News blog

Blog category: Ethiopian news

School Links Conference & British Council Training

Written by Tsegaye Alemneh & Rohan Moon

Link Ethiopia’s Annual School Links Conference and training is held in Bishoftu town and Adama town. The conference and the training took three consecutive days, 24 head teachers and 58 Link coordinators (teachers) from different schools participated in the training.


Teachers and Directors who attended the workshop

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The aim of this conference was to report the main activities of the School Links Scheme and provide a training that helps Link Schools improve the quality of teaching and learning through fostering core (21st century) skills in to the classrooms.

‘Introduction to the core skills’ and ‘critical thinking and problem solving’ are the topics of the courses delivered to the participants in collaboration with the British Council.

After the introduction to the core skills course, the participants have got hints about six core skills and how they can integrate in the classroom. The lists of the core skills are critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and imagination, communication and collaboration, citizenship, digital Literacy, student leadership and personal development. Among the six core skills, in depth training was delivered on critical thinking and problem solving.

In addition trainees, who delivered the training, are professionals that have had a lot of experiences in delivering different courses inside and outside the country. They are also validated by the external body to give this training.


The Charity working to improve the schools and educating systems in Ethiopia

The need for this training is emanated from the fact that on one hand many children are still out of school, but also the fact many children are in school, however these children are not learning the basics. This is badly affecting Ethiopia, which is a country located in Sub- Saharan Africa.

The participants got their own module which they could use for their future reference. The module introduces the idea of a plan-teach and reflect cycle. There was an opportunity during the workshop session to develop activity plans.


Educating the teachers on the school systems that helps to develop young children’s learnings

As the result of engaging with the workshop material, teachers and school leaders had an awareness of the need for school systems to develop young children with core skills. The teachers planned to use a number of highly effective teaching methods to enable them to implement the teaching of core skills.

The course suits all teachers who teach different subjects in the classroom of all grade levels. Link Ethiopia is working to provide opportunities so that many principals and teachers can be benefited from this training.

Two and half months after the implementation of this training, there was a monitoring process in which the participants shared their experiences of how they integrated the training into the classroom. Most of the participants mentioned that the way they taught became effective and their student’s achievement had increased.

The concerned government officials also evaluated the impacts of the training and reported to us saying that the training was “intensive but effective”

Posted in 2016, Ethiopian news, Projects, School links, Teacher Training |

Victory goes to The Wolves!

Written by Muna

You may have seen it on our Facebook page already this week, but we are pleased to announce that the Wolves won the Gondar Under-17s Cup Tournament! After battling through the group stages, quarters and semi-finals against colourfully named teams like ‘Fuad Grocery’ and ‘Medhanealem’, they tenaciously won the final against their rivals ’Esufikir’– a team who had previously trumped the Wolves 1-0 in the group stages. After their success we spoke to the members from the Link Ethiopia Wolves to tell us about that glorious day.


A late end to the rainy ‘Kiremt’ Summer season in Gondar meant the football pitch was in particularly bad shape for this year’s tournament.

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“On Monday, all my team members were confident that we would win. But I was a bit less confident.” said the Wolves’ coach Ermias Dejen. Even though the team was in high spirits in anticipation of the game, Ermias and the audience that day felt differently. In his opinion, 95% of the spectators were sure that our team would lose. The coach elaborates why they thought that:

It’s because Esufikir have been together for the last 4 years, both in the winter and summer. They train three or four days a week. My team only meets when the academic year is over. In terms of fitness and training, all the teams we faced were better than us. It seemed like we were an under-15 team while the others looked like under-20 teams.”


A tense half-time team huddle discusses the defensive tactics for the final half of the match.

During the final, the teams both played well and their friendly rivalry made itself known on the pitch. Esufikir may be good, but The Wolves were performing at the same level.

That’s because my players were better at controlling the ball” Ermias explains. We learned not to give up hope easily from them. We were also able to continue defending well to take them to the penalty shoot-out.” The tensest part of any game are penalties. The Wolves’ captain, Solomon, missed the first penalty, which left the team and fans crestfallen. But to everyone’s relief the team’s savior came in the form of our goalkeeper, Atirsaw. He blocked two penalties, which ended the game with The Wolves winning the Cup!

We asked Amanuel Tesfahun, lead striker for The Wolves, what his thoughts were about the game: “I didn’t expect to score that day. But all of us played the first 10 minutes well and created the chance to lead deep into our opponent’s territory into the last minutes. The fact that we scored first helped us to go all the way to the penalty shoot-out. But when they scored the equalizer we were all shell-shocked.”

He continues: “When our Captain missed the first penalty, I thought we were finished because this was what happened to our team in last year’s final. But with the heroic effort of the goalkeeper and the other penalty takers we were able to win it this time. Winning a cup is the ultimate success and it has made me very happy.”


Members of the team proudly displaying the winner’s cup.

Against all odds, our team proved that they were the best out there and claimed a triumphant winning. Throughout every match the Wolves played, they gained new supporters, which motivated them to win. Their coach has the final word: “The prize meant a lot to me personally. Link Ethiopia has been patient with me for the last three years. And now we have contributed our part to make Link Ethiopia well-known around Gondar.” We congratulate our underdogs, the Link Ethiopia Wolves, for winning the Cup in such nail-biting fashion!

We support the Wolves in Gondar, and another young team in Southern Ethiopia, as part of our commitment to supporting sports, fitness and physical education in schools and communities across Ethiopia.

Not only do these projects give young people a fantastic opportunity to be active and focused during the long Summer breaks from school, but they give young people something to be proud of – and be part of! This is invaluable for the communities in which we work, where young people face many challenges and a lack of local facilities for getting involved in activities such as sport. If you’d like to support this work, head over to our Projects and Donate pages to get involved.

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Projects, Sports, Uncategorized |

Ethiopia’s helping hand during refugee crisis

Written by Muna

Many refugees from Eritrea and South-Sudan try to flee to neighbouring countries for safety. Ethiopia and Kenya are some of the largest recipients of refugee’s in the world – a fact not that well known here in the West. But where do the refugees come from and what are they fleeing from?


Robert Stansfield/Department for International Development [CC BY-SA 2.0 or OGL], via Wikimedia Commons

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South Sudan
South Sudan has been in a conflict situation since soon after it declared its independence from Sudan – the two countries still harbour significant grievances against one another; a hangover from a decades-long civil war.
In South Sudan a civil war broke out at the end of 2013. Since then, conflict spread across the country until a ceasefire was signed in January 2014, followed by a peace agreement in August 2015.  Although there has been violence split along ethnic-tribal lines, this explanation of the conflict is overly simplified – weak state structures, a divisive leader, external pressures and a historical context of violent conflict closely linked to politics –  all contributed to the current situation.

Hospitals, clinics and schools were looted and destroyed during the fighting. In May, Médecins Sans Frontières had to escape a hospital where they were operating in Leer due to missile strikes. Approximately 200,000 people were unable to get medical attention. In Bentiu thousands of people fled to UN-controlled areas and spoke about how villages had been burned down, families were brutally separated, people being attacked or killed and many people, including woman and children, were abused and left behind in terrible conditions.

More than 1.5 million have been internally displaced in the country and more than 223,214 have found refuge in Ethiopia.


There is little information about the situation in Eritrea since the Eritrea government doesn’t share many official records. But what we do know paints a difficult picture.

There hasn’t been an election held since 1993. Since then the country has been ruled under a repressive regime. The media is censured and many journalists and critics have been arrested in the past. A UN rapporteur has been denied entry to the country, when the organisation try to investigate human rights in the African country. Furthermore, Eritreans cannot leave the country without permission from the authorities. They must first apply for an exit visa, but in practice almost no one gets such a visa, say human rights organizations. Eritrean men are in a state of what the Guardian describe as “indefinite military service”. Many citizens see no other option to flee, even when fleeing means risking their own lives at the border or on an overcrowded boat crossing the Mediterranean.  Nearly 360,000 refugees are being dealt with by the UNHCR as of 2014 – with nearly 106,859 in Ethiopia. 34,000 Eritrean refugees arrived in Italy last year. This makes Eritreans the second largest group to arrive in Italy by boat, after Syrians.


John Lavall, CC BY-SA 3.0

Ethiopia is a developing country that is tackling its own development, security, health and education challenges – but it has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence, persecution and hunger. Germany, with a GDP per capita of $48,226, received 96,830 asylum applications in the first 4 months of 2015 – by contrast, Ethiopia, whose GDP per capita stands at $1,455, received approximately 200,000 in the same period.

Link Ethiopia continues to work towards a situation where children and young people in Ethiopia have access to a quality education. Over the years, we’ve been able to impact the lives of over 100,000 children across 100 schools in Ethiopia. The more we can do to support Ethiopia while it offers safe haven to those fleeing violence, oppression, hunger and disease, the better. And, as Ethiopia and other developing countries are giving shelter to a huge number of refugees, surely here in the UK and Europe, we can do the same?

Go to to see a list of charities who are working to directly support refugees during the current crisis and check out the various ways you can help – from donating to volunteering your time and donating unwanted items.

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Other news, Uncategorized |

Ethiopian children more satisfied with school life than in the UK

Written by Muna

The Children’s Society and the University of York have spent a decade researching the well-being of children. Last week they published their findings in their fourth annual report, which you can find on The Children’s Society’s website.

For their research, they asked 60,000 children what matters in their lives. The questions were about subjects such as school satisfaction, bullying, teachers, body image, appearance and self-confidence.


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In the report, 84% of Ethiopian children ‘totally’ liked going to school, compared with 26% in the UK. Compared to other countries in the survey, children in England tended to report poor relationships with their teachers. England ranked 14th for satisfaction with teachers and 14th for children feeling that they were treated fairly by teachers. In every category Ethiopia ranked higher than the UK.

While the research questions are subjective ones, the results clearly show that feelings of satisfaction and happiness aren’t linked to a country’s wealth.
We are pleased that Ethiopia was ranked highest when it came to school enjoyment. Unfortunately, many children don’t have the opportunity to go to school which is why Link Ethiopia’s focus has always been on increasing access to quality education. Thanks to your support many more children are able to go to school, and enjoy it at the same time.

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Other news |

Malnutrition training with journalists & NGOs

By Tefera Teklu

Two-day training on tackling malnutrition was given to Amhara Regional State journalists in Bahir Dar by Save the Children Ethiopia.

The first day’s session – ‘Nutrition Basics and Why Nutrition Matters’ – was presented by Assistant Professor, Demewez M.H. from Food Science and Nutrition Department of Bahir Dar University. He stated that Ethiopia faces the four major forms of malnutrition: stunting (height-for-age), underweight (weight-for-age), wasting(weight-for-height) and low birth weight.

Group exercise (Tefera)

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He also said that school children who are affected by health and nutrition-related problems will have limited ability to thrive and benefit from education. Hence, a child who is undernourished is at risk of suffering from cognitive and physical impairment which impacts the quality of life as a child and as an adult. Besides this, stunted children are more likely to repeat grades in school or even drop out.

He suggested that a strong multi-sectoral coordination amongst the sectors of health, agriculture, education, water and sanitation, and women’s empowerment to efficiently and effectively use resources to tackle the problem.

Monitoring group discussions

The second day’s session focused on ‘Owning Nutrition – Media’s Role’ and ‘Media Reporting of Nutrition Issues’ which were presented by Dr. Million Shibeshi and Kenaw Gebreselassie of Save the Children and Tefera Teklu of Link Ethiopia. Link Ethiopia became a member of the Ethiopia Civil Society Coalition for Scaling Up Nutrition three months ago.

Group exercise (Kenaw)

Finally, Dr. Dejene Girma of Save the Children gave a talk on what the Ethiopia Civil Society Coalition for Scaling Up Nutrition is and what it is doing in the fight to tackle malnutrition. Stunting rate in Amhara Region is 52%, the highest from all the regions. Tigray Region with 51.4% and Afar Region with 50.2% are the other highly affected regions of Ethiopia.

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Other news, Uncategorized |

Ethiopia and Islam – a colourful (brief) history

Written by Cecilia

For Muslims Ethiopia has historically been the land of freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear.


An old man drinks coffee in Harar.

Ethiopia is considered “the heaven of the first migration or Hijra”. In 622 CE, some of the Prophet Muhammad’s followers, given the persecution they were subjected to in the city of Mecca, undertook their migration or journey to Ethiopia, where, there was a King who “did not wrong anyone”. Ethiopia was known as a land where its King Negus – or Al-Najashi – was a person in whose hands religious rights were respected and whose land was ruled with justice. The migration to Ethiopia that has laid down the foundations on which Islam was built, was the first migration in the history of Islam. Ethiopia is therefore a land that means freedom of expression and protection.

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Today Islam in Ethiopia is the second most widely practiced religion, after Orthodox Christianity. It is possible to count over 25 Million Muslims in Ethiopia – around 34% of the population. Ethiopia is also home to Harar. It is regarded as the fourth Holy city of Islam and is home to 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, as well as 102 shrines. UNESCO designated it’s old walled city – Harar Jugol – as a World Hertiage Site in 2006.


The Walled City of Harar

In the first half of the 20th Century and especially before 1991 – the date when EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) took power from the Socialist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam – Islam had been subject to oppression and marginalization from the state. But since this period, there is a new climate of religious freedom and tolerance.


One of Harar’s iconic mosques

Christian-Muslim relations in Ethiopia have generally been considered peaceful, although there have been minor episodes of tensions related to the construction of churches and mosques or public celebration of religious holidays.

On July 17th, Muslims around the world will celebrate the end of Ramadan and the fasting period with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. It is an occasion to thank Allah for the help and strength that have supported them throughout the previous month of fasting. The festival begins with the first sights of the new moon in the sky. Muslims adherents are invited to wear their best clothes, celebrate meals together and decorating their home, in an atmosphere of charity and forgiveness. During the Eid al-Fitr celebration last year the President of the Addis Ababa Supreme Council of Muslims called for the day to celebrate hope and progress and called on Ethiopian Muslims to participate in peace-building and development activities.


A mosque in Harar

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian culture, Ethiopian news, Global Education, Uncategorized |

Link Ethiopia & Nisir put pen to paper to promote education!

By Tefera Teklu

Link Ethiopia and Nisir Societal Development and Environmental Protection Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards the promotion of education and the culture of reading.

the signing ceremony

The signing ceremony

The agreement initiates cooperation between the two organisations to the advancement of reading culture in Ethiopia, research and community service. They have also agreed to look for opportunities to support each other financially by pursuing governmental, non-governmental and private funding for joint-projects.

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kids from the neighbourhood reading

Kids from the neighbourhood reading

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Rory Dillon, Project and Finance Manager of Link Ethiopia said:

“When I first saw the book box in Gondar I knew that Link Ethiopia and Nisir should be working together. I think it’s natural that we support each other. I hope in the future we will help turn Gondar into a town that loves to read.”

Link Ethiopia donated books at the ceremony

Link Ethiopia donated books at the ceremony

He also added he shares Ephrem’s idea that people in Gondar should see reading as fun is “exactly what Link Ethiopia is trying to achieve in schools.

Mr. Ephrem Biadgign, President of Nisir, for his part stated:

“Reading makes people better global citizens and the creation of such citizens will make our country’s future brighter.”

Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Projects, Uncategorized |

‘Beautiful by Sky Hormbrey’

Written by Laurence

The wonderful single ‘Beautiful’ is out now! The song, written and performed by Sky Hormbrey from Headington School, is raising money for their partner school in Ethiopia – Hamle 19!

The school have done amazing things over a Link relationship that has lasted many years. We really hope this amazing effort furthers the fantastic work they’re already engaged in.

You can download the song on iTunes here, and help us change lives through education:

Posted in 2015, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Global Education, Other news, Project expeditions, School links, Volunteering, Water and sanitation |

Volunteers: The tipping point

by Tefera Teklu

Tef n Hannah

with Hannah Ray, circa 2007

My favourite subject has always been English. And this was mainly because of my 5th grade teacher, Gashé (Amharic for Mr.) Tariku. He came to replace a fierce teacher, Gashé Shibabaw, who used to beat us, shout or stare at us menacingly for our inability to read. During Shibabaw’s reign of terror, some of us little brats devised a way to avoid his wrath. We persuaded our elder siblings to write the pronunciation for each English word in Amharic. But one day one of our classmates read a story very fast for a child at that grade level and Gashé Shibabaw grew suspicious. A day of reckoning finally came.


He ordered all of us to put our English exercise books on the table for scrutiny. Those of us who wrote the Amharic version of the English sounds were told to kneel and we were punished severely. Fortunately, soon after this incident, this teacher left our school for further education. Ironically, we all felt sad when he told us the news.

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Gashé Tariku was one of a rare breed of teachers in those days. He was funny, encouraging and patient. I personally made the most out of this tide of change. I gained a lot of confidence once I started to ask and answer questions or vice versa. I passed my exams with flying colours and thought I was doing well. However, because the focus was always on grammatical rules (we were encouraged to learn them by heart), I felt a bit of a let-down as soon as I joined Addis Ababa University to study English language and literature. I collided head-on with the fact that I sorely lacked in my writing and speaking skills, which seemed to be the dominant things we were forced to do. So every time I had a presentation or a written assignment to do, I felt very frustrated. Especially, my presentations were always a mess (hilarious for my classmates, torture for me).

with Matt and Chris at the Andinet

with Matt and Chris at the Andinet Hotel

Once, I memorised two pages for a presentation comparing and contrasting young versus old age. Towards the end of the first paragraph I got stuck with the phrase ‘regardless of’, which I repeated four times, the last one forcefully. When the professor told me to sit, my friends could no longer stifle their laughter. Another time, I did a term paper on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. But on the presentation I was mute. This time I was furious with myself. I went back to my dormitory and cried my eyes out. A series of incidents like this made me worried if I could be able to compete with my classmates, most of whom were from private or missionary schools, and still graduate.

In an effort to bring myself up to speed, I joined the British Council library. One day I was coming back from the British Council library with a borrowed grammar book; old habits die hard. One of my classmates I ran into admonished me not to rely on such books to improve my English. Instead, he suggested I should keep reading abridged fictions. Duly noted!

Amidst all this, I was presented with a wonderful opportunity. I met the director of Gondarlink (now Link Ethiopia) Mr Chris Grant in Addis Ababa who introduced me to Solomon. I was amongst the first students who benefitted through the letter exchange scheme in Gondar at Fasiledes School (my friend’s name was Elliott Smith). In Addis, Solomon and I began welcoming the volunteers, originally from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School but later from schools all over England. Solomon did all the talking and I did all the listening and nodding. I wonder if I was able to understand any of the conversations.

with Chris, Sachin and Solomon

with Chris, Sachin and Solomon

Unfortunately, one of the bright stars of this programme, Solomon, was suddenly out of radar. And I found myself as the only liaison between London and Addis Ababa. So when volunteers came, I welcomed them from the Bole Airport, took them to Andinet Hotel, show them around for two or three days and then saw them off to Gondar. The challenge to communicate and understand another culture began in earnest at this point and the rest is history.

After working in Mekelle University for the last six years, I am now back to Gondar, working for Link Ethiopia. It felt like a family reunion. But I wonder where all my teachers and the volunteers are now? What do they do? What do they look like? Heaven knows! I hope you are all doing well and I want to tell you all that I am grateful.

You will always be in my memories. Cheers!

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Posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Global Education, Other news, School links, Uncategorized, Volunteering |

Our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Written by Isabel

We have just published our Annual Report for 2013/2014 which is available to read here (link). We would like to thank you all for your support over the past year, and hope you continue on the journey with us! Below is a summary of what we have achieved with your help, and highlight of some of the work we’ve done over the past year. All of this, and more, is explored in more detail inside the report.


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Why Education?

Our work is completely focussed on changing lives through education. Whilst the impacts of schooling are experienced on an individual level, its benefits are multiplied to include families, communities and wider society. Among the benefits are an increased earning potential, a reduction in the infant mortality rate and an increase in average GDP by 0.37%.


Further than ensuring education becomes universal, we work with our link schools to provide a quality education. To ensure this, we have 5 main targets on which we focus:

• Infrastructure
• Teaching Quality
• Learning Resources
• Inclusion (of all social groups)
• Community Support

Below are some examples of the projects we have been involved in during the 2013-2014 period, each of which reflect one or more of our targets.

St. George’s School Project

‘Having worked with schools elsewhere in Ethiopia, I could see the huge contribution that St. Georges is making to improve education’
– Hannah, Teacher and LE Volunteer

Link Ethiopia supported the establishment of the St George’s School project, an initiative set up by the Northwood School Group here in the UK. St George’s, a not-for-profit non-government school, provides learning opportunities for a large intake of orphans and disadvantaged children from the local area.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

By March 2014, the core buildings were completed and already in use. The aim is for the project to continue to expand in order to provide schooling until Grade 12. A very big thank you to Broomwood Hall and the Northwood School Group for your vision and direction so far!

Case study: Dudmegn School, Gondar

In February 2014, we installed a water station of 24 new taps at Dudmegn School. Before the installation, the school was managing with just two functional taps for a population of over 2000 students. The wider availability of water in the school has resulted in a higher attendance rate among students. We are hugely thankful for the purchases made from our Gift Ethiopia shop,, and also for contributions made by the Mandala Trust, in addition to the supporters of our gift scheme.

Case study: Sincil School, Lincolnshire

At Sincil

The link between Sincil Sports College and Times Choice Academy in Bishoftu has been especially fruitful, and the partnership provided an opportunity for two students, Kyle and Ryan, to take part in the British Council funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ exchange programme. This was a great opportunity for the boys to visit Times Choice Academy, which they really enjoyed! We are also pleased to say that Sincil were awarded funding for a second ‘Connecting Classrooms’ trip. Well done and thank you to both schools for maintaining a strong and successful partnership.

Sponsorship case study: Tejitu


Tejitu, an 18 year old young woman from Bishoftu, has been sponsored by Link Ethiopia for approximately 5 years. Through our School Links, Volunteering and other project programmes, she has been able to gain confidence in her English language skills, engaged in global learning with students at her link school in the UK. She also helped to coordinate a ‘World Challenge’ trip at her own school, which helped her to further develop her global outlook and grow in confidence. We are extremely proud of her achievements and we look forward to seeing her fulfil her ambition of studying Biology at university.

Teaching Quality


Investing in quality teachers is central to providing a quality education. During the 2013-2014 year, we were able to train grade 1 and grade 2 teachers in the phonics method. We have observed fantastic results so far, among them a 77% increase in the number of students using the library and a 65% increase in test scores for students of the trained teachers.

You can flip through the report below (click in the middle to view fullscreen). Enjoy!

Click here to see the full report and hear about the above achievements in detail, as well as the results of our work on global awareness, learning resources, and inclusion. Once again, we want to thank our link schools for your dedication, fundraising and ideas – none of the above would be possible without your contributions. We look forward to future engagements and successes!

Posted in 2013, 2014, 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,