In August 2006 Warren Creates, President of the Can-Go Afar Foundation and a prominent lawyer in Canada, was invited by the Afar community in Canada to attend and participate in the Afar Development Conference in Assayati, a small town in a very remote part of Northern Ethiopia. He traveled to the Afar Regional State with Ahmed Mohamed, a community leader of the Afar people in Canada, notable for his strong courage and determination to help the Afar people back in Africa, who are displaced and severely disadvantaged.
During their visit to the Afar Regional State, the needs and challenges that the Afar people were facing became quickly evident. They ranged from assisting the Afar refugees from the neighboring countries of Eritrea and Djibouti, to providing food security, addressing health issues, education and literacy, and the provision of fresh water.
The efforts to help the ancient nomadic Afar people, and to raise awareness for the voiceless, soon materialized into some concrete projects undertaken upon their return to Canada. With the assistance and support of Ottawa’s philanthropist, David Smith, one container of medical supplies was shipped to Ethiopia to assist a medical center in the Afar Region. It was followed by the joint contribution of the Afar community and lawyers of the Canadian Bar Association, who sent $5,000 to be used to feed 1,000 people, providing interim aid until UN relief arrived in the area. In addition, the famous Canadian poet Don McKay, who won the coveted Griffin Award for Poetry in 2007, donated $5,000 as seed money for aid, using part of his Griffin Award to support worthy causes like helping the Afar people.
These humanitarian and awareness-raising efforts in Canada culminated with the organizing of “An Evening with the Afar”, the first major Afar fundraising event in Canada, where approximately 200 supporters were gathered to celebrate the Afar culture and donate money to help the Afar people in the Horn of Africa. The fundraising event, which took place on 1 September 2007, marked the official launch of the Can-Go Afar Foundation.
What is Can-Go Afar?
The Can-Go Afar Foundation is a Canadian humanitarian organization working to raise funds, deliver worthy projects and advocate for the Afar people. Can-Go Afar works closely with the Afar community in Canada, as well as local NGOs in Ethiopia. Can-Go Afar has successfully implemented a pilot project to provide BioSand water filters (a Canadian technology) in the Afar region, and the project has now been expanded to Phase II. The Foundation also funds primary education for orphaned children in a boarding school. It also provides post-secondary education bursaries for Afar students and delivers emergency aid to refugees and internally displaced Afar. Since its launch, Can-Go Afar has partnered with many individual supporters and business leaders in Canada as well as with local implementing partners in the Afar Region, Ethiopia. Can-Go Afar is registered with Canada Revenue Agency and has charitable status. To visit our current projects, please click here
Can-Go Afar’s local implementing partners are based in the Afar Region in Ethiopia. Can-Go Afar members have already successfully accomplished three (3) mission trips in the Afar Region, conducting needs assessments, building local partnerships, and monitoring the implementation of the projects mentioned above. Both missions have been led by Warren and Ahmed, and have received great support by the UNHCR, the WFP, the Afar Regional State Government and local NGOs. To read more about our mission trips, please click here.
During the course of these few years, our work to help the Afar people has grown from the dedication of a small group of individuals to a vast network of supporters within Canada and around the globe. From the personal effort of two people trying to raise awareness to now an institutionalized, humanitarian organization. The Can – Go Afar Foundation aims to empower the Afar People in the Horn of Africa to build a brighter future.
Can Go Afar Board of Directors:
Warren L. Creates – Board Member & President
Ahmed Youssef Mohamed – Board Member & Vice President
Jason Kelly - Board Member & Secretary
Nicole Merriman - Board Member & Treasurer
Djamal Chehem – Board Member
Badri Ahmed Mohamed – Board Member
Marlon Oneid – Board Member
Tony Stikeman – Board Member
Aicha Kassim Youssouf – Board Member
Leah Mowers – Board Member