Category Archives: RPCV Legacy Program

RPCV Legacy Program

Axum Children’s Library Enhancement

Championed by Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola, 1970-72) and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)

Colorful Ethiopian scarf

Colorful Ethiopian scarf

These beautiful pieces by Gloria Curtis sold out immediately. More on the way!

These beautiful pieces by Gloria Curtis sold out immediately. More on the way!

E&E RPCV treasurer Randy Marcus in his annual financial report indicated that Dwight Sullivan and Janet Lee have reached 51% of their initial fundraising goal of $10,000 thanks to the generosity of E&E RPCVs. Fundraising included direct donations, sales of Ethiopian-inspired jewelry crafted by Gloria Curtis (Asmara 1963–65), and the sale of Ethiopian scarves. The limited number of jewelry sets sold out quickly, but fortunately more are on the way.  Dwight is in Axum and has purchased additional crosses for Gloria to craft into jewelry sets.

Janet Lee presented on the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center, a Legacy Project.

Janet Lee presented on the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center, a Legacy Project.

Gloria Curtis sets up the sales table for the Timket celebration

Gloria Curtis sets up the sales table for the Timket celebration

Janet recently presented on the project during the annual Denver Sister Cities International Timket celebration at the Africana Café in Denver. Those in attendance were in awe of the overall project.  The Ethiopian scarves were a big hit!

This RPCV Legacy Program project has joined in the efforts of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), founded by former Peace Corps language and cultural instructor, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, in the building and development of the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center in Axum, Ethiopia. This project is limited to supporting the development of a children’s library.

The Axum Children’s Library will provide:

  • A welcoming area for all children of the community to read books, participate in story hours, participate in arts & crafts, and view movies.
  • Child-sized furniture that is comfortable and suitable for a variety of activities.
  • Age-appropriate books in English and local languages as they become available.
  • Access to computers for older children for them to learn basic computer skills.
  • Shelving for the books and a desk for the library assistant.
  • Curtains for the windows that may be closed during video presentations.

Dwight, currently in Ethiopia, has given an update of the overall project:
He witnessed 45 workers working on three exterior projects including exterior walls, the septic tank, and walkways.  He is confident that the library will open within the year.  On his first day back, Dwight reports that Dr. Tsehaye Teferra was able to provide the President of Tigre a tour of the library.  He was so impressed that he donated 10 solar laptops and numerous books.

Building contractor, Negus, and Library manager, Arefaine, stand on the balcony of the new building with a glimpse of the old library in the background.

Building contractor, Negus, and Library manager, Arefaine, stand on the balcony of the new building with a glimpse of the old library in the background.

We are on our way!

To support the Axum Children’s Library . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Axum Children’s Library.” Include your email for tax receipt.

To donate online through “Just Give” click on the following button (a small processing charge will be included):  Donate Now


 

 

 

 

RPCV Legacy Program

ITC for Mettu School

Championed by Patti Garamendi (Mettu 66–68) and Faith Garamendi

dsc02982

Students in the St. Gabriel School’s Computer Lab

 

E&E RPCV treasurer Randy Marcus recently transferred funds from the Legacy Program to Tefere Kebede the in-country manager of the ITC for Mettu School Legacy Program Project.  The ITC for Mettu School project is an ongoing project championed by Patti Garamendi (Mettu 66-68) and her daughter Faith.

Once a Legacy Project has fulfilled its initial goal, typically $10,000, the champions can opt to continue raising funds to sustain the project and periodically transfer funds to the project.

The ITC for Mettu School project aims at introducing Information and Communication Technologies for teaching and learning as well as enabling school administration to manage information in a timely and organized manner. It intends to create a favorable environment to harness the potential of web-resources for the benefit of educators and learners.

Recent contributions provided training for 25 teachers and 648 students at the St. Gabriel School in February 2015.  Training was also provided from other elementary schools.  All trainees had access to the Internet.  This recent transfer of funds will enable project leaders to expand on providing training.

John Garamendi  (Mettu, 1966-68) sent the following message:

In 1966, my wife Patti and I started our married life together by serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia. We spent our years of service teaching and doing community development work, providing the foundation that would guide us in our life-long commitment to public service.

Today, we remain dedicated to the Peace Corps mission and are proud to have passed that dedication on to our family. Along with our youngest daughter, Patti and I support a Peace Corps Legacy Project in Mettu, Ethiopia, that provides students and teachers with computers, access to the Internet, and IT training. Patti and I had the opportunity to return to our host country last summer to visit the Mettu School and meet the students. We are truly blessed with the opportunity to work on this project and are grateful for the Peace Corps volunteers who are using their service to turn this dream into a reality. You can learn more about our legacy project in Ethiopia by clicking the link below:

eandeherald.com/rpcv-legacy-program/

Readers who wish to contribute to the ongoing fund may send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Mettu ITC Lab.” Include your email for tax receipt.

Recently acquired computers from the One Laptop per Child program funded by Legacy Program donations

Recently acquired computers from the One Laptop per Child program funded by Legacy Program donations.

A bank of computers in the Garamendis' Computer Lab.

A bank of computers in the Computer Lab.


 

RPCV Legacy Program

Borana Student Advancement

Championed by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia staff: 64–66)

Photo taken during a 2011 trip to Ethiopia, several of these students are likely graduates of universities this past year.

Photo taken during a 2011 trip to Ethiopia, several of these students are likely graduates of universities this past year. With Dr. Torrey, at left, are Teshome and Mohammed, Mega Vision Developmental Association staff.

Map of Mega, Borana

Map of Mega, Borana

E&E RPCV treasurer Randy Marcus recently transferred a sizeable contribution from Dr. Fuller Torrey and other supporters of the Legacy Program to the in-country project director in Ethiopia. The Borana Student Advancement project is our largest legacy project, thanks to generosity and dedication of Dr. Fuller Torrey, who was a Peace Corps staff doctor in Ethiopia in the 1960s.  This Legacy Program project supports the Mega Vision Developmental Association in Mega, Ethiopia in the Borana Zone of the Oromia Region.

Once a Legacy Project has fulfilled its initial goal, typically $10,000, the champions can opt to continue raising funds to sustain the project and periodically transfer funds to the project.

The Borana Student Advancement project aims at providing educational opportunities for girls in Borana in southern Ethiopia. Dr. Torrey sent the E&E RPCV Board an update on the 19 participants who have recently graduated with college degrees. It’s noteworthy, too, that they all found jobs after graduation.  Of the 19 female students, five have been with the Mega Vision Development Association for nine full years.  The young women have graduated from Debub, Haromaya, Gondar, Jimma, Wodo, and Adama Universities, as well as the Bule Hora Teacher Training College.  Their majors include Education Planning, Rural Development, Management, Gender & Development Studies, Accounting, Plant Science, Statistics, Civil Engineering, and Oromo Folklore and Literature. The Mega Vision Development Association can rightfully boast of the major accomplishments of these young women.

Mega Vision staff member, Teshome, with students in 2011.

Mega Vision staff member, Teshome, with 11th and 12th grade students in 2011.

To support this project, send your check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Borana Students.” Include your email address to receive a tax receipt.

 


 

RPCV Legacy Program project

 

A Tale of Two Cities

Library Projects Prompt a Return to Ethiopia

and offer an opportunity to experience diverse transportation modes

by Janet Lee, (Emdeber 1974–76)

Having taken advantage of an opportunity to visit Kenya this past summer with a Regis University colleague, I traveled through Ethiopia on my return home with two goals in mind.

adama-axumI especially wanted to connect with a University of Denver colleague, who had been on sabbatical since January and was teaching at the Adama Science and Technology University. We are both librarians and library projects were the focus of my trip.

I also wanted to visit the site that will benefit from the RPCV Legacy Program project that I am championing.

 

Expressway from Adama

Expressway from Adama

First Adama

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer/Ethiopia from the 1970s, I have seen many changes on recent visits. The most striking change on this visit was the express/tollway (40 Birr each way) from Addis Ababa to Adama — which I knew as Nazaret.

Wind farm outside Adama

Wind farm outside Adama

As we approached Adama my colleague and I were met by a wind farm of 50 to 100 wind turbines that supplies this region with much needed electrical power.

It was remarkable to travel 80 km per hour on the freeway unrestricted by traffic, donkey carts or herds of cattle. It was also remarkable to see the heavy influence of Chinese investment in the infrastructure. Railway tracks that would guide trains to Djibouti were visible nearby, running parallel to the abandoned Ethio-Djibouti Railway originally built by the French between 1894 and 1917.  I clearly remember traveling to Dire Dawa by train as if it were yesterday.

Bajaj ride in Adama

Bajaj ride in Adama

My main form of transportation in Adama (and later in Axum) was by bajaj, the three wheeled mini-taxis that inexpensively take people from place to place.

 

 

Back to Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is still a bustling city and traffic jams impeded movement in many areas. Some routes were surprisingly free from congestion, although two very serious mini-bus accidents did give me pause on my first full day in Addis.  I watched in curiosity as a man, most likely the driver of one mini-van, was waving his arms in the air and then clasping his head in disbelief that this could happen to him. The other van was a charred mess, although there was no evidence that anyone was seriously hurt.

Commuter train in Addis Ababa.

Commuter train in Addis Ababa.

A few years ago, I navigated mud paths that circumnavigated rising railroad trestles around Meskel Square that would soon support the rails of the first electric light-rail to operate in a city in sub-Saharan Africa. On this visit I could see the train overhead carrying passengers on one of the two lines that run through the city. My time was limited in Addis and other circumstances prevented me from having an opportunity to take a ride on the train, although it was on my list of things to do.

A side trip to Adwa

After having flown to Axum from Addis, we took a mini-van to Adwa to visit Rick (Addis Alem 68-70; Training 72-75) and Elizabeth Stoner’s cultural museum project (see Rick’s article in the last issue of The Herald  Old Adwa Cultural Museum.”

I sat in one of the front row seats of the mini-van and could clearly see the scenery along the winding mountain road to Adwa, not too unlike the steep curves of the mountains in my home state of Colorado. Adwa is a historic spot and I expected to see monuments and statues, but did not. It is no wonder that Rick and Elizabeth have taken on this tribute to history. My companion and I walked along the dusty streets with beautiful mountain peaks in the background.

Rick and Elizabeth Stoner's Old Adwa Cultural Museum

Old Adwa Cultural Museum

We took a shortcut that led us down a steep path where we rock-hopped across a river (my years of experience in Colorado coming to my aid) and up another steep river bank to the cultural museum. Rick and Elizabeth have made great headway on this project and it is worth a visit if you are in the area.

Back to Axum
Gari crossing

Gari crossing

On the return trip to Axum, the only available seat was in the back row, next to the window, as far from the door as possible. Visions of the charred mini-bus in Addis kept going through my head. I looked at the windows, planning my escape route should the bus roll over one of the steep banks. No amount of rationalization about the number of people who take this trip daily could calm my nerves.  Opening the window and getting fresh air did help and obviously I did make it back to Axum safely and live to tell the tale.

Not surprisingly, that was not to be the last of my transportation issues. I knew better than to schedule my in-country flights too closely with my flight back to the States.  Previously I had flown on flights that circled my destination only to return to Addis due to weather. Likewise, I have been stranded at that same airport hearing my in-coming plane circle overhead only to return to its origin.  My flight to the U.S. was scheduled for late on Sunday and taking no chances I planned to fly to Addis on Saturday.  You guessed it.  My flight to Addis was cancelled.

After a series of checks and double checks with the one airport employee who spoke some English, I was assured that there would be an announcement if there were problems.  And indeed there was an announcement in Tigrigna, Amharic, and English. Unfortunately, with the reverberations of the sound system and the speakers in the waiting area, the only word I understood in any language was “cancelled.”  I was the only ferengi at the airport and I could feel all eyes on me.  As I searched for the English-speaking staff member, a man approached me to explain the situation in perfect English.  I asked if he was a passenger and he answered, “No, I am the announcer!”  I knew I was in good hands.  He even arranged for transportation back to my hotel, where there was an available room. A flight did eventually leave Axum on Sunday.

Back in Addis

I had booked a room in Addis for Saturday night and had made appointments to meet a number of people on Sunday, including my Denver colleague whose suitcase I was to bring back home. Due to the unrest and demonstrations against the government, both mobile phone and Internet services had been shut down for about four days. I was unable to reach anyone to warn of my delay. Some took the chance and showed up at my hotel.

I discovered later that a number of in-country Peace Corps Volunteers were consolidated during this time period, with some being unable to return to their sites.  Some were able to take it in stride.  For those PCVs who were not able to say “good-bye” to their colleagues in their towns, it was a much more heartbreaking situation.

Eating belas on the side of the road

Eating belas on the side of the road

Accomplishing my goals

Despite all of this, was my trip to Ethiopia fruitful? Did I visit the library programs that I had come to see? Absolutely!  It couldn’t have been better.  I met with the Library Director of the Adama Science and Technology University as well as visited with the staff of three of the public libraries there (see Aurora Sister Cities International/Adama Ethiopia). The ASTU Director and I are looking at opportunities to present or publish together, most likely at the African Public Library Association conference in Addis Ababa in May 2017.

In Axum, I visited the University of Aksum Libraries and toured the traditional bricks and mortar library that held study spaces and of all things, books! Then off to the workspace of the Digital Library to meet the staff and get progress reports on both their institutional repository and online catalog. Three years ago, I was told that the online catalog had met its demise due to a virus. On this visit, the IT person had just successfully downloaded open source software that would be the backbone of the new online catalog with the help of a series of YouTube videos. Now the real work begins.  It was during the demonstration of the institutional repository that I was truly humbled, as a library staff member pulled the business card from his wallet that I had given him three years ago. I know that I will return.

Grand entrance to the Axum library

Grand entrance to the Axum library

The ultimate purpose

The focus of this trip was to get a progress report on the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center in Axum. Three years ago, the building was a shell of cinder blocks and concrete. One could make out the accessible ramp and the stairwell, but little more.  On this visit, I met with the foreman of the construction company and the building took my breath away.  Although not complete, every small detail was thought out: the marble flooring, windows, stairwells, doors, and natural lighting.  The building is a sight to behold. This visit is more fully described in a library-related blog: Axumite Heritage Foundation and Cultural Center.

E&E RPCVs has approved a Legacy Project related to this building, the Axum Children’s Library Enhancement. Of the goal of $10,000 approved by the E&ERPCVs board, Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola 70-72) and I have raised nearly $3,000 toward our goal, thanks in large part to fellow RPCVs.  If you would like to support this project, more information can be found at:  Legacy Project: Axum Children’s Library Project.

Checks may be sent to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Axum Children’s Library.”   Please include your email address so that we can send you a tax receipt.

In conclusion

Libraries in Ethiopia are faced with many challenges including the lack of training, professional status, library education, and general infrastructure.  Yet, everywhere that I visited, there was optimism among the staff for the future and a drive to improve their skills and better serve their constituency.

 


 

RPCV Legacy Program

RPCV Legacy Program projects & How to Help

FROM 1962 TO 1976, 1995 to 1999, and 2007 onward more than 2,500 Peace Corps Volunteers worked in education, health, agriculture, community development and other fields in Ethiopia and Eritrea, countries that remain among the poorest in the world.

In 2003 Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs established the RPCV Legacy Program™ to allow returned Peace Corps Volunteers from these two countries to continue their legacy of service and assistance. To be part of the Program each project must be proposed by an RPCV or EE Staff “champion,” and reviewed and approved by the E&E RPCVs board of directors.

The champion donates 10% of the goal for the project, is manager of the project working closely with a member of the E&E RPCVs board. Be a champion.

As of April 1, 2016, the RPCV Legacy Program has raised US $260,000 for eight important education and health projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Five projects have met their goals while four others are ongoing.

Axum Children’s Library Enhancement 

Championed by Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola, 1970-72) and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)

axum-mapThis RPCV Legacy Program project, championed by Dwight Sullivan and Janet Lee, has joined in the efforts of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), founded by former Peace Corps language and cultural instructor, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, in the building and development of the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center in Axum, Ethiopia. This project is limited to supporting the development of  a children’s library.

In 2000, the ECDC renovated the former Governor’s Palace in Axum, and repurposed the building into a public library, which, to date, has served the community well. Now under construction is a new building that will complement the existing building by providing: additional seating, community space, communication technology, universal access for the disabled, and, of primary importance, a space for children.

Library with some early donations

Library with some early donations -click-

The Axum Children’s Library will provide:

  • A welcoming area for all children of the community to read books, participate in story hours, participate in arts & crafts, and view movies.
  • Child-sized furniture that is comfortable and suitable for a variety of activities.
  • Age-appropriate books in English and local languages as they become available.
  • Access to computers for older children for them to learn basic computer skills.
  • Shelving for the books and a desk for the library assistant.
  • Curtains for the windows that may be closed during video presentations.

Operational expenses for the Children’s Library will be covered by an existing library budget provided by the Axumite Heritage Foundation, including but not limited to salaries, utilities, programming, and marketing and promotion.

Dwight and Janet’s RPCV Legacy Program project has established an initial goal to raise $10,000 for the purchase of computers, shelving, furniture, books, area rugs, curtain, and audiovisual equipment for the Children’s Library.

To support the Axum Children’s Library . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Axum Children’s Library.”   Include your email for tax receipt.


Borana Student Advancement

Championed by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia staff: 64–66)

Since 2004 the Ethiopian registered charity Mega Vision Developmental Association (MVDA) has provided support for students from the Borana region in far southern Ethiopia, using donations to the RPCV Legacy Program project the Borana Student Advancement Project.

Students in the Borana region are disadvantaged because of the region’s location in the remote periphery where many of their families are semi-nomads.

Currently the Borana Student Advancement Project is funding a program to provide educational material support for girls who, as all know, face serious obstacles in getting more than elementary school level education.

Girls receive funding for school uniforms, books, school supplies, residential house rental costs for those who do not live with their parents, and biannual cash assistance was provided for those who are in colleges and universities.

Since 2011 there have been 120 girls in the program each year.  For the 2014-2015 academic year they are distributed as follows:

  • 12 girls in grades 7 & 8
  • 68 in high schools
  • 40 in colleges and universities

In 2014, 8 girls graduated from colleges and universities; all are currently employed by the regional government.

Mega Vision Developmental Association (MVDA) was established in 2004 by Teshome Shibre Kelkile, M.D., Ph.D. and Tirufat Bekele and is a currently a registered charity in Ethiopia administered by five volunteer board members and a volunteer manager.

borana-girls-2014

2014 – Some of the MVDA girls with Teshome Shibre Kelkile

To support the Borana Student Advancement . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Borana Students.”  Include your email for tax receipt.


Health Guides for 200 Rural Communities 

Championed by Marian Haley Beil (Debre Berhan 62–64)

 

FOR THIS PROJECT E&E RPCVs is partnering with the respected Hesperian Health Guides, publisher of illustrated health guides for use by health workers in remote communities around the world (including the well known manual Where There Is No Doctor). where-there-is-no-doctor200Donations to our project will enable Hesperian to fulfill all book requests that they receive from Ethiopians or Eritreans in-country.

Because HIV and AIDS continue to be an incredible scourge in Ethiopia and to a lesser degree in Eritrea, our donations will also make it possible for Hesperian to include with each requested book a copy of their book HIV Health and Your Community.

Your donation of $50 will provide the funding for one set of books to be shipped to Ethiopia or Eritrea. RPCVs are urged to make a donation to honor of your “other hometown,” and join in our effort to fight HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Eritrea and provide the healthcare workers in our communities with the health resources they need to identify and treat common health problems, as well as address the root causes of poor health.

* The all publications from Hesperian are available for FREE if requested by anyone in Ethiopia or Eritrea for $219.95.

A Book for Midwives
The Childbirth Picture Book
A Community Guide to Environmental Health
Disabled Village Children
Health Actions for Women
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities
Helping Children Who Are Blind
Helping Children Who Are Deaf
Helping Health Workers Learn
HIV Health and Your Community
Pesticides are Poison
Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment
Setting Up Community Health Programs
Where There Is No Animal Doctor
Where There Is No Dentist
Where There Is No Doctor
Where Women Have No Doctor
Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety

The Complete Hesperian Library  in English can be order — for a school, a library — for

To support sending Health Guides for Rural Communities . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Health Guides.”   Include your email for tax receipt.


ITC for Mettu School

Championed by Patti Garamendi (Mettu 66–68) and Faith Garamendi

mettuThis RPCV Legacy Program project has joined in the efforts of the Ethiopia-approved NGO Alumni Association of St. Gabriel School in Mettu, Ethiopia along with parents and community members to bring computer literacy and enhanced learning to the students of this primary-middle school through a project entitled “Enhancing the Quality of Education Through ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Labs at St. Gabriel Primary School.”

The long-term goals of the team are to:

  • Set up, in existing space, a computer lab that will be furnished with 20 computers, appropriate furnishings, and necessary wiring.
  • Provide computer literacy training to the school’s 25–30 faculty members.
  • Assure that the faculty members are capable of designing curriculum and teaching students and community members using computers and the Internet in their own areas of study.
  •  Provide enhanced educational opportunities for the students and citizens of Mettu.

Patti and Faith’s RPCV Legacy Program project has established an initial goal to raise $10,000 for the purchase of 20 computers, and 20 desks and chairs for the workstations in the ITC Lab.

To support the ITC Lab in Mette . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Mette ITC Lab.”   Include your email for tax receipt.


Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization

100% of every donation goes to support
your specified RPCV Legacy Program project

 

 

 


 

RPCV Legacy Program

New Legacy project is approved: Axum Children’s Library

Championed by Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola, 1970-72) and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)

Since 2004, E&E RPCV has provided opportunities for RPCVs to raise funds to support projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea through the E&E RPCV Legacy Program.  In that span of time, RPCVs have raised $240,304.23.

E&E RPCVs is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt organization; consequently all donations to the projects are tax-deductible. All work by RPCVs to administer the projects is done on a volunteer basis, so the entire amount of each donation is used for the projects.

An RPCV (or staff member who served in Ethiopia or Eritrea) who wishes to propose a project submits a Preliminary Project Proposal (PPP) of at least one page to Kristen Baredo (Kristen.Straw.Barredo@gmail.com), Manager, E&E RPCV Legacy Program. She will distribute the PPP to the Board members, who will review it, suggest changes if needed, and make a decision on feasibility.

If the proposal is approved, applicants will then be asked to prepare a Final Proposal that follows guidelines on the E&ERPCV website: https://eandeherald.com/rpcv-legacy-program/be-a-champion/

The Board is pleased to announce that it has approved a proposal by Champions Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola, 1970-72) and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76) for a Children’s Library within the Axum Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center, Axum, Ethiopia. The library operates under the auspices of the Ethiopian Community Development Council. ECDC’s founder, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, was a Peace Corps Language instructor for training groups that began service in the 1960s.

Early construction of the new Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center

Early construction of the new Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center

In 2000, ECDC repurposed a badly damaged historic building — the  Governor’s Palace in Axum — into a public library. The Governor’s Palace had gone into great disrepair following the Derg and Communist rule when it had been used as a headquarters and prison. The library has since served its community well, but cannot meet all the needs of a growing and more sophisticated population in Axum. Enter Dwight Sullivan who concluded that a newer, more modern building needed to be constructed that could provide expanded services to the community.

The children's library within the new Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center

The children’s library within the new Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center

This RPCV Legacy Program project will focus on a finite project within the overall building project — the children’s library. Both Dwight and Janet Lee are committed to the success of this project and have contributed the 10% minimum required.

The Project goal is to raise $10,000 in the initial phase.  In addition to the beautiful furniture donated by CNN (see photo), the project will enable the acquisition of shelving, theatre seating, curtains for DVD projection area, adult office furniture, computers, local language books, signage, and decorative rugs.

Contributions may be sent to the new E & E RPCV treasurer:

E&E RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Please mention:  Axum Children’s Library

RPCV Legacy Program

WATER FOR ETHIOPIAN VEGETABLE GARDENS

An incredibly quick success!

In early October the Board of E&E RPCVs voted to approve the following proposal for a new RPCV Legacy Program project championed by Linda Harbaugh Hillman (Gondar, 67-68) and John Hillman (Gondar, 66-68):

Water for Ethiopian Vegetable Gardens

to be implemented by the Kossoye Development Program (KDP) in conjunction with the Faculty of Agriculture (FOA), Department of Horticulture (DOH), at the Meles Zenawi Campus of the University of Gondar in Tseda, Amhara Regional State.

The $7,500 to be raised for this project will be used to construct a surface water collection facility (SWCF) on the new Teda campus of the University of Gondar that will serve as part of a demonstration garden to show how fruits and vegetables can be grown, prepared and eaten to improve nutrition among farming families in the region. The SWFC will consist of a system of terraces and drainage ditches that allow water to be stored in a concrete cistern during the short/minor (February-March) and long/major (May-September) rains to irrigate fields during the dry season. A 10-acre hillside will be terraced, and drainage ditches and a cistern will be constructed.

woman-gardeningKDP and the University conducted nutrition research which found that malnutrition of the families in the Region was 52%, leading to stunting in children. Cultivation of t’eff and animal husbandry practices require at least three hectares for a family to eat for a year. However, the family diet lacks all the nutrients necessary for well-being. Consequently, KDP launched a horticultural seed distribution activity among schools in the region. After demonstrating how to cultivate and cook the fruits and vegetables, the family adoption rate soared to 50%. KDP anticipates that even greater adoption rates will be achieved as the children in families that are growing these fruits and vegetables on less than one hectare experience growth in accordance with international standards and as statistics on stunting decline.

Establishing the SWFC will have many benefits:

  • Demonstrate a model for water harvesting that can be used by local farmers and schools.
  • Provide a real-life laboratory for horticulture majors who will be the horticulture extension agents of the future.
  • Enhance the nutrition and well-being of all family members.
  • Produce a more food-secure population.

AS TIMING IS CRITICAL IN THIS PROJECT (TO BE ABLE TO HARVEST THE SHORT RAINS IN FEBRUARY/MARCH), YOUR TIMELY CONTRIBUTION IS NEEDED.

Here it is, the end of December, and because of Linda and John’s vigorous fundraising campaign, they have reached and surpassed their goal to raise $7,500.00 for this well-designed (no pun intended) project, and the campaign is now closed with plenty of time to build the SWFC before the tinnish zenab. Many thanks to the donors — friends of Linda and John, and RPCVs — and most especially, thanks to Linda and John.