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December 10, 2008

Sustaining long-term initiatives in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABEBA, Ethiopia – Nokia has as history of getting deeply involved with local initiatives in crises situations across the globe, including Africa where it worked with the Red Cross in Ghana to assist with the long-term repairing of communities hit by the floods of 2007 and the civil turmoil in Kenya earlier this year. Most recently Nokia, Nokia Siemens and Save the Children Finland have formed a partnership to build and deliver a sustained strategy for helping families in the area of Alaba Special Woreda in central Ethiopia, where drought has imposed terrible adversity on local children.

The drought has inevitably led to poor sanitation, disease and children losing out on education because they’re being forced to drop out of school early as a result of incomes being driven down because of the difficulties of raising cattle and increased food prices.

Micheline Ntiru is Head of Community Involvement for Nokia Middle East and Africa, and explains why this fresh collaboration and perpetuated effort is so crucial:

“This partnership emanates from the belief that the solutions to emergency situations have to be driven by long-term sustainable efforts that centre on community uplifment. Forging partnerships with the local government and community is paramount to bringing meaningful change in any community”

Five education centers will be stocked with books and fitted with solar panels to provide electricity by tapping into natural energy sources. This long-term initiative has been tailored to empower the local community with the skills, knowhow and tools to be able to manage and sustain six new water points that are being set up in the area. Plus, hygiene education is high on the agenda, as is building strategies that will help parents be able to keep their children at school, with the likes of cash-for-work initiatives.

Micheline goes on to talk about why education plays such a critical role in this sort of project:

“While we are focusing on alleviating the community from the prevailing drought and famine, we also believe that providing the youth with education will go a long way in opening up opportunities later in life that will enable them and the next generations to rise out of poverty”

Let us know your thoughts.

Photo from treesftf