Archive for the ‘Joint Ethiopia Programme’ Category

Summer 2012 has been a busy one in Addis.  My time has been split doing work for VSO Ethiopia and for the Cafod/Sciaf/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office.  Here is a summary of what I have been up to over the last few months:


Task 1 – SCIAF (Scottish arm of Caritasapplication for independent registration with the Government of Ethiopia’s Charities and Services Association submitted

International non-governmental organisations wishing to operate in Ethiopia must register and be licensed by the Government of Ethiopia’s Charities and Services Association.  Cafod, Sciaf, and Trocaire operate a joint office in Ethiopia and in the past have been able to register with the CSA jointly as well.  This year the CSA demanded that each register separately and distinguish which projects each organisation is responsible for funding.  In order to complete the narrative of SCIAF’s application to the CSA, I interviewed each of the Senior Programme managers in the CST joint office to learn about which projects received funding from SCIAF.  The four project areas supported by the CST joint office are:  Humanitarian, Sustainable Livelihoods, HIV/AIDS, and Civil Society. Although SCIAF is the smallest partner in the joint Ethiopia office, they support elements of projects in each of the programme areas.  SCIAF’s application for registration with the CSA was submitted at the end of August 2012. 


Task 2 – €500 000 matching funds application for Oromia Self Reliance Association to expand water infrastructure in the Borana region of southern Ethiopia sent to CAFOD

The lack of potable water supply in Oromia National Regional State, South West Shewa Zone, Wolisso and Goro districts is the source of ongoing problems in the area. Water supply and sanitation coverage in the districts is low and the majority of the people rely on surface water such as small streams and unprotected traditional hand dug wells, which are not potable, to get water for human and livestock consumption.  Moreover, sanitation and hygiene education coverage in the district is low.

Women and children who assume the responsibility of fetching water are the most affected portion of the community enduring hardship from the lack of this facilities. They have to travel long distance to fetch unpotable water for household consumption.  As a result, the communities are exposed to water borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, endangering their health status.  Schools and students will also benefit from this project as lack of water supply and sanitation facilities are also one of the critical problems of schools in rural areas in the target districts.

The Oromia Self Reliance Association aims to expand water infrastructure in the area by:

  • Developing of 18 shallow water wells. It is planned to develop 12 community managed water wells and 6 schools based water wells for 6 target schools during the three year project period.
  • Constructing of wellheads and distribution structures for community and schools, respectively
  • Constructing 12 community managed shower blocks and 12 washing basins
  • Training community members on hygiene and sanitation, Community led total sanitation (CLTS), participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation(PHAST) approaches
  • Constructing 12 blocks of child and gender friendly ventilated improved latrine blocks for students and teachers
  • Establishing and training WATSAN committees, local water technicians, health clubs
  • Conducting baseline assessment and feasibility studies for the water sources
  • Conducting environmental and gender analysis of the project
  • Training of  health/environmental clubs members in the schools to support hygiene and sanitation activities including outreach activities
  • Organising and support 360 poor women in to self help groups and provide them with entrepreneurial skill training so that they will be engaged in income generating activities


Task 3 – Google web developer tools to raise the quality of hits for Google searches of CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire employed

Conducting a search using google for “CAFOD SCIAF Trocaire Ethiopia”, “CST Joint Office”, or any combination of these terms returned results limited to expired job postings on Ethiopian employment websites and little information about activities undertaken by the organisation.  Using my blog and google web developer tools. I have changed the search results for these terms so that the results now contain details of projects at the CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office.


Task 4 –   Destinations for those Google searches created

In addition to creating the pathways for google searches, I also created the content contained at the destination by writing visibility brochures, and project summaries of projects at the CST Joint Ethiopia Office and posting them on my blog.  The visibility brochures are available for viewing at https://morenewsfromafar.wordpress.com


Task 5 – Planned, tailored and delivered English classes to the staff at CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office

English classes were designed for and delivered to staff at the CST Joint Ethiopia Office.  Advanced and upper intermediate conversation classes were offered, along with specialised classes to improve listening and writing skills, and idiomatic English.  We discussed everyday topics, such as the difference between living in the city and the country:

We sang some songs:

We watched some episodes of ‘Friends’

And we practised writing:

Task 6 – Results-based Management training

Results-based management training has equipped me with the tools necessary to organise and present my work in a manner consistent with international development organisations.  The most useful tool in my new management toolkit is the logic model:

Task 7 – Interviewed candidates for the International Citizenship Service (ICS) programme

ICS is a youth volunteer programme funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).  It pairs UK youth volunteers with Ethiopian youth volunteers and places them in local work environments in Ethiopia.  Over the summer I had the opportunity to interview candidates to serve as Ethiopian national volunteers in this program.  It was great to learn about the ICS programme, as well as to meet some highly motivated and talented young Ethiopians. 

Task 8 – Planned and facilitated September In-country Training for incoming VSO volunteers

Thirty-five new volunteers and accompanying partners arrived in mid-September for a twelve day training at the Ethiopian Red Cross Training Institute in a suburb just outside of Addis Ababa.  The training was facilitated by myself and two other serving VSO volunteers.  Delivering to an audience comprised of teachers, doctors, midwives, engineers and architects was somewhat daunting, but made easier by everyone’s positivity and flexibility.  The days were long, but the job satisfaction level was very high. 


The summer is not quite over, and there is still a workshop to conduct next week for Ethiopian partner organisations participating in the inaugural ICS programme in Hawassa in January.  But my time in the city is winding down and soon I’ll be back in the desert. 



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Life is tough in Borana.  According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were over one million recipients of food aid between January and June 2012.  Unicef received $6.5m from OCHA in order to supply this food.  Borana is one of the administrative zones of the Oromia Region, in the southernmost part of Ethiopia.  The region is a victim of climate change.  Droughts have been increasing in frequency, and rainfall patterns have changed.  Rains have been coming for shorter periods of time, but with more intensity.  These changes have strained the ability of the local population to cope using traditional methods.  A more resilient and diverse economy is a way to help the local population achieve long-term food security. 

The changing rainfall patterns have led to increased land degradation and conflict over scarce resources.   The Borana people are pastoralists, and cattle comprise their assets.   Diversifying their livestock, and developing new methods of managing farmland and grazing land are vital for the region’s survival.  Educating the local population about climate change is another important step.  The Borana people have been adapting to the region’s shifting climatic patterns for centuries, but the pace of climate change is accelerating.  This has amplified the effects of drought, and is forcing the region’s people to adapt at a quicker rate.  New livelihood strategies must be adopted quickly.

Local people get water from a network of ancient wells called ‘tula’.  Some of the wells are over 30m deep.  The wells tap into the region’s groundwater, and they have traditionally continued to supply water during dry seasons and droughts.  They are known as ‘singing wells’ because of the singing human chains which bring the water to the surface.  But droughts over the past few years have caused some of the wells to run dry for the first time.  Helping villages re-dig and reinforce traditional ‘tula’ wells is a short-term strategy, but in the long-term, a more diverse economy is seen as the key to the region’s food-security.

The United Nations has identified resilience-building projects as the key to establishing long-term food security in the region.  Resilience projects are necessary in order to lessen the vulnerability of the region’s population to natural disasters and the chronic food shortages which accompany them.  Resilience projects ensure that people and livestock maintain access to water during droughts.  One strategy adopted by the Cafod/Sciaf/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office is helping villages clear silt from their water sources.  But a longer-term strategy for building resilience is diversifying the local economy.  By helping the pastoralist communities diversify their livelihoods and access markets and credit, family incomes will increase.

Diversifying livelihoods in the Borana region requires developing the economy’s value-chain.  At the moment, cattle are sold at local markets to businesspeople who take them away for fattening.  After the cattle are fattened in another part of Ethiopia, they are sold for consumption on either domestic or international markets.  Teaching Borana herdsmen about the advantages of fattening their cattle locally and then selling them directly to exporters will help the local people to increase their incomes.  The same process applies to the other two value-chains in the area:  the milk value-chain and the non-timer forest products value chain.  There is potential to diversify the Borana region’s economy by developing the skills of local people to produce goods which are further down the value-chain instead of simply supplying raw products to tertiary industries. 

Diversifying the region’s economy and producing goods which are further down the value-chain requires access to capital.  There are many Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) in the Borana region, but membership is low.  SACCOs are a way to promote savings in the community.  Savings can be used not only as a means to get through droughts, but also as a way to expand economic activities.  Cafod/Sciaf/Trociare conducted two sensitisation sessions at SACCO offices to increase awareness of cooperative membership criteria and opportunities.  Raised awareness will increase SACCO membership and provide access to credit for the local community.  SACCOs support members to improve product processing, and increase product value.  They also strengthen their market presence through organization and networking, and develop the skills necessary for developing businesses and planning for sustainability.  Community access to appropriate rural financial services will boost small business growth and contribute to local economic development.

Three of CST-JEP’s local partners:  Action for Development, SOS Sahel Ethiopia and Gayo Pastoral Development Initiative (GPDI) will contribute to the establishment of new SACCOs.  GPDI will establish six new SACCOs and support three existing processing and marketing cooperatives (PMCs) focusing on livestock production and marketing.  This effort will raise SACCO membership to more than 11 000 people, 83% of which will be female.  Leaders from the newly established six SACCOs will be given training in organisation and leadership to enable them to fulfil their duties.  GPDI will work with three existing processing and marketing cooperatives focusing on livestock, and will work with these groups on adding value to their livestock through fattening.

Resilience-building projects will allow the Borana region’s population to more effectively get through droughts.  Diversifying the economy and producing goods higher up the value-chain will enable the people there to weather the harsh climatic challenges.

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The CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office works in partnership with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).  Some of these NGOs are large, while others are very small.  The Borana Pastoralist Girls’ Education Association is a small one, but it deserves to have its voice heard.

The Borana region is in southern Ethiopia near the Kenyan border, and it has been in the news over the last couple weeks because of a simmering ethnic conflict between the local population and settlers from Ethiopia’s Somali region.  Somali people have been displaced by the ongoing fighting in Ethiopia’s there, and have sought a new life in the Borana region.  The people of Moyale, Borana are resentful of having to give up valuable grazing land for their livestock to the newcomers, and this has led to violent disputes.  Last week, the Federal Police were brought in to calm the situation, but it remains tense and off limits to travel.  The Borana lifestyle was difficult without the added violence. 

The pastoralist lifestyle of the Borana region is fraught with challenges:  inconsistent rainfall patterns and drought, fluctuating prices of commodities, and lack of value chain infrastructure.  These struggles leave most of the region’s people eking out a living with subsistence farming. Like other Ethiopian communities, the Borana pastoralists are victims of poverty, HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases.  Despite the Ethiopian government’s prioritisation of remote regions such as Borana, the effort made so far in supporting pastoralist girls’ education is inadequate.  Marginalised sections of the population face the additional challenge of having to survive in the region without the traditional support of family.  Orphaned pastoralist girls in the Borana lowlands must the region’s harsh challenges on their own. 

Pastoralist girls in Ethiopia’s Borana region have a low rate of education enrolment.  In order to complete school, these girls must not only pay for tuition and medical care, but must also find a way to live within a reasonable proximity of the school.  If marginalised female students do not have extended family living in a town, there is little opportunity for them to attend school.  The caregivers and extended families of girls in the Borana region usually lack the resources to pay for education beyond the primary level, and this limits the opportunities these girls have to break out of a cycle of poverty.  There is low awareness of this problem within the community, at least partly because most community members are already affected by economic problems of their own.  A substantial number of households are eating two or fewer meals per day.  As a result, marginalised females in the region are highly likely to drop out of school.  Education is the only way for Borana’s pastoralist girls to break out of this cycle of poverty.  A top priority for the Borana Pastoralist Girls’ Education Association is to re-enroll girls who have dropped out of school for financial reasons. 

The Borana Pastoralist Girls Education Association (BPGEA) aims to tackle the challenges faced by pastoralist girls in graduating from secondary school.  The BPGEA aims to promote pastoralist girls education in rural Borana, provide access to education in the region for marginalised girls, and to protect them from exploitative labour.  The BPGEA plans to expand its support by providing lodging and bedding for pastoralist girls attending secondary school, and it is doing so with the assistance of a small grant provided by the CAFOD/SCIAF/Trocaire Joint Ethiopia Office for the purchase of beds and linen.

The BPGEA is a relatively new organisation, and was formed in 2011.  It has been certified by the federal government’s Charities and Services Association. The initial project aim for the BPGEA is to assist fifteen marginalised girls from remote areas whose families cannot afford to pay for school.  In some cases this marginalisation has come about because the girl is orphaned, but girls whose caregivers suffer from a disability or who live in abject poverty also qualify for support.  The BPGEA has plans to expand its services after the initial fifteen students graduate, and it hopes to continue supporting the girls’ post-secondary educations, so that they may graduate to better lives.

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