The hardluck story of Girma Tsedalu and his family, among many garnered during the NearEastFoundation’s discovery process in Ethiopia, makes a telling point. Despite the best efforts of caring individuals, tragic forces in poor countries can thwart success and drag people back down. We can try to help individuals develop their capabilities; however, we must help entire communities use their assets for real progress to have a chance. Beginning with two prospecting trips to Ethiopia in 2001 and visits around the country, much discussion and further investigation since—who the un- and official players are, best approaches, needs and priorities, local partners etc.--NEF has run all the hurdles. We are now poised to begin working in Ethiopia once our request for registration is finalized and sufficient funding realized. Our proposed project will address those broader social and environmental issues that affect the Tsedalu family and other Ethiopians. There is also expectancy at Progynist, our proposed partner, a four-year-old Ethiopian nongovernmental organization based in the capital, Addis Ababa, founded and directed by an extraordinary woman, Netsanet Mengistu (see Interview with Development Workers on Practice, Participation, and Career Issues). In particular Progynist is dedicated to helping Ethiopian women and the poor take their full place in society, politics and economic development; and works hand-in-hand with its microfinance entity, Meklit, to further the cause of a just, more equal society for all. During the three-year initial phase, NEF plans to build partnerships, providing technical and financial support to Progynist and its partners for four development initiatives and pilot new and effective mechanisms for future financing of similar initiatives elsewhere in Ethiopia. Phase two will involve poverty reduction and natural resource management over the next three to five years. We will be working about 200 km south of the capital, in Butajira Township and with local peasant associations in Meskan and Mareko Woredas, among the most neglected areas in the country. For the majority of families, acute food shortages are the norm up to eight months of the year. Environmental conditions exacerbated by frequent natural calamities; illiteracy and low educational standards, particularly among adult women and girls; severe limitations to both on-and off-farm employment and overall low labor productivity; inadequate water supplies, poor water quality and associated public health concerns—together create considerable challenges to overcome.