WHO WE IMPACT

Ethiopia is divided into nine regions. Project Ethiopia works in the northwest region of Amhara and, more specifically, in the Dangla ‘woreda’ or district. The Dangla woreda is further divided into 37 ‘kebeles’ or communities. Project Ethiopia has worked or is currently working in 17 of these communities with the long-term goal of extending our work to every community in the woreda.

Access to Education

School Construction and Improvement

Lack of physical facilities and long distances to an available primary school are two of the greatest barriers preventing rural Ethiopian students from completing the primary grades and entering high school.

Since 2008, Project Ethiopia has worked tirelessly to address these barriers through the construction of new school facilities and the improvement of existing schools. These transformations establish the schools as “official schools” by the Ethiopian government who then provides certified teachers and curricula materials. To date, our work has resulted in: 23 new school buildings and 25 improved school buildings for a total of 152 classrooms serving more than 20,000 students.

With expanded school facilities scattered throughout our service area, most grades are now largely comprised of students in the same age group. The educational pathway for rural children in the areas we serve are no longer interrupted and 100% of the children in these areas have access to education and a path to high school. As well, some teachers in Dangla town with great seniority are choosing to teach in a rural school because they are new and maintained.

University Transition Awards

Since 2012, Project Ethiopia has made awards to 288 high school graduates. Beyond helping rural students reduce the economic and cultural barriers to making the transition to university, these awards motivate the recipients to work hard and stay in school. And the results are impressive. Award recipients who have graduated from college are now working as nurses, accountants, teachers and many others are continuing their graduate education in medicine and engineering.

Award recipients are also contributing back to the school and community in many ways including tutoring younger students in the summer in preparation for the national exam and raising funds at their universities to support their high school in Dangla.

Healthy Villages

Metal Roofing

A dry home is one of the most significant improvements that can be made to a rural family’s home, resulting in the fewer illnesses and parasitic infestations. To date, Project Ethiopia has provided metal roofing for over 1,000 of the neediest homes in the communities we have served thus far.

Metal roofing is well beyond the financial capacity of most villagers, but even more so for the elderly, widows, chronically sick, and the poorest of the poor. Project Ethiopia is making it possible for these households, in particular, to experience the benefits of a dry home.

“When we announce to the elderly, widows, and nuns that they will be recipients of a new metal roof, they have tears in their eyes as they thank us. This is the best part of my job. Helping those who most need it.” – Awoke

Solar Lanterns

Ethiopia is located close to the equator and so the days are roughly divided equally between darkness and light. The distribution of more than 786 solar lanterns to date has provided more than 4,000 villagers with a clean source of energy and more hours of light each day to complete school work and strengthen family bonds. The chargers have made it possible for farmers to buy cell phones and charge them so they can make good decisions on crop sales by checking market prices by phone.

Economic Opportunities

Farmers’ Associations

To date, Project Ethiopia has organized and supported 15 Farmers’ Associations whose combined membership equals 750 farmers, including a significant number of women since 21% of farm families in Dangla are women-headed households. Farmers’ Associations have provided a community forum in which to explore and experiment with new ideas and approaches.

After the initial organizing meeting when a new association is formed, Project Ethiopia provides each member with five high quality sickles and an economic support item/s valued at $50 to boost their production and income. For example, those who select a modern beehive as their support item have seen an increase of nearly $300 from honey sales.

As members of an officially recognized association, members can purchase seeds as a collective and avoid costly loans to cover the costs of essential supplies. As well, our Farmers’ Associations support each member to set up a savings account which can be used as equity for future borrowing, many through the Project Ethiopia low-interest microloan program.

Microloans

Project Ethiopia currently operates four microloan funds that each have approximately $5,000 to loan out at 5% interest of which 2% goes to cover the cost of fund management and 3% is returned to help the fund grow. Microloans provide rural borrowers with an opportunity that is not available through traditional credit channels to expand their earnings and better provide for their families.

Since the first fund was established in 2013, Project Ethiopia has made 137 low-interest loans to 75 women and 62 men with 100% of those loans repaid full and on time. Loans have been used to buy lambs and goats for fattening to sell at festival feast times, chickens, and dairy cows. Other borrowers have used their loans to start coffee, injera or local honey wine businesses.

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