Thank you for your contribution to our recent projects in Kalebo Laka, Ethiopia. In May we were honored to receive a Community Grant of £11,109 facilitated through GlobalGiving for this project which, with your generous donations, essentially covers the expenses for the first year. We are presently awaiting confirmation from another possible funder whether they might cover the running costs for the second year.
Along with fundraising events, crowdfunding campaigns and sponsored expeditions, women in Kalebo Laka will soon be forming Self Help Groups that will provide mutual support, income-earning skills training and low-interest loans that will enable them to start businesses. For women who have only ever known the role of sourcing water and other domestic duties, this will be life changing! HOPE's staff are keen to get started!
Due to unexpected rain the start of the constrution of the water project in Kalebo Laka was delayed. Roads were not accessible for the transportation of materials for many weeks. Consequently this then delayed the start of the Self Help Group project in Kalebo Laka as well.
In the past few days I have had confirmation that both projects have commenced! There is much joy, anticipation and enthusiasm from the community in Kalebo Laka that their future will now be different, where they can play a role in helping themselves out of poverty.
We will continue to keep you updated as the projects progress and as we learn about our funding status for the second year of this project. In the meantime, thank you again for your support and for empowering these women in rural Ethiopia.
Thank you once again for your support of HOPE's next water project in Kalebo Laka. Unfortunately, there has been a delay to the start of this water project due to unseasonal rain in Ethiopia and much of southern and eastern Africa. This is a result of the El Nino weather phenomenon, which has contributed to the lack of rain at the end of last year and the current abundance of rain, when it is not expected. In the north of Ethiopia, unfortunately this has brought on drought and left millions of people in desperate need of food due to crop failure. This is the worst drought in half a century, leaving ten million Ethiopians in that region of the country in need of food aid.
In south west Ethiopia, where HOPE has been working since 1986, the region has not suffered from drought but unexpected rains at present has meant that roads have been washed out and materials have not been able to be transported to Kalebo Laka for the water project to commence. Last month, one of HOPE's 4 wheel-drive vehicles turned over trying to get through difficult roads and now has to be mended. This was due to the poor road quality and the extreme remoteness of the villages HOPE works in.
Having reliable roads has now become the difference between having access to clean water and not. Therefore, the local community in Kalebo Laka has been busy enlarging the roads, strengthening local bridges and working to clear the roads where mud build-up makes it is impossible for even 4 wheel-drive cars to travel. This is the first task that the community has done together to allow HOPE to help bring clean water to their village. Soon, when the rain ceases, the community will also be required to dig the trenches from the newly capped spring to the water (4.566 km) and also build two water tanks, nine water points and eight washbasins. 207 pit latrines have been planned as well which will be the responsibility of the community to dig.
In a previous water project, the commitment of the community to start the water project was so great that they walked to the furthest point that vehicles could bring the materials and then physically carried the necessary equipment back to the village on foot. Whilst this was time consuming and exhausting, it showed HOPE how passionate they were to have an operating water system and they would not let the poor quality of roads stop work from beginning in their community. They were aware how clean water would transform their lives and they wanted nothing to hinder the project from starting.
HOPE has found that this level of community involvement leads to greater ownership of the water system. The locally appointed Water Caretakers and Water Committee also play a significant part in the sustainability of the water system, maintaining and looking after its upkeep and making decisions about water fees, timings for water point usage, etc. All combined this is helping the community to help itself and access to clean water is the initial catalyst.
Weather predictions show that the rain should soon be letting up and the community can start to clear the site where work will take place. Therefore, it is looking positive that the water system will be up and running by September 2016.
Thank you for the part you have played in bringing positive change to that community and helping them to helping themselves.
Meseleah, age 33, mother of 6, is from a village in Bonke that only had access to dirty water until nine months ago. Meseleah and her family were frequently unwell as a result. However, the benefits of clean water have changed her life. Previously, women in the village would walk 3 hours to access clean water, up to 4 times a day. They would wake up at 4am in order to collect water before breakfast. Girls would help collect water, which would be a priority before attending school. However, HOPE’s work in the area means that all households in the community can now access clean, safe, drinking water within a 10-minute walk from their house. Meseleah explained that the girls can now go to school and she now has a business selling milk from the cow she bought with a loan from her Self Help Group (SHG), bringing great benefit to her personal life. Like most in her community, Meseleah didn’t know anything about saving and lending money prior to the teaching she received in her SHG. Instead, she and her family lived day to day, hoping they would have enough to meet their needs. Not only have SHGs provided the impetus for earning needed money, but Meseleah said they also have also provided close relationships with 19 other local women who have helped one another with personal advice and support as well as business guidance.
Meseleah’s life was very similar to many women in rural Ethiopian where basic needs such as access to safe water do not exist. In Ethiopia, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, only 56% of the rural population has access to clean drinking water. In the Bonke region, where HOPE works, access to safe water is even more rare, with only 15% of rural households using clean water.
HOPE International Development Agency believes that access to clean water is a catalyst to community transformation. With clean water comes the possibility for monumental change – improved health, time for education, increased food production, greater gender equality and all of these things create possibilities for increased income generation, espeically for women. This is particularly transformative in a patriarchal society where women are not usually given a voice or positions of leadership and rarely have contributed to their families financially. The investment in women like Meseleah has led to a different future, one of sustainability where she now has the tools to positively influence her family’s future.
Your recent donations to HOPE’s SHG project in Kalebo Laka will contribute towards this same transformative work in the lives of 200 women in that community. Women like Meseleah will receive similar teaching and input and as a result they will be given the opportunity to create a different future for themselves.
HOPE Ethiopia staff are presently making the final preparations to start the water project with that community in May and vital SHG work will commence shortly after. Thank you for playing your part in this transformation process to invest in 200 women and their families.