challenges facing children who want to go to school are high. 80% of Ethiopian people survive on less than $2 a day, which means there is no money for food, shoes, school books or fees. On average, an educated Ethiopian child will only go to school for 7 years and only 52% will complete primary school (World Bank statistics).
That is why we need your help. Thanks to your support, the ambition of students like Tamrat can be develop.
Help us to reach out to more children and brighten their future!
Midwives Day and International Day to End Obstetric Fistula
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 27th June 2016
Every 5th and 23rd May mark International Midwives Day and International Day to End Obstetric Fistula respectively. Your donations and support to Ethiopiaid make possible the treatment of fistula and the training of midwives so they can reach remote communities in Ethiopia to provide labour and delivery services, ante-natal and post-natal care, and much more. In fact, thanks to YOU in 2015 over 1,100 babies were safely delivered by newly trained midwives. For the celebrations of Midwives Week, midwifery students from Dundalk Institute of Technology held a Skype call with our students from the Hamlin College of Midwives. After this encounter Donna from DkIT decided to write this piece:
To Addis Ababa with love
When you hear ‘Ethiopia’, it may conjure up images of a country which has been economically and politically challenged for far too long or perhaps you have visions of a faraway exotic, sunny land; filled with colour, culture and smiling faces. Both images would be accurate. The image you wouldn’t necessarily conjure up is a room in DkIT, filled with student midwives, lecturers, the School Management Team and Clinical partners from affiliated hospitals, all gathered around a webcam and talking to some of our contemporaries in that faraway land. Yet, thanks to technology, that is exactly what we have witnessed.
The Section of Midwifery in DkIT celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, therefore it was fitting that during International Midwives Week we acknowledged this proud achievement. Perhaps more fitting was that we shared this special birthday with a midwifery school in Ethiopia as the Hamlin College of Midwives, based in the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, was also celebrating its 10th anniversary.
For those of you who may not know about the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, it is a story worth hearing and a tale worth telling. It was founded by an Australian couple; Dr. Reg Hamlin OBE and Dr. Catherine Hamlin AC in 1974. They had travelled to Ethiopia to train midwives when they discovered the terrible plight of the country’s fistula patients. We as midwives have learned about fistulas in the course of our studies, however, it is something we rarely encounter due to access to health care and health professionals in Ireland. If I didn’t feel appreciative of something I may have taken for granted before, I certainly did after hearing from the midwifery team who engaged with us today about the horrific struggles so many women in Ethiopia face.
“These women have suffered more than any woman should be called upon to endure. To meet only one is to be profoundly moved and calls forth the utmost compassion that the human heart is capable of feeling.” (Dr. Catherine Hamlin AC)
The vast majority of Ethiopian women have homebirths. However, their homebirths are not the serene, birth pool, midwife attended version we have here in Ireland. No, these homebirths are a harsh reality, without choice for most of these women, due to a lack of resources and infrastructure and the support of a midwife. It is a country with a population of nearly 100 million where only 9-10% of women have access to assisted births. Should there be an obstructed labour, the results can be devastating, with women left labouring for days without professional help. Their babies do not survive. 9000 women die each year during obstructed labour. A further 9000 will survive but due to severe soft tissue damage sustained from their prolonged labours, they will survive with fistulas. A fistula is a medical condition in which a fistula (hole) develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina after severe or failed childbirth, resulting in incontinence. The aftermath of their labours involve severe morbidity, becoming bedridden for weeks and months. It is a dire situation, further exasperated by the stigma and social isolation the women are faced with due to their incontinence. The misconceptions held around their conditions oftentimes leave them ostracised by their families and communities and the women find themselves injured, traumatised and alone. They are both physically and psychologically damaged.
“I thought I was the only one with this terrible problem. Since I gave birth to a dead baby boy I have leaked urine constantly. It has eaten away at the skin. The pain is terrible but the shame is much worse. When I came here, I could not believe my eyes, the whole world is here. So many other girls suffering in the same way. This is the first time I have been able to smile since the baby was born.” (Hamlin Fistula Hospital patient).
Hamlin Fistula Hospital is an oasis in a land of misery for the women lucky enough to make their way there; usually walking for days. The staff there take a holistic approach to each of the women they treat; recognising both their surgical and psychological needs and individualising their care accordingly. The women are taught skills; crafting necklaces and baskets, which allows them to make their own money for the first time in their lives. Most importantly, they are given hope. In the words of the hospital’s Medical Director Dr. Fekeda; “This is something that can happen anywhere in the world, but what makes the difference is having someone that is skilled enough to recognise the problems and help”. That help includes midwives and so, Hamlin Midwives College was born, ten years ago - just like us, but not like us at all in so many ways. The work they do is inspirational, however this blog would become a novel if I wrote about all the good they do. If this story sounds like one you would like to read more about, please do so here.
Closing words were delivered by Harriet Andrews, Careers Officer with DkIT and Board Member of Ethiopiaid, the driving force behind this newfound relationship. She, her husband and children have very strong ties with Ethiopia and Hamlin College of Midwives, having spent a lot of time working and living in the hospital. Her words, perhaps, best sum it up: “We have so much to learn from each other”. We look forward to continuing with that learning and building on the relationship we’ve seen begin today.
After we bade adieu to our new friends in Addis Ababa, we did what all good midwives do: Drank tea, ate cake and had a natter! Happy Birthday to both midwifery schools - here’s to the next ten!
Year 2 BSc (Hons) in Midwifery, DkIT
Harriet Andrews and two midwifery students will be travelling with the Ethiopiaid team to Addis Ababa to do the Great Ethiopian Run in November in aid of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital. This will be a great opportunity for the students to see some of the projects supported for Ethiopiaid first hand and to grow the relationship between the Irish and the Ethiopian students.
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2016 - HOPE Enterprises
Posted by Liam on Monday 21st March 2016
During my visit to HOPE Enterprises this morning I heard of children fainting in class from hunger, grades being affected and children being pulled out of school as they needed to work to support their families. Nearly half of Ethiopia’s 90million population are children, so the country’s success rests upon the success of this new generation coming through. HOPE’s Executive Director, Dr Lemma, spoke of the need for a ‘holistic’ approach to educating Ethiopia’s children, and this is something I will come back to later. But I want to start at the beginning.
A good breakfast is a great way to start the day, and HOPE Enterprises ensure that over 800 children go to school on a full stomach. The Street Children’s Breakfast has two sittings each morning, and provides bread, banana and milk. Gashaw oversees the breakfast six days a week, and to a raucous background of children eating and playing, he explained to me that going to school having eaten is such an important factor in a child’s success. He had an easy smile and good rapport with the children who seemed to love the organised chaos around them. ‘For some of these children this will be their only meal of the day’ Gashaw said. The contrast between the children’s horseplay, the constant demand for high fives and shouts of ciao! and the challenges that they face was difficult to process. Some of these children wouldn’t even have the opportunity to attend school at all. The breakfast is part of HOPE’s ‘basic necessity’ programme, and is the first part of the ‘holistic’ approach.
HOPE also have seven schools in six regions across Ethiopia, and aim to equip students with practical skills that lead to employment. The Addis Ababa Branch Manager, Biruktawit Bogale, gave me a tour of a school. She smiled often and amid more demands for high fives and shouts of ciao! from the students, she explained how HOPE works. There were nearly 4,500 students at HOPE schools in Ethiopia, from kindergarten up to 18. There is such a high demand for the subsidised spaces that HOPE have to liaise with the local authority and identify the most needy. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this on my trip, and only further highlights just how much demand there is for these types of services.
I had a chance to meet some of the younger students and their parents. Tsion is 11 and wants to be a doctor. She’s an only child and is the shyest child I have ever met. I did manage to find out that her favourite subject is maths and that she loves subtraction and multiplication. Her mother, Genet, was much more talkative. She’s a member of a self-help group made up of 11 women that is part of a HOPE programme to support the families of their students. I wondered what it was she thought about the education that Tsion was getting at HOPE. ‘I’m glad. With access to education Tsion can become whatever she wants’ she said. She smiled at Tsion and for a moment all the shyness seemed to melt away and a little chuckle came from the youngster.
To ensure that students have the best chance possible of finding work, the school offers vocational training in skills that are in high demand. The TVET vocational training programme focuses on metal fabrication, industrial electronic machines, furniture making, hotel kitchen operation and hospitality. These two year courses have a fantastic success rate, with 99.04% of students passing the national exams. Hailmichael is 18 and has been with HOPE since kindergarten, and is a living testament to the HOPE approach. He’s studying industrial mechanics and has plans to go on to study engineering. He plans to do this by working during the day and studying at night school. His mother is alone in supporting Hailmichael and his two siblings, an older and younger brother. When asked about what made him want to continue his studies, he explained ‘I don’t want my mother to worry anymore.’
Dr Lemma spoke about the need for a ‘holistic’ solution. There is an understanding at HOPE Enterprises of the need to not only educate their students, but also to develop them, support them and their families. The school’s form part of this process, as do the regular street children’s breakfasts and family support groups. For Ethiopia to succeed, everyone has to have the opportunity to succeed. HOPE Enterprises are working to make sure that happens.
To learn more about the work HOPE does please follow this link. If you wish to make a donation click here.
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2016 - Cheshire Services
Posted by Liam on Thursday 17th March 2016
While I was at Cheshire I met Alaza, aged one and a half as he was having his weekly physiotherapy.
Alaza was born with spinobifida and his movement was very limited and painful. Since he was 3 months old, he has been coming with his mother to Cheshire Services to undertake physiotherapy and medical assessment.His physiotherapist is called Hiwot (which means 'life renewed').
Whilst we were there, we watched as Hiwot carried out sensation tests (putting gentle pressure on his legs and soles of his feet with her fingers), strength tests (holding out a toy infront of him and encouraging him to reach out with alternate hands to grab it), resistance tests (getting him on all fours and encouraging him to push back on her hands with his lower back and legs).
They are confident that, with continued therapy, and the aid of walking devices such as crutches (if necessary) Alaza will be able to lead a relatively normal and healthy way of life.
To learn more about the work Cheshire Services does please follow this link. If you wish to make a donation click here.
Ethiopiaid Monitoring Trip Diary 2016 - AWSAD
Posted by Liam on Wednesday 16th March 2016
I’ve just returned from visiting our partner the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) in Addis Ababa. Set up in 2003 by the incredible Maria Munir, a former Ethiopian High Court judge, AWSAD tackles the issues of gender based violence (GBV) and abuse head on. For all the fantastic progress that Ethiopia has made in its recent history, GBV is still a problem for the women and girls of the country. AWSAD have three safe houses in Ethiopia, safe spaces where women and girls are provided with the psycho-social support that they need to survive their traumatic experiences.
The safe house in Addis is alive with noise and colour, with young children laughing and music playing. Dancing seems to be a common occurrence judging by how good the residents were at it, with my own skills being put to shame! All this colour and joviality is testament to the impact that AWSAD is having on these young women’s lives. Each and every girl with a space in the safe house is only here because she has suffered an unimaginable trauma. The harsh reality is that many of the girls here have been subjected to a level of violence and abuse that is difficult to comprehend. In some cases, girls are referred to AWSAD pregnant, conceived by rape. A young girl, a resident in the Addis safe house, has been left paralysed such was the ferocity and viciousness of her attack. It was hard to reconcile these facts with the smiling faces that greeted me in the compound, and the playful shouts and shrieks from the children who, like all kids, saw the adults were distracted and took the opportunity to run riot.
We were treated to a lively and traditional coffee ceremony, served (very strong!) coffee, freshly baked bread and popcorn before the dancing began. The ceremony is a symbol of the welcoming nature of Ethiopia, but here it also served another purpose. Part of AWSAD’s programme is to provide skills training to the residents, and food preparation and service is a part of this effort to build the capacity of residents so that when they leave they have a route to self-sufficiency and financial independence. On site we were also shown the beauty salon, where residents were taught hairdressing and beauty therapies. There was also a classroom where younger residents were taught basic reading, writing and arithmetic.
I asked Maria what made AWSAD such a unique and special organisation. “We focus on all aspects of the problem”, she said. “The victims, the criminals, the government and authorities. Everything. We provide the counselling and the skills training to the residents, consult with the community, and also help improve the capacity of the authorities”. This last point is crucial. In 2015 AWSAD provided counselling training to 146 police officers. These police officers will often be the first point of contact for a girl who has been subjected to a violent attack, and can have a profound impact on a girl’s ability to recover from trauma. AWSAD are also trialling a programme in prisons, providing training to prison counsellors working with perpetrators of GBV to improve rehabilitation. Although it is too early to tell how effective this programme is, it is indicative of AWSAD’s holistic approach to the issue of GBV and demonstrates just how clearly they understand the issues facing the women and girls of Ethiopia.
At the end of my visit I spoke with Ezu, an 18-year-old girl who had gone through the AWSAD safe house and was now back living in her community with her 16-month old baby. I asked her what AWSAD had meant to her, and how it had affected her life. “I feel like I have been given a new life” she said. “I feel like have been born again”.
This is the first of several reports I’ll be sharing after each partner visit while in Ethiopia. To learn more about the work AWSAD does please follow this link. If you wish to make a donation click here.
Notes on the Ethiopian Drought
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 3rd March 2016
During her visit to Ethiopia in February, Ethiopiaid Board member Alex Chapman was updated by a number of agencies working on the ground and had this to say about the current situation in the country due to drought:
The worst affected areas are in the east of the country. The pastoralists were hit very hard from July 2015 onwards and at least half million animals died during this month. As the situation wasn't considered an emergency at this time, pastoralists delayed the sale of their livestock meaning that when they eventually took their animals to market the prices had dropped (an animal worth Birr 2,000 was now worth Birr 200).
The Ethiopian government did an assessment on the situation in August 2015 and appealed to the international community for aid. Since then, the government have put $381 million towards the crisis but they estimate they need $1.4 billion.
During December 2015 alone, the Ethiopian government bought 2 million metric tonnes of food on the global commodity market causing the prices to go up.
In January 2016, a roundtable with the UN, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors was held to call for more funds. USAID pledged $97 million and Japan pledged $27 million. Still more is needed and these funds will take 2 to 3 months to come through and then they will have to buy food on the global market.
For this reason individual donors are considered more valuable than institutional donors as it is a more rapid response. $1 now from an individual is worth the same as $10 of institutional funding because of the time it takes to monetise the pledge.
In the drought affected areas small scale farmers are producing 50% less yield. There is an over dependency on rain fed agriculture and the soil is poor quality and so thin it gets blown away. Months have passed and there is still no regular water supply. There is no way for the population to recover until the end of 2016 and that is if the rains don’t fail again.
Agencies on the ground are seeing malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding mothers which is a very worrying sign. Malnourished children in a drought situation are more common but malnourished pregnant women is deeply concerning.
Unfortunately, because of a number of international crises, such as the refugee crisis in Europe, response to the situation in Ethiopia has been slow. A big commitment is needed by March/April as the situation is going to worsen and peak around August/September. There is not going to be enough food in the country to feed everyone and food prices are going to spike which will affect the poor.
Other knock on effects of the drought will include: more internally displaced people, more migration to the cities in search of work, more children dropping out of school to earn money and supplement the family’s income and an increase in traditional practices like child marriage as families struggle to survive.
Every donation counts, it doesn’t matter how big or small, please donate now
Ticking Clock on Ethiopia Drought
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 11th February 2016
The international community has just three weeks to provide $245 million in emergency food aid to help prevent a potentially catastrophic escalation in severe acute malnutrition cases in drought-afflicted parts of Ethiopia from the end of April when the main 'hungry season' begins. This drought is affecting communities throughout the Horn of Africa, from Somalia to Eritrea, Save the Children says.
Ethiopia continues to endure the devastating impacts of its worst drought in 50 years, which has already left a staggering 10.2 million people in need of emergency food assistance, including 6 million children. More than 400,000 children will need urgent supplementary feeding for severe acute malnutrition this year - a condition that can lead to physical stunting and mental development delays. Additionally, at least 1.7 million children and pregnant and lactating women are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, and are at risk of sliding into further crisis if the food pipeline breaks down.
"In 2016, when we have all the right systems in place to prevent a massive humanitarian disaster, it would be absolutely unforgivable if the international community failed to act. We all said 'never again' after the tragedy of 1984, and again after the famine in Somalia in 2011 – so now is crunch time and we must all step up before it's too late."
Despite early warnings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for urgent support has not been met. Currently, the combined Ethiopian Government and UN Appeal for $1.4 billion to combat the impact of the drought remains less than half funded.
To read the full story visit Save the Children website
To donate, click here
Hunger crisis in Ethiopia worsens amid drought
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 8th February 2016
First Steps at Cheshire Services
Posted by Liam on Monday 8th February 2016
Ethiopiaid Board member Alex Chapman recently visited our partner Cheshire Services. Cheshire help Ethiopians who are affected by disabilities through rehabilitation, community outreach, mobility aids and a range of much needed services. You can read more about them here. Here's what Alex had to say about her visit:
I have just visited the Cheshire Reed House paediatric centre in Addis Ababa funded by Ethiopiaid. The centre supports children with cerebral palsy and gives physiotherapy treatment and occupational therapy. Often people with disabilities are the most marginalised and vulnerable in countries like Ethiopia so it was inspiring and heartening to see the dedication of the staff at Cheshire Services.
I met one mother, Zewdnesh Germew, who had two disabled children - one with polio who uses a wheelchair and another with cerebral palsy who is receiving physiotherapy and learning to walk with an aid (see video). It was very moving witnessing him taking his first steps age 11 years. He couldn't stop smiling!
Zwednesh's husband died and she has 2 other children as well so she carries the burden of the whole family. She told me she was so grateful for the support she gets from Cheshire and she doesn't know how she could cope without them. I felt extremely impressed by the service Cheshire is providing and proud that Ethiopiaid supports their work. Thanks to the generosity of our donors families like Zewdnesh's are given the help they so desperately need.
Drought update - Millions at risk in Ethiopia
Posted by Natacha Soto on Tuesday 26th January 2016
According to the Independent and the Irish Examiner millions are at risk as Ethiopia reels from deadly drought. There is serious concern for the most vulnerable people – in particular newborns and their mothers.
The drought will leave millions of people in need of food aid after two consecutive failed rains, the last one triggered by El Niño which hit the globe last June.
One-tenth of Ethiopians (about 10.2 million people) cannot feed themselves because their crops and animals have died despite strong economic growth and development gains over the last decade. The drought has prompted fears of a repeat of the devastating famine in 1984, when nearly 1 million people died.
It is expected that more than 2.5 million children willl drop out of school due to the drought this year.
Join the team! - Looking for Volunteer Board Members
Posted by Liam on Wednesday 20th January 2016
About the volunteer role:
We are ideally looking for board members with fundraising/marketing experience. As a board member you will attend quarterly board meetings (usually at lunch time, in central Dublin or via conference call) and will contribute your time to Ethiopiaid for a few hours a month at other times.
This is a voluntary role which presents an opportunity for the successful candidate to develop their skills in governance and other areas as part of their career development strategy. Joining the board of Ethiopiaid is also an opportunity to give something back to society.
As a board member you will bring your own expertise to the benefit of Ethiopiaid, and help to guide the organisation through its evolution.
About the candidate:
The ideal candidate will be a dynamic person, a team player with:
• Experience of successful charity fundraising or marketing.
• A history of involvement in non-profit organisations.
• A desire to improve the lives of millions in Ethiopia.
*This role is now closed.
Great Ethiopian Run 2016
Posted by Natacha Soto on Wednesday 20th January 2016
New Year, New Adventure - Join us in Ethiopia!
Are you looking to challenge yourself this year, raise money for charity and to see the work you support through Ethiopiaid?
We have a trip for you which covers all of this and more!
These are exciting times for Ethiopiaid as the organisation starts to grow. We have lots of goals for 2016 and we are delighted to be taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run 2016 for the very first time and really look forward to you coming with us.
Call for interest – This November, Ethiopiaid will be running a donor trip to Addis Ababa, offering you the once in a lifetime chance to visit and volunteer at the charities you help us to fund - giving you the opportunity to see the difference you make first-hand. During your visit you will also take part in the Great Ethiopian Run 2016. This 10km run through the streets of Addis Ababa is like no other. You can walk, run or jog (and of course sing and dance!) with 40,000 other participants from around the world, so despite the altitude and heat, it really is an achievable challenge for everyone, and an experience that you’ll never forget!
The trip will take place between the 15th and 20th November 2016 and you will need to commit to fundraising €3,500 (inclusive of flights and an upfront deposit of €350).
Spaces are limited so it will be first come first served.
This really is a once in a lifetime experience –so join us to make 2016 the year you went on an adventure!
*The spaces have been filled.
Thanks for the support in 2015
Posted by Liam on Wednesday 20th January 2016
2015 was a good year for Ethiopiaid thanks to YOU!
Thank you for believing in the work we do and for supporting the lives of thousands of Ethiopians.
2015 was a busy year for Ethiopiaid, as we continued the amazing work that you enable us to do. During 2015 you helped us to work closely with 6 partners in Ethiopia and the results were amazing:
At AWSAD, over 419 women and their children were provided a safe house, counselling, medical services and legal aid.
At FSCE, 28 girls attended a safe house where they received skills training, education and a safe environment.
At Facing Africa, you helped to fund 2 surgical missions to
At Cheshire Services, the lives of 4,940 adults and children living with disabilities were improved.
At Hope Enterprises, you helped feed 850 street children every day and helped to get 450 of them into school.
At the Hamlin Fistula Hospital & Hamlin College of Midwives, more than 1200 babies were safely delivered.
I want to draw your attention to Hamlin Fistula Hospital in particular. 2015 was a year where the hospital had a greater impact than ever before, and we were delighted to host Martin Andrews, Hamlin CEO, for our September art exhibition in Dublin. The show was attended by Sabina Higgins and RTE’s Claire Byrne, and was a tremendous success that helped raise much needed funds for the hospital in its effort to end fistula in Ethiopia by 2020.
Remember with us the joy of that day:
Ethiopia is at risk of another famine
Posted by Natacha Soto on Tuesday 12th January 2016
Ethiopia is at risk of another famine—but this time it might go ignored.
The global climate phenomenon “El Niño” is currently affecting the African country. Reports suggest Ethiopia is to face the worst drought in 30 years. According to the UN 15 million Ethiopian people will need help in 2016.
Food shortages are expected to peak in February.
“Severe drought in some regions, exacerbated by the strongest El Niño in decades, caused successive harvest failures and widespread livestock deaths,” Stephan Dujaric, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, told reporters. “Yet so far, less than 5 percent of the resources required for the first six months of the year are available.”
Read full story here
Fun Facts about Ethiopia
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 4th January 2016
Lucy, the oldest human fossil who lived over three million years ago, was found in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is widely considered the site of the emergence of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, in the Middle Paleolithic about 200,000 years ago. The earliest known modern human bones were found in Southwestern Ethiopia, and are called the Omo remains.
Coffee, one of the world's most popular beverages, was discovered in Ethiopia, in the region of Kaffa.
The best-known Ethiopian cuisine consists of various thick meat stews, known as wat in Ethiopian culture, and vegetable side dishes served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread made of teff flour.
Ethiopia is the only country in the world with 13 months. It is also eight years behind the Western calendar. They celebrate the New Year on September 11th.
Time in Ethiopia is counted differently than in many Western countries. The Ethiopian day starts with the sunrise, usually at 6 AM as opposed to 12 AM, and as such can vary throughout the year.
Traditionally, parents and children do not share a last name. Most children take their father's first name as their last name.
The main sports in Ethiopia are athletics (particularly long distance running) and football.
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila was the first Sub-Saharan African to win gold in the Olympic Games. He finished the 1960 marathon in first place after running the whole race barefoot. He was the first athlete to win the Olympic marathon twice when he retained the gold model four years later in Tokyo.
Ethiopia is a founding member of the United Nations and the African Union.
Ethiopia is a multilingual nation with around 80 ethnolinguistic groups, the three largest of which are the Tigray, Oromo and Amhara.
Every late November thousands of people from around the world travel to Ethiopia to take part of the Great Ethiopian Run.
Posted by Natacha Soto on Thursday 1st October 2015
Last September World Leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years: End extreme poverty; Fight inequality & injustice; Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people. If the Goals are going to work, everyone needs to know about them.
They call for action by all countries –poor, middle and high-income, and pledges no one will be left behind.
Here in Ethiopiaid we welcome these Global Goals and commit to help in the achievement of those that are of particular interest for our work in Ethiopia:
Goal 1: No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Goal 3: Good Health & Well-being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Goal 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Goal 5: Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Check http://www.globalgoals.org/ to learn more about this goals and how you can help achieve them!