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Welcome to
Jimma, Ethiopia

Smiling girls from Jimma Smiling girls from Jimma

The cradle of humankind, source of the Nile River and birthplace of the coffee bean, Ethiopia is, undoubtedly, one of the most fascinating places on earth. The only African country to never be colonized, Ethiopia's storied history -– throughout its fertile highlands to its expansive deserts -– has left it laden with treasures, ranging from ancient tombs to 17th-century castles. However, there is another side to Ethiopia than what is revealed in the standard tourist stops.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in Africa. One third of the country’s people survive on less than $1 per day, forcing many children to work in order to help support their family, instead of going to school. In addition, one in five children are born underweight and 64 per cent of adults are illiterate.

Ethiopia's statistics are a reality in the rural community of Jimma. Girls walk many kilometres to collect often contaminated water, and school infrastructure is so poor that teachers are forced to teach classes outside under the sweltering sun. Basic knowledge of nutrition is severely low, causing malnutrition in many of Jimma's children. Additionally, like the rest of the country, a significant number of adults cannot read or write.

Because of your support, this is about to change. Your commitment will help change the lives of Jimma’s children, allowing them to grow into educated and empowered adults who, in turn, will teach their children about the strength they possess. It’s a virtuous cycle that will change the face of Jimma and the developing world.

Facts about Jimma

Two boys walking together

Education

While primary school structures do exist, they are so dilapidated that learning has to happen under the hot, sweltering sun. When class is taught inside, classrooms are overcrowded and there is a serious shortage of desks, chairs, chalkboards and reference books. Additionally, teachers have not received training in up-to-date learning methods in a number of years.

Schools lack essential facilities such as toilets and clean water and teaching is constrained by supplies like student desks, reference books and playing materials.

  • Children as young as 8 walk 7km to school each day.
Group of children with their hands up

Health

The health care services in Jimma are constrained by a limited number of health institutions, skilled healthcare providers, equipment and essential drugs. Lack of skill and knowledge about the production and preparation of nutritious food is primarily responsible for malnutrition in children.

  • Only 28% of children in Jimma are fully immunized by their first birthday.
  • Less than 40% of babies are delivered at health facilities with trained birth attendants.
A young girl holding up a yellow water jug

Clean water

Families in Jimma rely entirely on unsafe water sources, including open stream, unprotected hand-dug wells and unprotected springs, exposing community members to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, and typhoid.

  • 80% of the population has no access to clean water supply, far below the national and regional averages.
  • More than 80% of the population has no toilet facilities.
  • Less than 5% of the population is exercising good hygiene practice such as hand washing.
Woman standing by a bushel of sticks

Livelihood

Crop production and livestock-keeping is the dominant means of earning livelihood in Jimma. Maize, sorghum and teff are the staple food crops while coffee is the major cash crop. Jimma is a community entirely dependent on rain fed agriculture and has low understanding of technologies, making this population highly vulnerable to food insecurity. Households, particularly the poor and female headed, lack knowledge and capacity to properly feed their children and cannot cover even the smallest tuition fees.

  • 65-70% of adults in Jimma are illiterate.

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A mother and father with their two young children
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