Mission Trip #8 – November 2011
Warren Creates (President) & Jason Kelly (VP, Projects)
To audit ongoing projects, particularly the water filter project in Gawani, Afar Region, the university student project in Addis Ababa and the Mahi Difu primary school located in Semera, Afar. Additionally, to deliver, with the assistance of a new partner, Not Just Tourists, much needed medical supplies to the new Barbara May Maternity Hospital (Milli, Afar) and to introduce donor/philanthropist, Mark Nelson, to our implementing partners and projects. Finally, to visit and obtain health and population updates on the UNHCR refugee camp in Assayita.
When visiting the Assayita refugee camp, it was observed that the UNHCR along with ARRA were unfortunately implementing inappropriate new housing systems which included a tarp covered metal frame in lieu of the traditional daboyta. Based on the location of the refugee camp, with radiant heat from the adjacent hillside and no cover from the sun all day long, these new tarp and metal structures were not suitable for the location. This situation was raised with ARRA, the UNHCR, APDA and with officials at the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa in order to try and prevent precious resources from being miss spent. We had advocated that such resources be directed at Afar traditional housing efforts (daboyta’s) instead which not only can accommodate the heat of the location but their weaving and assembly also supports the local economy.
The Gawani region in Afar had flooding during the rainy season which not only restricted access to the village that benefits from the water filter project (consisting of 55 water filters) but also compromised the water filters. Almost all filters had operational issues and required recommissioning. The ongoing issues with the water filter project represent a real challenge to the future viability of the project, at least in the current location. During the period of operation (2008-2014) APDA had reported that our project eliminated cholera and other ailments that had affected the beneficiaries, and had saved lives.
All goals were accomplished. Additionally, meetings were held with ARRA, both in Addis Ababa and at the Assayita UNHCR refugee camp, where additional information and insight was gained on the current condition of the Eritrean refugee population which had fled into the Afar Region of Ethiopia. Finally, an increased and deepened knowledge was gained of the region and culture of the Afar people so that we can be better at working towards relieving poverty in a manner consistent with the mission statement of the foundation.