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Local pride and ownership

Ababiya’s family is just one of the families in Jimma who are experiencing significant improvements in their lives.

Ababiya, Habiba and two of their children smile in front of their family home.

“Life is good and it keeps getting better,” says Ababiya, who gets big nods from his wife Habiba as he talks about everything his family has been a part of since Plan arrived in Jimma.

“There is a change in our life, especially in health and education,” he says, crediting Plan’s infrastructure projects as big reasons for those improvements.

“Before the school was far from our area but now it’s adjacent to my home so all of my children go, except the last two because they are babies.”

The new clinic has also made a big difference, he says.

“We used to suffer from more diseases due to the absence of a health centre, but now we have a clinic with solar power and we are doing better.”

All along the way, community members like Ababiya have taken a hands-on role in our projects. They’re in the driver’s seat of their own development (and have to be for real change to take place), which explains the strong sense of local pride and ownership.

“I’ve participated in many project activities,” Ababiya explains. “I was one among the community members who collected and transported stone and sand during the construction of our children’s school, for instance.”

In the process, he says he has changed his views about community and citizenship and what’s possible when people work together.

“I have learned a lot about cooperation,” he says.

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