The people of Guerenarema welcomed us in July with this heartwarming celebration! We were there to check up on the progress our Women’s Strengthening project, and we were greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm from both the women and men of the community.
The people are thrilled that they have learned to read and write Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. This simple skill is an important step in improving their long term survival. They are better able to negotiate with merchants and communicate effectively with government officials in charge of providing them important services.
Two years ago Guerenarema was at the bottom of a long list of Dasenech communities unable to adapt to their rapidly changing environment. They had access to clean water, because they had participated in our WASH project in 2014-2015. But they had no school, no health facility, and no community-based microenterprise of any kind. Access to food was not dependable, and the people were barely subsisting. Their community was often in conflict with the adjacent Hamer people, because they were forced to compete for scarce grazing land and water for their livestock.
With the help of our funding partner Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship, we began a Women’s Strengthening project with the goal of improving economic empowerment and stability in this area.
The first step in this project was to provide more than 50 men and women our Integrated Functional Vocational Literacy classes. IFVL provides basic literacy and numeracy for adults while at the same time introducing new skills for food production and consumption, including chicken farming and gardening. You can see how proud they are by the messages they wrote on their hats!