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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Women are a powerful force for change in communities throughout southern Ethiopia


Elfinish Abate is among a determined group of women helping lead their families and community of Wabe Shore out of poverty by creating and nurturing a community-based economy that benefits everyone.

Located in southern Ethiopia, Wabe Shore was among the poorest communities in the region until the completion of a gravity-fed water system funded by HOPE International Development Agency donors. The system provides clean water to 13,800 people living in the remote community nestled in the rugged hills that characterize the region. The hygiene and sanitation education that accompanies the arrival of clean water in a community ensures that the benefits of clean water, including good health, and a significant reduction in illness, are fully available to the entire community.

Having clean water available right in the community is doing more than improving the health of families in the community; it is providing the foundation upon which families are beginning their journey from poverty to prosperity.

Self-help groups are playing a crucial role in providing women with opportunities to create positive change in their lives and their communities.

The knowledge, resources, and confidence gained through participation in self-help groups creates a thriving community-based economy driven by women who are determined to transform, for the better, their families and their communities.

Elfinish and 19 of her friends and neighbours are members of a self-help group in Wabe Shore established after the water system was completed. The group gathers to learn how to successfully start and run small businesses, increase family savings, and most importantly, work together to overcome poverty. Most of the women in the group generate income by weaving traditional clothing to sell at the market.

Before joining the group, Elfinish did not have the knowledge or resources needed to improve her family’s quality of life.

After receiving training and a small loan from the group’s loan savings fund, Elfinish opened a small shop attached to her home, selling tea and small household items. Inspired by her success, Elfinish then invested her profit back into her business and purchased a sewing machine which she uses to create beautiful dresses and other clothing that she sells at the market and shop.

Working together to create solutions to poverty by developing businesses often creates unforeseen, highly beneficial outcomes.

Elfinish and her group meet to discuss and help solve social challenges in their community, including resolving family issues such as marital disputes. They also support community members through times of birth, death, or illness. This positive social change is being driven by women like Elfinish and her group members. They are now finding themselves better able to respond to the core issues that affect their community. Women and their children are among the most vulnerable in rural Ethiopia. Self -help groups enable women to create and participate in solutions that significantly improve life for them, their children, and their communities.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Join us this for dinner this Spring and help thousands of people in Nepal transform their lives.

You'll enjoy a wonderful meal, the company of friends, silent and live auctions, great music, a short feature film shot on location in Nepal, and an important opportunity to transform lives through your giving.

HOPE International Development Agency has been helping families worldwide since 1975, enabling them to transform their lives as they gain access to clean water, education, training, and new ways to earn income and grow more food.

See locations and dates.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clean water is the beginning of positive, community-driven change

Recently, 1,600 indigenous people living on the Philippine island of Mindanao celebrated the completion of six water systems that will give them access to a reliable source of clean water in their communities. In addition to clean water, people are also receiving sanitation education which will give them the knowledge they need in order to improve their health.

At HOPE International Development Agency, we celebrated as well because the arrival of clean water marks the first step in a journey from poverty to self-sufficiency for indigenous families on Mindanao.

Beyond the abundant supply of clean water that the systems bring to communities, they also act as a catalyst for further positive changes across all aspects of family and community life. The relationships formed during the development and construction of the water systems enable people to partner with each other to transform their lives and communities. The perspectives of community members begin to change when they take action, like building a water system. People begin thinking about what is possible and start working together, as a community, to solve other challenges they face.

Helping people learn how to work together results in communities self-identifying what needs to be addressed and then collaborating to make change happen. Eventually, communities are able to move forward on their own, without having to look for external support of motivation.

The benefits of clean water go well beyond a significant reduction in the incidence of water-borne diseases. Families are able to spend time improving their households, growing more food, and thinking of new ways to thrive, rather than simply survive. Children are able to attend school because they do not have to spend much of their days searching for water.

The results speak for themselves
In a recent survey of community members expressed their opinions on key issues.

Before
65% of people surveyed gather their drinking water from contaminated sources.

After
100% of people surveyed now access clean water within 25 metres of their homes.

Before
78% of people surveyed were dissatisfied with their water sources due to the long distances from their homes.

After
100% of people are satisfied with their new water systems because the water is clean and nearby.