Pathfinder International

Pathfinder's mission is to ensure that people everywhere have the right and opportunity to live a healthy sexual and reproductive life. We believe that reproductive health is essential for creating better opportunities throughout life. When people take charge of choices about when and how often to have children, they not only have the opportunity to lead healthier lives, but they also gain confidence and can better pursue their education, contribute to the local economy, and engage in their communities.
Dec 1, 2009

Update on Scholarship Beneficiaries


Through the generous gifts provided by GlobalGiving donors, Pathfinder was able to offer four additional scholarships to girls who otherwise would not be able to attend secondary school. The following students have been selected as Pathfinder’s new scholarship recipients.

Name: Yematu Kass Age: 13 Grade: 9 Class rank: 17 Background: Yematu lives with her mother, who works as a maid, and four other siblings. Due to the burden of paying for school supplies, Yematu was about to drop out of school prior to receiving her scholarship.

Name: Marenawit Azarias Age: 13 Grade: 9 Background: Marenawit has no surviving parents and lives with her grandmother who struggles to support the basic costs of living for herself and Marenawit.

Name: Saron Alemayehu Age: 14 Grade: 9 Background: Saron lives with her family and previously had to rely on the support of outside individuals to cover the cost of basic school materials.

Name: Ruth Shume Age: 16 Grade: 9 Background: Ruth has no surviving parents and lives with another family who understands the importance of her education, but are unable to afford all of the costs of having Ruth attend school.


As previously reported, in May 2008, Pathfinder offered scholarships to five girls to attend secondary school. Pathfinder is pleased to report on the progress of these girls.

Rediet Abebe: Prior to receiving her scholarship, Rediet struggled to come up with the necessary costs associated with attending school. With the help of the scholarship, Rediet not only can attend school, but has also achieved high academic standings. In particular, she excels in Chemistry, Biology, and Civics and dreams of a future career as an engineer. Rediet says this about her scholarship support:

“…now I am able to use basic, necessary educational materials such as reference materials, school uniforms, school bags, and other stationary materials…. These help me concentrate on my education, develop my self esteem, and feel capable of contributing to my country and as important as those students who have a better life... this is all due to Pathfinder Ethiopia and Addis Ababa Women’s Association, thanks a lot.”

Helina Kebede: Thanks to her scholarship, Helina has risen to the first rank in her class, and particularly excels in Physics and Civics. Helina spends her spare time reading and listening to the radio and dreams of becoming a lawyer. Before receiving a scholarship, Helina, received sporadic assistance from neighbors to help pay for her education. But, she often missed school so that she could work and earn money to help support herself and her ailing mother. Helina reports the following life changes, which she attributes to the scholarship support:

“…after the fund, many things have changed – I am able to afford living expenses, and concentrate solely on my education rather than sharing my time for working to get an income. If there had not been such support I would have been performing poorly and forced to drop out of the school”.

Yematawork Bezawork grew up in an orphanage without any known relatives. When the orphanage was closed Yematawork was taken in temporarily by a local family, but quickly was forced to move to a temporary shelter at a local church. There, she relied on small donations from volunteers to support her education, but they were insufficient and soon she was performing poorly in school. Thanks to her scholarship, Yematawork is now able to meet her educational costs and also uses a small portion of the funds to meet her nutritional needs. Through her scholarship and her own hard work, Yematawork ranked fourth in her class in the previous academic year.

Chekolech Tegegn: As one of 9 children, Chekolech’s parents had a difficult time supporting the basic needs of their family. By Grade 4, Chekolech had been taken out of school and eventually went to live with her aunt. Although her aunt appreciated Chekolech’s interest in her studies, she was unable to support basic living costs for the two of them. With her scholarship, Chekolech is able to purchase exercise books, textbooks, school uniform, and shoes so that she can attend school and has achieved great success in her education. Chekolech, who dreams of becoming a manager, explained the changes brought about in her life as a result of the scholarship:

“I was always very worried when the new academic year approched as I was afraid of asking to purchase stationary materials; it gives me relief …now am able to support myself and am no more burden to my aunt. I am attending happily my education like any other students. In sum, it helps me to feel better in all explained ways and perform better in school and to expect bright future.”

Samrawit Engdashet attributes her scholarship not only to helping her afford the school fees, uniforms, and textbooks that she needs to attend school, but also to boosting her self confidence. One day, Samrawit dreams of becoming a lawyer. Samrawit described the importance of her scholarship as follows:

“…before the support, I stood 4th, but after the fund, I stood 1st in my class, so there is a change in my education …my mind feels free and relieved… It has helped me a lot, I am very much happy with the support…”

Nov 25, 2009

Update on Income Generating Activities for Poor Women


Thanks to the generous support from GlobalGiving donors, Pathfinder is pleased to announce the addition of two new entrepreneurs to its project in Ethiopia: Atsede Wake and Simegn Tadesse. Now, Atsede, Simegn and their families are no longer resigned to lives of destitution and powerlessness. With an ability to save, these women can better protect themselves and their families against health emergencies and changes in food security, and are more able to make investments for the future, such as in education.

Name: Atsede Wake Background: Atsede is 47 and has experience in the fruit and vegetable trade and has already identified a location where she will run her business. Without support from Pathfinder, she would not have the initial funds to begin a business and would be unable to support her children for whom she is the sole provider.

Name: Simegn Tadesse Background: Simegn has strong business experience and has identified a place where she will set-up her business. Previously, her lack of start-up support prevented her from starting a business, and therefore she was unable to support herself and her family.


We are also pleased to bring you an update on the activities pursued by the 11 women who have begun income generating projects with support from generous GlobalGiving donors. Overall, the funds have enabled many of the women to leave the dangerous and exhausting business of firewood collection to pursue more lucrative, safe, and sustainable businesses in a variety of areas, including making and selling Injera (a traditional Ethiopian bread) and selling charcoal, grain, butter, and other items. As a result of their new ventures, many of the women are recording profits and have since been able to open savings accounts, which offer increased security for the women and their families. Moreover, the women report that their ability to yield profits in their new businesses has helped them to play a more active role in their communities. By demonstrating their capabilities, they garner respect in society and develop the confidence to address their needs and pursue opportunity. A selection of the women’s stories are highlighted here:

Desta Alemu has started a new business making and selling Injera, as well as other miscellaneous items for which there is local demand. Her seed money has been used to purchase an energy-saving stove, grain, and maize. Currently, she is selling between 40 and 60 pieces of injera daily, yielding a profit of 15-20 birr/day (approximately USD $1.50). In the future, Desta would like to expand her business to include vegetable sales. Thanks to her new endeavor, Desta no longer must endure the longhours and great travel distances in her previous job collecting and carrying firewood. Additionally, she has been able to enroll her two children in school and is now able to pay rent, water and electric bills without feeling constant worry and fear. Desta believes that after 20 years of hardship this new business has enabled her to start a new life.

Nunu Bereket has been able to escape the business of firewood collection to begin a new business selling grain and butter, which she purchases from wholesalers and sells to people in her village. For the start up of her business, she has bought one sack of wheat and one sack of maize. On average, she is able to sell 25 kg of each item daily, yielding a net profit of 20-25 Birr (approximately USD $2), which she can reinvest in her business. According to Nunu, her new venture has helped her to cover the educational costs of her two children to attend school, has helped her to feel physically stronger, and enables her to participate in civic society, such as attending community meetings. She says this of her experience with the income generating activities: “Now I have money so I can work day and night and improve my family’s life”.

Abaynesh Degero has started a new business selling charcoal, grain, and other items in her village, profiting 15-20 birr per day. Thanks to this new venture, Abayinesh was able to enroll three of her children in school and is receiving medical care for a longstanding health condition which has continuously affected her mobility. Moreover, she reports that she has more time to participate in social gatherings in her community and in awareness raising events. She has expressed extreme gratitude for the funding she has received and is looking forward to expanding her business in the future.

Ehetehun Derebe is using her seed funding to start making and selling Injera. Support from Global Giving helped Ehetehun to purchase an energy saving stove, grain, and other accessories needed to start her business. A true entrepreneur, Ehetehun has already attracted a sizeable clientele, including a few contracts with local hotels. Thanks to her business, Ehetehun is now able to pay rent and other bills on time and attributes her business to providing her with time to participate in community social affairs and attend various events, such as local administration meetings.

Bizunesh Desalegn used her seed funding to start a business where she sells Injera to local restaurants. Her new venture has enabled her to open a savings account, a rare opportunity for most women in Ethiopia. In the future, she plans to expand her business by hiring additional staff so that she can target a greater number of customers. In her own words, Bizunesh says of the support she received: “it is as you can see… I am happy. I am not spending my day laboring in the jungle but rather am at home doing my business and making money. Many thanks to Pathfinder International Ethiopia and Addis Ababa Women Association who saw our problem and came with such a relieving idea”.

Mewuded Kassa started a business in grain, charcoal, and fruit trade, though due to skyrocketing price of crops she has recently focused most on charcoal, which brings in 10 birr profit (USD $0.80) per unit sold. Mewuded says that her new business has helped her to improve her morale and physical strength and provides her with a strong motivation to work. In the future, she would like to focus more energy on selling grains.

Alemush Girma was able to start a charcoal selling business with the seed money she received. When asked what changes have been brought about by her start-up, Alemush says that she is now able to avoid feelings of fear and desperation, and has hope about the possibility of living a long life.

Aug 5, 2008

Update on Scholarship Beneficiaries

Thanks to the generous donations from GlobalGiving donors, five female students – Helina Kebede, Samrawit Engdashet, Rediet Abebe, Yematawork Bezawork, and Chekolech Tegegne –have been given the opportunity to complete their secondary school education. These girls were selected because they are all either orphans, disabled, or from a single-parent family. They are also from resource-poor families that would not otherwise be able to pay the school fees for their daughters to continue attending, and the girls have proven themselves to be smart, ambitious students. Beginning in May 2008, Pathfinder’s Ethiopia Office has provided each student with a 6-month allowance of US $94.20. Pathfinder will continue making payments every 6 months to support the girls’ education for the entire three years of secondary schooling. The Addis Ababa Women’s Association has helped the scholarship recipients open bank accounts, into which Pathfinder’s payments will be made. The Addis Ababa Women’s Association is monitoring the accounts to make sure that each student is using the funds appropriately – for tuition, school supplies, housing, and/or food.

By finishing their secondary education, these girls will have more economic and educational opportunities available to them, and will avoid early marriage. In addition, because university education is paid for by the Ethiopian government, Pathfinder hopes that, by helping these girls complete secondary school, at least some of them will go on to the university and achieve even more success. Below are profiles of the young women who have been selected for Pathfinder’s scholarship assistance program, made possible by the generosity of GlobalGiving donors (Photos by Azeb Feleke).

Name: Chekolech Tegegne Age: 14 Grade: 9 School: Karaaalo, Yeka Sub-city Class Rank: 2nd out of 65 students Background: Orphan, living with her caretaker.

Name: Yematawork Bezawork Age: 18 Grade: 9 School: Dilber, Gulele Sub-city Class Rank: 3rd out of 56 students Background: Disabled, with no relatives; she boards with a woman she knows.

Name: Rediet Abebe Age: 15 Grade: 9 School: Yekatit 66 Secondary School, Arada Sub-city Class Rank: 3rd out of 57 students Background: Comes from a very poor single-parent home; her mother works as a maid in another household.

Name: Samrawit Engdashet Age: 13 Grade: 9 School: Millennium Secondary School, Kolfe Sub-city Class Rank: 4th out of 45 students Background: Orphan, living with her aunt.

Name: Helina Kebede Age: 16 Grade: 8 School: Kolfe Junior, Kolfe Sub-city Rank in class: 1st out of 57 students Background: Orphan, living with her brother.

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