Project #1169

Teach Traditional Ethiopian Midwives to Save Lives

by VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Jun 12, 2012

Coffee for a Cause

Ethiopian HEW, pouring coffee
Ethiopian HEW, pouring coffee

The women sit in a circle facing one another smiling and laughing. They are all farmers from the same rural community in Kola Tembien, Ethiopia who have volunteered to be here. In the middle of the circle a young woman begins to slowly pour dark coffee into glasses, paying special care to avoid any grinds. These coffee ceremonies are a traditional part of Ethiopian culture and social life, but today’s ceremony has a special focus and a specific goal.

The young woman leading the ceremony is a Health Extension Worker (HEW), a government-deployed health care provider posted in this rural region of Ethiopia to assist the community with basic healthcare needs. VSI has enlisted the help of thousands of HEWs on the provision of life-saving misoprostol tablets. Today, this young HEW will use the coffee ceremony as a means to lead an important discussion with the women of her village. The ceremony is a conduit to create a safe space for women to share their experiences with reproductive health services and serve as peer advisors for one another. Hours later, after the third cup of coffee, the women have openly shared their concerns, challenges and success stories.

VSI-sponsored coffee ceremonies, much like this one, took place in four health posts across Kola Tembien, and many more are planned. In the last four ceremonies over 120 women participated, offering their perspectives and experiences with reproductive health. The encouraging news is that women are aware of the services offered and the importance of taking advantage of them. The disheartening fact is that these services are not universally available throughout the country or are simply too far to reach for many women in remote areas. Our mission is aimed at increasing access to essential medical services and supplies so that all women – no matter where they live – have the opportunity to empower and protect themselves. Your support to this project means that VSI can work to improve women’s health and reach more women with life-saving medicines and services.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

Location: Irvine, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Project Leader:
Allison Boiles
Communications Specialist
Anaheim, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 123 donors like you, a total of $10,373 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Ethiopia or in Health that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.