Exams are often a stressful time for many students around the world, and even more so in countries where getting a quality education is the key to bridging the ever-widening divide of income inequality. Roots Ethiopia is making a difference by hosting and funding after-school tutoring for 8th-grade students preparing for their 8th-grade national exams. Continue reading “Setting Students Up for Success in Ethiopia”
Solar Power in Schools: Let There Be Light!
A teacher at a rural school tries to angle the mirror of a sunlight-illuminated microscope towards the window to light a biology slide. A student strains his eyes in the cool darkness of a classroom to read his textbook.
Often we take for granted the role that power generation plays in everyday education. But not in rural Ethiopia. In 2014, only 12.2% of the rural Ethiopian population had access to electricity (World Bank, OECD/IEA, 2014).
Reliable access to power can be a game changer in rural schools:
- Lights to read by can allow students to use indoor spaces for studying and use them into the early evening.
- Microscopes can be illuminated by power instead of relying on the proximity of windows and brightness of the day.
- Teachers can access the programs provided via Ethiopia’s educational radio and television network (EMA) to supplement their teaching.
- Teachers and students can use technology devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
- Alternative power sources, such as solar power, can reduce the reliance on expensive non-rechargeable lithium batteries, as well as reduce the health risks of lighting a space by kerosene lamps.
Roots Ethiopia has piloted solar panel installations in one of our newer schools, Lai Bedene Primary School in the Halaba Zone. With the money saved from using solar power for their educational radio, they are now planning to purchase a television for classroom use!
The installation was so successful that we have implemented it in two more rural schools…Legama Primary School in Wolayta, and Gomora Gewada Primary School in Kembata.
Reducing barriers that hold back rural schools from delivering a quality education is just one more way that Roots Ethiopia focuses its efforts on improving schools and educational quality.
Help us to light the way to academic success for more students in every Roots Ethiopia School!
2017: Year in Review
The past 12 months have been amazing for Roots Ethiopia. Our team has been hard at work to support local ideas for lasting change. You have made this a year of growth and excellence. As always, we could not have accomplished our work without your support. We have put together a list of ways YOU have made a difference – add a touch of coffee, some very long days on the road to remote villages, and a dedicated team, and 2017 is a year to remember. We are so grateful for your enduring support!
Happy New Year,
Learning Resource Projects:
3 NEW in 2017
- Wanja Primary School is a woman-led School in Halaba.
- 500 textbooks purchased for Ewoqet Chora Primary School’s first EVER library.
- Over 18,000 students and their families have enriched learning opportunities as part of their continued partnership with Roots Ethiopia.
1 VIP Latrine
(Ventilated Improved Pit)
with Menstrual Changing Room for Adolescent Girls
170 Students Attending School
Roots Ethiopia School Sponsorship
Highlights from our team:
- All children received backpacks, uniforms and school supplies, and they LOVED the SpongeBob backpacks this year.
- We rented a truck and delivered grain to all the families in our program.
- We listened to a lot of the hopes and dreams the children have for their futures, and we encouraged them to dream BIG!
3 Special Needs Classrooms:
2 NEW in 2017
Highlights from our team:
- Haile Bubamo Special Education classroom received special education toys for children to learn while playing.
- 10 children at Wanja Primary School were added to the Special Education roster.
- A classroom of 18 students in Halaba is now part of our program. There will be a daily snack and transportation to school added as a pilot program here.
60 New Women-Led Businesses
for 3 new Self-Help Entrepreneurs peer savings groups (SHE)
- Women in our new Usmancho SHE are very motivated to build a strong team for learning and sharing.
- The growth of SHE in Halaba Kulito means more women have joined our successful work there and have many successful mentors.
1 Office in Addis Ababa
NGO License & Country Director
*you are welcome to visit us in Hiya Hulet*
3 Teacher Training Programs
Highlights from our team:
- 2 professional teacher training for science teachers. Over 80 teachers trained in a University setting to help them create a hands-on science curriculum for their students.
- 1 professional teacher training held in Addis Ababa for 4 special education teachers.
The Roots Ethiopia Team
Roots Ethiopia Now Supports 12 Schools
This post is contributed by Lynn Steinberg, Roots Ethiopia Board Member, and member of the 2014 & 2015 Ethiopia Field Visit Team.
When I first started volunteering at Roots Ethiopia in 2013, I remember being completely moved when I read the update about the Amacho Wato Learning Resource Project (LRP) in Doyogena, Ethiopia. I had literally stumbled upon a grassroots, community-led organization operating in a region of Ethiopia that held a special place in my heart. I was “non-profit smitten” to say the least.
Books and desks were delivered to ninth and tenth-grade students at this rural school. This would increase students’ chances of passing the critical 10th grade National Exam in Ethiopia. Until this project, the students in this rural Kembata village had no textbooks to study from and no library space, making their chances of passing the test minimal at best.
Students must pass the 10th-grade exam in order to move on to grade 11. If they don’t pass, they are not allowed to repeat 10th grade. The dream of college or university ends if you fail this test. That’s it.
Fast forward a year, and I was in a meeting with the Principal at the Amacho Wato school hearing how test scores and attendance had improved greatly as a result of this school project. Outstanding!
I am sitting just across the table. It was such an honor!
Now it is 2016. I have blinked my eyes a few times, and Roots Ethiopia now supports 12 schools in Southern Ethiopia with 13 Outreach Centers! We have grown to operate in 5 zones throughout the region. We have a loyal group of recurring donors who trust the impact their monthly donations make over time in struggling communities. Our growth is astonishing, and our commitment to rural communities never falters. Roots Ethiopia is sleek and smart and we are dialed in deep to the communities we serve.
You will love this map created by Desta, Roots Ethiopia Program Officer, and local expert.
On behalf of Roots Ethiopia’s Board of Directors and our entire team in Ethiopia, I’m pleased to officially announce 3 additional Learning Resource Projects – Yelignaw Gimbichu in Hadiya, Gedalao, and Walena in Kembata.
As always, we will update you as these projects reach completion. If you would like to support a Learning Resource Project in Ethiopia, please donate!
Roots Ethiopia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in Africa, specifically helping Southern Ethiopia. Roots Ethiopia supports community identified solutions for job creation and education.
Did you find this post informative? Please share it by clicking one of the share buttons below!
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.
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.
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
- Adequately fund the income-generating activities that we’ve currently committed to.
- Continue to fund more income-generating activities.
- Increase the number of school sponsorships we underwrite.
- Design a process by which donors are solicited annually for school sponsorship commitments.
- Make it easy for all current donors to give on a recurring basis.
You must be logged in to post a comment.