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Fall 2011 Jimma update

First steps

For the people of Jimma town, located in southwest Ethiopia, change and progress are about to become realities. The community sponsorship program has launched, bringing hope to more than 18,500 people, including more than 3,600 children, who will start to see a brighter future thanks to your support.

The first step down this road involves a thorough assessment of living conditions in the community. To ensure projects will have the maximum benefit for everyone, we invited all community members, including the most vulnerable, to take an active role in the consultation process. We talked to parents and community leaders, youth and children, and got their views on what works in their community and what needs to be improved. We explored different viewpoints to understand the needs of all residents. Together with community members, we prioritized to ensure your dollars will be invested where they will have the maximum impact.

Priorities for change

The assessment revealed certain inequities for girls and economic challenges for families. Even when girls have access to primary education, they often drop out of secondary school. It is usually only boys who have the opportunity to continue their education past age 14. Male-headed households have better economic opportunities as they are able to save more money than female-headed households. Sixty-two per cent of male-headed households were able to put away money in the last three months, compared to only 38 per cent of female-headed households.

As a result of the assessment, and extensive consultation with community members, key priorities were identified. These include:

  • Access to early childhood care and development
  • Improving primary school facilities and supplies
  • Improving access to clean water and sanitation
  • Enhancing economic security
  • Developing knowledge and skills to manage community projects independently.

What’s next

With issues like these identified, Plan can now focus initiatives and funds toward creating better awareness of the power of lifelong education, especially for girls, and improving access to education for all children. We will also introduce opportunities for livelihood and economic security for all families.

In the coming months, Plan is moving forward to establish and equip two early childhood care and development centres, train teachers and guardians on child care and development, and train 50 people on beekeeping so families will have a chance to improve their income.

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