NEF 2004 Annual Report - Near East Foundation

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NEF 2004 Annual Report - Near East Foundation

The situation of women is particularly desperate with the majority living in destitution and

misery. Fertility rates are among the highest in Ethiopia. Local women give birth to as many as

13 children—of whom half die at birth or during infancy. And since work is so hard to come by,

the highly-fragile environment in many areas has been depleted by years of over-exploitation

by the use of plants and trees for household purposes and by charcoal production, the only

livelihood available for many families.

NEF, in partnership with Progynist, hopes to address these problems with an integrated

development project that will demonstrate a way to a better life. The plan has a number of

goals. It will establish a fully functioning, community-operated health clinic. On the education

front, the aim is a community-based literacy and non-formal education center, where none

now exists, for 500 children with special focus on girls.

Also, NEF will work with Progynist on the design and

construction of a model system for the transport and

distribution of potable water to convenient locations

within a single village. Based on research data on the

abuses against girls and women, NEF will help

organize trainers in human rights, legal services to

women and children, and community organizing as

well as develop advocacy materials.

Rather than implement community projects of our

own, NEF will use its expertise in institution-building

and work with Progynist and other local associations to

upgrade their capabilities, mobilize finances, plan,

implement and evaluate. This approach fits well NEF’s

commitment to responsible development by building

local capacity to sustain changes. All the while, gender sensitivity will be promoted and

opportunities provided for the increased participation by women and girls in development. The

second phase of the project will emphasize increasing income, enhanced food security and a

balanced respect for the environment with community-based nurseries for starters.

“From the Near East Foundation’s perspective, this broader initiative with its

multiple issues, wide range of associated activities, and strong partner relations,

provides an ideal opportunity for initial NEF involvement in Ethiopia. Project

objectives, the location, enthusiastic local leadership, and local government

involvement, provide an opportunity for new and creative approaches to project

development and financing, potentials for increased community participation,

leadership development, and later expansion of project activities, both within and

beyond the initial project area. There are many lessons that can be learned from

this activity. These could positively affect local development as well as the planning

and implementation of future local initiatives.”

- Roger Hardister

Regional Director, Near East Foundation

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© 2004 The Near East Foundation

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