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Blog category: 2015
1st Dec 2015
Written by Muna
World AIDS Day takes place on December 1st. It’s a day to highlight the continuing spread of HIV and the need to fight discrimination, social stigma and support sufferers of HIV. At the same time we must not forget to acknowledge the progress that has been made and how close the world is to seeing an end to this viral disease. On this day many events take place around the world and people are invited to wear a red ribbon in solidarity.Click to expand
When HIV first emerged into the public eye in the 1980s, there was very little information available about the disease, how it was contracted and methods of treatment. There was no clarification made between the difference of HIV and AIDS. Forty-five years on, we know much more. HIV remains one of the worst global epidemics the world has endured, but many improvements in treatment have been made, such as anti-retroviral treatment.
Combating the disease was part of the Millennium Development Goals set up by the UN. It’s bulleted as Goal number six- ‘To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases’. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Reports, 83 countries have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. So in many places, MDG6 was achieved many months ahead of schedule.
We can celebrate this success today, but we can’t forget that the fight continues.
“Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
“We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment—15 million success stories.”
Many more success stories can be told in the future. Prevention is key, and education is a powerful tool to be used for this. Raising awareness has prevented many people in contracting HIV. Not only educating adults and children about prevention and contraception, but also about recognizing symptoms and to get tested. Finally, education helps make us all more compassionate, sympathetic and understanding of our compatriots who have suffered through this disease.
For example, educated mothers are more likely to seek testing during pregnancy and to know that HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding. They are also more likely to know that the mother-to-child transmission can be reduced by taking anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy; only 27% of women with no education in Malawi were aware of this, compared with 60% of women with secondary education or higher, according to EFAGMR.
EFA Global Monitoring Reports has also stated that young people who have stayed in school longer are more aware of HIV and AIDS. Therefore ensuring all children have access to school is essential. They are more inclined to take protective measures such as using condoms, getting tested and discussing AIDS with their partners. Schooling reduces the risk of HIV infection – but needs to play a bigger part in communicating knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
Since 1996 Link Ethiopia has striven to provide children in Ethiopia with better school materials and improved the quality of education in many Ethiopian schools. We have gathered school resources about HIV/AIDS and encourage teachers and tutors to use these school resources on this special day to educate children about the viral disease. Click on the links below or visit www.linkethiopia.org/school-resources for more school resources.
Hand-out 1: Current state of AIDS
Hand-out 2: Article Jigsaw
16th Nov 2015
Written by Zemene
Its not very often that donors to development organisations get to see exactly how their money has been spent, and that’s why I was delighted that young Misha, along with his mother and young brother, were able to come with me to visit Chihira school, in rural Amhara, to see the results of his committed fundraising. Chihira school is only accessible by foot – its about a 45 minute walk from the main road. However, given that a sponsored walk had been Misha’s main fundraising activity (177 miles walking along Offa’s Dyke!) I didn’t think he would mind!
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Whilst great strides have been made in education in Ethiopia recently, there unfortunately remains a large gap in both access to, and quality of, education between urban and rural areas. The inaccessibility of rural schools makes them harder to support, and the more agrarian way of life in rural areas, where large amounts of time have to be devoted to farming livestock and tending to crops, means that rural schools suffer from limited resources.
In 2013 Misha had raised £2,534.05 and with this money we were able to build 2 new classrooms at Chihira School. By increasing the number of classrooms from 5 to 7, the school is now able to operate more efficiently, and now students are able to carry on schooling beyond Grade 5, without sacrificing the time available to the children to help with family tasks. This is crucial to ensuring that rural children do not drop out from school.
Misha was also able to fund our Donkey Library for one year, which means that the children at Chihira School have access to the wide variety of text and fiction books available from our roaming library. Our donkey carries books and an accompanying librarian, who visits 6 schools in the Northern Region of Ethiopia. For schools in rural areas of Ethiopia a library is an all too rare luxury and yet access to books is one of the most fundamental necessities for education. The donkey brings books to children in remote villages, giving them regular access to books on all subjects.
As well as spending time with the students and parents, to whom they donated some additional school resources, Misha and his family also got the opportunity to see the donkey library in action at Chihira. Once again thanks to Misha for supporting Chihira school!
23rd Oct 2015
Written by Muna
Ethiopia is becoming a land of business opportunities. There have been reports of many big hotel chains opening new branches in Ethiopia. It is confirmed that the Hilton Hotel will open in 2020 in Awassa, one of the fastest growing cities. Thanks to the new infrastructure, not only will the Ethiopian hospitality industry grow, but attract entrepreneurs worldwide as well. Ethiopia harbours at the moment uncountable entrepeneurs. Many of these entrepreneurs have successful local businesses.Click to expand
For example, Solomie Wassie- founder of B Honey. Solomie Wassie was included in an article about pop-up shops being a smart business plan two weeks ago. She gave her opinion on the subject. “The last thing you want is to get a business licence and get situated only to find you are not a viable business,” she told the BBC. Solomie’s story started from her mother’s garden. With excessive amount left from the garden, Ms. Solomie tried to figure out how to stand out in a market that is saturated with honey. She started to mix her honey with oranges and ginger. On her first day she sold 200 jars at the food bazaar. By selling infused honey she was able to give her customers something new but yet something familiar.
But your business doesn’t always need to stand out in the crowd. One of Link Ethiopia’s sponsored families has managed to expand and operate a business from their home. Link Ethiopia supported Chali, the head of the household, with a microfinance loan so she could make and sell injera from her house. Her business has quickly become a success. During the first two months she sold 80-120 injera per day and demand is only increasing. Thanks to the success of her business she can cover rent, living expenses, and her children no longer have food-related problems. She was also able to repay her microloan months before the due date.
After the popularity of her injera began to grow, Chali was able to expand her business with the involvement of a local savings and loan organisation. She bought a second hot plate and has hired a local woman, so is extending her entrepreneurial activities out into the local community. Recently she has been approached by a shop who was interested in selling her food, so the future looks increasingly bright. Now she made the big step to sell her injera that shop. If many people like Solomie and Chali start a (local) business, more jobs can be created and the economy in Ethiopia might grow on a fast rate.
9th Oct 2015
Written by Ben
Today is International Day of the Girl, and this year’s theme is adolescent girls. In 2000, the UN set the Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year, and 1 of the 8 goals was to ‘Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015’. Girls who were born in the turn of the millennium, are now adolescents, and the progress made under the MDGs has seen a closing of the gender gap in terms of primary and secondary enrolment across the Global South, and in Ethiopia.Click to expand
However, despite the great improvements, there still remain a number of challenges to overcome. Our research found that whilst Ethiopia had made great strides in ensuring that as many girls as boys now enrol in primary school, however at secondary school the gender gap remerges. Despite similar numbers of boys and girls starting secondary school education, many more boys complete secondary schools than girls, as challenges unique to girls hinder their attendance and attainment. For every 10 boys in secondary school in Ethiopia there are only 9 girls.
At Link Ethiopia we are entering a new phase in our support for Girls’ Education. We already ensure that over two-thirds of children on our child sponsorship programme are female to counter the increased risk of dropout. Our Gondar office has held its first meeting of the ‘Girls’ Education Steering Committee’, a community-based group comprised of local women from a range of backgrounds who meet monthly to guide Link Ethiopia’s female education policy.
The group is currently working on designing pilot projects to be run in 2016, which will focus on singular interventions targeted at a small number of girls, and are currently considering proposals such as girls’ accommodation blocks and expanding Girls’ Clubs in schools. Through careful monitoring and evaluation of the different pilot projects, Link Ethiopia will be able to build up a body of knowledge of the most effective ways to support girls in education. The most successful of these pilot projects will then be developed further, and expanded across Link Ethiopia’s schools.
Please support our Day of the Girl campaign to support the Girls Education Steering Committee and their pilot projects so that Link Ethiopia can increase it support for female education in Ethiopia and help close the gender gap. 100% of all donations that come through our website until 18th October will go towards funding our pilot projects programme, and you can donate here. If you’d like to fundraise for Girls’ Education email [email protected]. You can also spread the word about our work by sharing this blog post on social media with the hashtag #dayofthegirl.
Thanks for reading and watch this space for updates on our Girls’ Education projects.
1st Oct 2015
Link Ethiopia is partnered with SponsorHer!, a social fundraising platform connecting girls in Ethiopia with sponsors all over the world and leveraging the potential of expatriates and tourists. We are always happy to be work with people who are just as passionate about education in Ethiopia as we are. With the help of Fekat Circus, SponsorHer! were able to put on a wonderful show to many people and raise more than 1000 USD.
Written by SponsorHer!
Under the blue tent of Fekat Circus in the old centre of Addis Ababa, Piassa, adults and children impatiently wait for the circus show to start. Some minutes later, young acrobats jump, fly and roll over the scene, followed by talented jugglers and two funny clowns.Click to expand
The public holds its breath when two young girls climb up high under the circus roof just held by a simple rope and start doing breath taking acrobatics. Big applause sets in after each successful figure and even bigger so once the girls land safely on the ground again.
More than 150 people, mostly families, came to the magic circus afternoon last Sunday, 20thSeptember. Besides enjoying the wonderful show, they helped raise more than 1000 USD that will support four Ethiopian girls to attend Secondary School for the next school year.
Habtam and Eman, selected and accompanied by our partner MYSisters in Addis Ababa, and Hamelmal and Yezibalem, supported by our partner Link Ethiopia are among the best of their class, but their families struggle to support their school education. All four will start Secondary School this week in Grade 9. Secondary School in Ethiopia lasts 2 years and is followed by a two year preparatory class for university in Grade 11 and 12.
You can learn more about them by clicking on their name above, and if interested sign up to support them during all of their Secondary School career.
We greatly thank Fekat Circus for this wonderful show – circus art in its pure form. Fekat Circus enables professional and young artists alike to express themselves through corporal arts. Besides its professional shows, Fekat offers as a social endeavour circus training to disadvantaged children in Piassa and brings joy through clownery to sick children. This joy also spilled over to the public last Sunday, when artists, children and parents alike joined into a common dance at the end of the show.
Thank you everybody for coming and for your support of girls education!
16th Sep 2015
Written by Muna
It is important to help as much as possible during the refugee crisis. Raising awareness, donating money, certain items and even your time could make things better for the countless refugees coming to Europe. Teachers – you can contribute as well by educating students for who things might seem complicated or confusing. For example, do children really know what a refugee camp is? Where are they? Who builds them? What is life like for the people living there? We have found interesting resources for teachers to use as school resources which could bring up clearance about refugees- mainly on camps.
Click to expand
Home Across Lands is an award-winning feature documentary that explores the refugee experience through stories of several refugees from Eritrea resettling in the United States. The viewer gets a glimpse of how people live in refugee camps and some of the struggles they face. The documentary shows in depth that refugee camps aren’t the end station of many refugees’ lives. Many people feel caged and have nothing to do other than wait to see what the next day holds.
Shimelba Refugee Camp can’t offer many activities to civilians inside – life is stale and ‘on-hold’. We recommend that teachers and tutors show this documentary to pupils to start exploring questions about refugee camps, their purpose, their flaws and the people who live within them. It is a term that students have probably heard, especially in light of recent events, but may not know much more than the name. Go to Home Across Lands on Vimeo to see the trailer. If the movie is too long to show in class, the trailer could be just as useful. We also came up with a few questions that could help get you started:
- Why would someone leave a refugee camp near their home country and risk the dangerous journey to Europe?
- What are the motivations of people living in refugee camps?
- Do you think it’s easy to get a job and earn money when living in a refugee camp? If not, why not?
- Do you think children will receive access to a quality education in camps like Shimelba?
- Optional: In the full film, we see families resettling in America. What challenges do you think the Kunama will face while adjusting to their new lives and environment?
- How would you feel to live in a refugee camp?
- If you had to leave your home, what would you miss the most?
If the students have access to computers, Refugee Republic would be a good website for them to visit.
It is an amazingly interactive resource that lets you explore life in Domiz Camp, a Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq, home to around 64,000 predominantly Kurdish Syrian refugees. The website has a very detailed map and shows many routes on that map. Every route contains lots of photos, sound recordings and life stories of the refugees living there. Refugee Republic was a project set-up by a Dutch daily morning paper, named de Volkskrant. The web-documentary has won many prizes for their way of combining storytelling with visual work.
If you more interested in other refugee related topics, visit this article from Global Dimension. We also recommend to explore their website for more (global) resources and to bring the world in to your classroom.
12th Sep 2015
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.Click to expand
“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.”
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.”
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.
9th Sep 2015
Written by Muna
It was a busy week for our Summer football team, the Link Ethiopia Wolves.
The Wolves competed in four matches, battling through the group stages of the Gondar Under 17s Cup tournament, last week. The first game was against ‘Esufikir’. Both teams were strong and remained upbeat throughout the match. At the end of the first half, the score was 1-1.Click to expand
Despite the Wolves best efforts, Esufikir gained the upper hand and scored their second goal. Esufikir won the match 2-1.
The second game saw The Wolves facing ‘Brigata.’ After the Wolves defeat against Esufikir, they were more determined than ever to win this game. If they were to lose, they wouldn’t proceed to the semi-finals. The band of brothers, drawn from Link Ethiopia schools across Gondar, definitely didn’t want to go home yet.
In an early bout of energy and enthusiasm, The Wolves scored an early goal in the first half, which ended 2-0. In the second half, The Wolves kept energetic and sealed their victory with another goal. The final score was 3-0! This was one of their best scores, not to mention displays of skill and tenacity, yet. Things were looking up….
By winning the match against Brigata, the team entered the quarter-finals with confidence. The third game in a week was against a team called ‘Fuad Grocery’ – some of the participating teams come from schools or NGO’s, like ours. Fuad Grocery is one of the teams sponsored by a local business. Cheered on by growing numbers of avid fans the team won 2-1 and secured their reputation ahead of the semis. The Wolves were on a winning streak as the semi-finals approached and it was tense for all involved – from the players to their coach and the Link Ethiopia staff in Ethiopia and the UK. In the semi -final game they played against a team regarded as the best and most competitive competing in the tournament: ‘Medhanealem’ whose players loom larger-than-life and display a level of skill usually reserved for older players. Yet, despite this intimidating presence, The Wolves managed to score an early goal in the first half. Their tenacity and skilful defending saw The Wolves dig in and securing the match 1-0.
The Link Ethiopia Wolves have now qualified for the finals once again. They play against Esufikir – the only team they lost to this year. Last year our team made it to the finals, against ‘Kebele 03’and lost – on penalties! It was a tense and nerve racking final that ended in disappointment. We hope that this year the result will go better for the Wolves. We know they’re ready for this year’s finals and we can’t wait to see how they do.
8th Sep 2015
Written by Muna
In 1965, UNESCO has proclaimed that September 8th will be marked as International Literacy Day. Today is a day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. A day to remind everybody that reading and writing is one of the basic skills every person should and has the right to have. For over 55 years UNESCO has worked to ensure that literacy remains a priority on national and international agendas.
This year’s theme is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Projects and events are being held all around the world in dedication of this day. In New Zealand babies born on September 8th, get a free book so new parents can read to them straight away.Click to expand
Literacy is a fundamental human right and everybody should be able to have access to it. Many countries have worked on improving their education system and made many efforts to reduce national illiteracy rates. For example, since 1951 the overall literacy rate in India has increased from a mere 18.33% to 74.04%. On an average, literacy rates have went up by at least 9-10% every decade.
On education, children from Finland are more ahead than other countries. Teaching is a well-paid and respected profession and at start of 2016, Finnish children will start learning computer coding. Finland is known for their innovative ways of education. They don’t dub foreign shows, but rather use subtitles to encourage viewers into reading and learning a new language. The Scandinavian country also has a strong library culture. 80% of Finns visit the library regularly. On an average, each person borrows 10 books, DVD’s or magazines in a year. And the UK isn’t that far behind!
Finland ranks very high amongst developed countries in education and literacy. Link Ethiopia have been working hard to decrease the illiteracy rate in Ethiopia with our project work in schools. Not that long ago, Link Ethiopia started our Libraries and Literacy project. Just like Finland, our goal is to promote a culture of reading and combat low literacy levels in schools at the same time. The project’s objectives are:
- To improve children’s reading attainment in the early grades.
- To increase access to books and libraries for younger children.
- To encourage reading for pleasure.
- To improve early grade teachers’ confidence in teaching reading and English.
- To improve the quality of teaching through adoption of pedagogies of systematic phonics and reading comprehension techniques.
- To improve outcomes for those identified as weaker readers in secondary school.
We’ve seen success in the Libraries and Literacy. Since 2013, we have been able to expand the project over 46 schools and bringing the joy of reading to many children. Our missions continues as we try to including more schools in to the Libraries and Literacy project – join us.
7th Sep 2015
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?Click to expand
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.
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 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/03/refugee-crisis-what-can-you-do-to-help 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.