Seeds of Hope for Ethiopia
Four Bridges is currently conducting research, and developing relationships with humanitarian workers in Ethiopia to support sustainable agriculture projects including;
The Female Business Club – Konso
Prevention through Empowerment: Strengthening Hearts and Minds One Female at a Time
Empowering females through life skills, capacity and confidence building, programming and support, trainings on personal health, proper hygiene, birth control, and STI and HIV/ AIDS awareness, and economic independence through structured, weekly income generating activities (IGAs).
Proposed Projects Include;
General Training: This programming will involve all club members.
- Hygiene Training: Disease control, hand washing, bathing, proper dress code for food production, disposal of personal products and environmentally sound hygiene practices (ex. Programming on making re-usable sanitary napkins). There will also be programming on sanitation within one’s environment in the Permaculture Training aspect of the club. Some of the hygiene information will be re-visited, especially during all food preparation programming.
- HIV/AIDS Awareness: Teach women about myths around transmission, true modes of transmission of STIs and HIV/AIDS, proper condom usage, birth control options, and healthy choices and moderate a round table discussion. Local partners (ex. KDA) will be involved in the discussions and teaching process. Information pamphlets, books and condoms will be available. A condom distribution box will be constructed during this training. One strong female community member will be invited to attend this training as a guest speaker.
- Life Skills and Confidence Building: The females will work on developing personal dreams, goals and business ideas. They will discuss individual identity, the identity of their community and the strengths and weaknesses of both. Woven throughout all programming will be a focus on building confidence and personal identity for the members of the club. Identity dolls will be made during this programming. One strong female community member will be invited to attend this training as a guest speaker.
- Business Management: The club members will learn the basics of financial security, product development, budgeting, pricing and costing, and marketing and sales. One aspect of the lesson plan will be for each member to create their own product and business scheme. When they make products during the Income Generating Activities programming, the pricing and costing will be greatly emphasized again.
Income Generating Activities: Scheduled two week – month long trainings that promote local business opportunities and economic growth. These trainings will not include all members as to increase knowledge retention and true interest. Participants will be selected based on expressed interest in particular trainings. The tentative trainings will be:
- Permaculture and Alternative Energy: For this programming, a focus on local herbs, fruits and vegetables that can be used for food processing and sales will be discussed and put to practice. An herb and vegetable garden will be created either at the school or on a local NGOs compound. Greener Ethiopia/Trees for the Future will donate seedlings, compost and seeds. Along with other plants, fruit trees, moringa, pumpkin, tomato, and medicinal and culinary herbs will be planted, as they are part of the drying and beeswax programming. Water harvesting will be put to practice, too. Local potters from Sowgame Village will make pots for pot irrigation practices.
- Fruit, Vegetable and Leaf Drying: Using local fruits, vegetables and leaves, facilitate a month long training program on hygienic, food grade drying practices. Mango, banana, papaya, pumpkin, tomato, and medicinal and culinary herbs will be planted, as they are part of the drying and beeswax programming. Water harvesting will be put to practice, too. Local potters from Sowgame Village will make pots for pot irrigation practices.
- Beeswax Products Production: With the partnership of a local tej bet, will process beeswax to produce candles, medicinal salves, lip balms and beauty products for the hair and skin. Sample products have been produced successfully using only local materials. The medicinal salves will be tied into programming on health through local and traditional herbs. Local potters from Sowgame Village will make a clay vessel for the candle production element of the training. These products will be sold at local business centers. This will be a six week program, because of the multiple products.
- Snack Food Production: In this program, the females will learn how to process and package snack food for local and tourist consumption. Popcorn, k’olo, potato chips and granola are four snack foods that will be produced. Aprons will be constructed from local fabric the first day. A focus on personal hygiene in regards to food production will be incorporated in this training. Aprons will be constructed from local fabric the first day.
- Crafts Production: Members will learn to make small dolls, ornaments and pillows out of local cotton, fabric and yarns. They will also learn jewelry making, beadwork and embroidery.