Soccer Jersey Give-Away–Happy New Year!

Roots Ethiopia is celebrating the Ethiopian New Year and the Ethiopian Soccer Team win against Central Africa with an Ethiopian Soccer Jersey Giveaway!

Roots Ethiopia is going to celebrate New Year’s with a JERSEY GIVE-AWAY! Everyone who donates to ANY of our projects for ANY amount will be entered into the draw. We will host a random draw using on Saturday, September 14th at 9 P.M. Central.   So come on, win this beautiful jersey! (Adult L, Adidas tags, if you know shirt sizes in Ethiopia, this is more like an adult S and/or a children’s XL).

You can donate on our secure server HERE for any of our 3 core programs (IGA’s, School Sponsorships, and our General Fund). You can also donate HERE for our special project in Amacho Wato. Choose your favorite program and don’t wait — you have one week!


Do you want to learn more about the Ethiopian New Year?

September 11, 2013. Ethiopian New Year, also called Enkutatash or Ri’se Awde Amet, is a significant holiday for Ethiopians.  New Year’s Eve is sometimes spent attending the church or mosque.

On New Year’s Day, there is much celebrating, good food, family, and neighborhood friendliness. If a family can, they will purchase new clothes for their children. The children will get together and go from home to home singing and collecting coins (birr). The girls sing in groups during the day, followed by groups of boys on New Year’s night.

Evening ends with coffee and children who have spent their coins on candy at the local suk.  The holiday occurs on September 11 in the Gregorian calendar, except for the year before each Western Leap Year, when it occurs on September 12.



Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. We appreciate your support of our program and of Ethiopia’s national soccer team!


“Kirempt” – Rainy season field report

The rainy season in Ethiopia, called “kirempt” is coming to an end. In mid-September, students will return to school and robust foot traffic and bus traffic will resume on the roads in rural Ethiopia.

Our team reports that the conditions in the field have been difficult this season. Roads have been impassable and moving from one place to another for the market, visiting, and communication has been very slow and arduous. In some more remote areas, travel has nearly stopped.

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Our field team writes:

“Most of the days of the week it has been raining for about 8 hours. Most of the time it starts early in the morning and ends at 3pm. The temperature is cold… it has been in between 6 C (43 F) and 10 C (50 F) evening and morning. About 15 C (59 F)  afternoon for some days. It has felt cold and wet every day.”

In Hadiya, the farmers have started planting their fields with wheat, bean, peas, and teff. The challenge for the farmers in the area is the muddy soil. All farmers struggle to work through this season with hand-hewn tools and the heft of their own labor.  One will rarely ever see a mechanical field tool in use in this area.

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Our field team has also shared with us that many farmers and families are already discussing the harvests expected this fall.  We are told the harvest for coffee is good in Kembata Tembaro. Unfortunately, the harvest for cereals is not expected to be as good this year. In other troubling news, the ginger harvest has been impacted by disease and we are told: “many farmers are in worries.”

Roots Ethiopia has a busy season planned. We, like our team members in Ethiopia, are at the ready to strengthen and grow our program with new IGA’s (income generating activities) and adding students to our school enrollments. We will also be purchasing textbooks to complete Phase I of our Amacho Wato School Learning Resources Project — so that books are ready to be put in students hands when they walk through the building.

You can be a part of our work. Please donate or let us know if you’d like to lead a fundraising event. We can help you get started by emailing us at

Amacho Wato School Learning Resources Project

Roots Ethiopia has a fantastic and engaged Board of Directors and Advisory Board. One of our members, June, is doing big things for our community of learners in the areas we serve.

June has partnered with our friend Desta to address the needs of a local school that is in the process of transitioning from a primary school and adding 9th and 10th-grade students.

June and Desta know this area well. June has traveled there as recently as May, and Desta grew up in this region.  Together with Roots Ethiopia, this team is ready to make a difference. Read how — , and while you’re at it, donate and WIN A MESOB!

You can donate any time on our secure donation site. Thank you for your support, and thank you for dreaming big with us!

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(image of Amacho Wato School grounds, May 2012)


Meet S: An Example of Community Collaboration

Meet S. She is 14 years old and in 5th grade.

S and her three siblings live together in a local Kembata Tembaro village. Despite the loss of both of their parents, the children thrive under comprehensive community care.  Their story is one that represents local solutions grounded in careful and caring collaboration.

For example, their home is provided by a local businessman. All four children attend school, each with their own sponsorship; Roots Ethiopia, Meserete Kristos Church, a local elder’s family, and another local church.  These children continue to live together and are growing up in their home community with hope and stability.

Roots Ethiopia values community partnerships. One excellent outcome of working with our field partner is the ability to join local efforts to protect and care for vulnerable children using well established collaborative community strategies. Church communities have long been the local social service providers and caregivers to the vulnerable in Ethiopia.

We are proud to be part of the caring collaboration that is sustaining S and her siblings.


School Sponsorship Campaign Underway for 2013-2014

Our school sponsorship campaign is underway! In the next 8 weeks Roots Ethiopia will raise $9120 to send children to school in the Kembata-Tembaro and surrounding areas through our school sponsorship program.

Schooling is deemed one of the top priorities of the country and is certainly a top priority for families in southern Ethiopia. Families yearn to have their children attend school. Some children have never had the privilege of school. Other families have had seasons of school followed by seasons without school. All of these families and children dream of attending school free of instability and interruption.

Roots Ethiopia school sponsorships have changed the lives of 38 kids – – – 38 kids for whom the barriers to education have been removed! Kids and families feel hopeful and assured that schooling is their present and their future. Re-enrolling our students is a top priority for Roots Ethiopia. Adding new students to our program is essential to meeting the needs of vulnerable families.

Our program’s sponsored children live in towns such as Hosanna, Hadero, Gimbicho, and Mudula.  They also live in rural locations such as Angecha, Kacha Bira, and Bonosha. The $240 annual fee for school sponsorship includes comprehensive support for students. Roots Ethiopia school sponsorships provide school supplies and uniforms, nutritional and medical support, and psychosocial support for any families facing obstacles sending their children to school. Funds also cover tuition if the children attend a private school. We currently have some students in kindergarten, and all kindergartens in Ethiopia are private and require a small tuition payment.

We want YOU to join our campaign and be part of our school sponsorship team.  Please donate today and help us meet our goal! Our campaign ends April 30 — and we’ll keep you updated on our progress via Twitter, the blog, and Facebook.

We thank you for your support and your encouragement, but more importantly, the kids thank you!

Livestock IGA Changes Lives

One of our micro-grant recipients is a hardworking father. Illness, hard economic times, and consecutive difficult growing seasons nearly brought ruin to his family. Roots Ethiopia provided him with an income generating grant and he immediately got to work.

During a team field visit, we met him in the Doyogena Livestock Market selling livestock. He shared the details of his work with us,

“it costs about 2000 birr to purchase a nice ox at a local wholesale price.  I can sell the ox at the local market for 2100 birr. I sell this way maybe 3-4 ox per week at two different markets. This work saved my family from hunger.”

His profit of about 400 ETB per week ($21.50 USD)  provides his family with nutritional stability, allowed them to purchase an ox for their own family farming,  and a milk cow to supplement their diet.

Stability has also meant all of the children are regularly attending school. This is the kind of sustainable success that generates growing returns to a hard-working family and makes us all Roots Ethiopia enthusiasts!

2012 Grain Drive

In May 2012, Roots Ethiopia visited Hadiya, Kembata, and Tembaro zones to evaluate our programs with Meseret Kristos Church (MKC). We visited Hosanna, Doyogena, Hadero, and Shinshecho church headquarters. During our meetings, in every case, when we asked church leaders to share their concerns about needs in the area, the overwhelming response was hunger.

Hunger impacts so many people in Ethiopia, especially during the time when late rains delay the season’s harvest. Experts suggested that this year the late start of the rain meant the early July harvest would be delayed until late August and early September. Called ‘green hunger’, this time is particularly difficult for the very young, the very old, and anyone suffering from both chronic and acute illnesses. Hunger impacts everything and everyone.

This information put Roots Ethiopia’s Grain Crew 2012 into action. Roots Ethiopia raised $5,156.14 USD in funds for MKC to plan and distribute grains to the neediest and most vulnerable families in their communities. Funds were sent in early June—our donors were quick and compassionate responders!

The grain distribution was completed at five locations in early July. The locations of distribution were Shinshecho, Hadero, Tunto, Bonosha and Gimbichu.


MKC church staff supplied 165 families with enough food to last six weeks per family. The supplies included 50 kilograms of maize, three liters of cooking oil and some produce. The food supply was calculated to last through August, when the harvest is estimated to occur and when additional food resources will be available to families in the region.

Through their ongoing community service in the region, MKC was able to identify the most vulnerable families in the region. Largely, they were women-led households and particularly households without any land to farm.

Roots Ethiopia celebrates Grain Crew 2012 as a great success. Our work is work that is well worth doing.

“When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion” – Ethiopian Proverb

Site Visit: November 2011

Our first site visit is complete and the trip went fabulously. There is a lot of good work going on as the result of Roots Ethiopia’s support, and much more to be done. We’re excited about what the next several years will bring.

Some General Observations – our first year in operation

School sponsorships make an immediate impact
In the communities where families have received school sponsorships, it’s easy to see where our money is being spent and both the short- and long-term impact it will have on children and families.

Income-generating activities (IGAs) take longer to establish but have the potential to also afford children the opportunity to go to school. If families can develop a steady source of income, they are far more likely to be able to afford the expenses (both in fees and in lost productivity) associated with sending a child to school. For us this means that it makes sense, over the long-term, to work with Meseret Kristos Church to try to transition families from school sponsorships to income-generating activities.

Income-Generating Activities

As of our visit in May, Roots Ethiopia was funding 10 income-generating activities—three in Shinshecho, five in Hadero and two in Doyogena.

Typical IGAs that have been supported thus far include the creation of occupations such as coffee selling, fruit selling, and oxen purchasing. MKC evaluates the success of these programs at the three- and six-month mark, which means none of the IGAs Roots Ethiopia has supported have been fully evaluated yet.

Before receiving funding, recipients of an IGA participate in small business training, and in the assessments, they provide profit reports, complete a self-evaluation and report back on their saving strategies. Occasionally, at the three-month mark, MKC will suggest a change in course for the business structure, based on feedback the recipient has provided.

The team was able to visit a handful of implemented IGA programs, including a woman who received livestock and another woman who is now managing a fruit stand at the market. Anecdotally, we can tell you that things sound like they’re going well, however, we now recognize that IGAs are more expensive to implement than we initially estimated they would be. Realistically, it costs approximately $400 to underwrite an IGA from initiation through to the sixth month of operation.

School Sponsorships

As of our visit in May, Roots Ethiopia was funding 20 school sponsorships—five in Shinshecho, nine in Hadero and six in Doyogena.

The school sponsorship program is running well, and we’re funding the sponsorships at the appropriate level (approximately $240 for a private kindergarten and $60 for a government school). MKC is concerned about what will happen if our level of support drops off in future years because they want the children to feel confident that they can continue with their schooling year after year. We appreciate that concern and want to make sure we’re building in a mechanism by which current donors are re-solicited on an annual basis. We also want to maintain an ongoing commitment to these children.


MKC will provide Roots Ethiopia with field reports on a biannual basis. They will also provide an annual report. Roots Ethiopia will, in turn, share this information with its giving circle.


MKC staff stressed a couple of factors that will influence the success of our program long-term.

The number one concern they discussed is hunger. If people are hungry and can’t get enough food to eat, all other programs fail. This inspired our most recent grain drive.

Secondly, they discussed the lack of schools in some of the areas we are trying to serve. Even in Hadero, which already has two private kindergartens, they explained that there is not enough space in the schools for all the village’s children. Building schools remains important work in this region.

Some Goals Moving Forward

  1. Adequately fund the income-generating activities that we’ve currently committed to.
  2. Continue to fund more income-generating activities.
  3. Increase the number of school sponsorships we underwrite.
  4. Design a process by which donors are solicited annually for school sponsorship commitments.
  5. Make it easy for all current donors to give on a recurring basis.