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Ethiopian Partnership Project Press Release 2008 PDF Print E-mail

The South Dublin County- Ethiopian Partnership Project

The South Dublin County- Ethiopian Partnership Project is a unique partnership venture between an Irish local authority and two towns in Ethiopia, Butajira and Werabe, which are located approx 180kms south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

The project is centred on capacity building through training and skills transfer coupled with a series of pilot projects in the two towns which are aimed at strengthening the delivery of local public services for the benefit of the towns inhabitants.

Funding assistance of 25,000 p.a. is also given by the project to a community slum regeneration scheme in Addis Ababa which adopts a holistic approach combining new housing with very sound community building elements. These include supports for poor children to access education and reasonable nutrition, day-care centre for the elderly, sport and recreation facilities for youth, vocational training for income generation and rehabilitation of wayward youths. Work started in October 2007 on a condominium building to house 36 slum households with recipient families moved to temporary dwellings during construction. This construction activity generates work and income for local families who are the poorest of the poor. SDCEPP is a significant project donor for this scheme.

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The rationale for the Councils engagement is demonstrated by the relative positioning of our two countries on the UN Humanitarian Index, which measures indicators such as access to education, health facilities, infant mortality rate, life expectancy, per capita income etc., which places Ethiopia in 173rd position out of 177 countries listed, with Ireland placed in 8th position. More than half of Ethiopias 80m population live on less than $2 per day.

Initiated first of all in 2005, the project was successful in attracting multi-annual funding from Irish Aid in mid 2007 totalling almost 1m over three years. This is supplemented by salary deductions from staff and councillors and an extensive fund-raising appeal is about to be launched among the business community in the county in the coming month.

Significant progress has been made on elements of the project in the past 10 months since funding was secured. Achievements include:

  •  Water
  •  A new 100 cubic metre reservoir
  •  2.4 kms of additional water distribution mains
  • 10 new 6-tap water standpipes
  •  Sanitation
  •  5 public sanitation blocks consisting of six toilet cubicles in each
  •  5 public sanitation blocks consisting of three toilet and three shower cubicles in each
  •  Waste management
  •  Construction and placement of 10 refuse disposal bins
  •  Setting up of a collection system from the communal bins
  •  Preparation of three incineration / landfill disposal sites in accordance with agreed best practice guidelines
  •  Storm Drainage
  •  1km of deficient storm drainage channels reconstructed and reinforced to prevent flood damage to residences and roadways
  •  Street Paving
  •  Initiation of a training programme for 60 local craftsmen/women in stone cutting and paving skills
  •  Commencement of a pilot 0.5km stretch of paved road surface
  •  Womens enterprise training
  •  12 women trained and equipped in sewing to produce clothing for local consumption
  •  12 women trained in textile manufacture
  •  Health
  •  Health Centre equipped with materials to deliver health education to a throughput of 13,000 people per annum
  •  Baseline Health and Sanitation survey and report completed in each town
  •  Sport and Recreation
  •  Sport and Recreation Centre constructed
  •  2 multi-purpose sports grounds completed
  •  Education
  •  New four-classroom block completed in a High School
  •  Primary school rehabilitated to provide a better learning environment for students
  •  Management and other training
  •  24 senior staff from all departments in each town completed courses of general management, project management and IT skills
  •  8 trainees equipped and given intensive course in AutoCad training
  •  12 trainees equipped and given intensive course in Surveying

The progress which has been made so far is extremely significant and a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of the Council and our partner towns for the project.

In order to assess the extent of the works and discuss the future of the project with politicians and officials from the two towns, a study trip by four councillors from South Dublin County accompanied by the County Manager, Joe Horan has just been completed to Ethiopia. Councillors Gus OConnell, Joe Neville, Colm Brophy and Catriona Jones made the four-day trip and were extremely impressed with what they saw and with their engagement with our project partners. All were convinced of the value of the engagement and will be reporting back to their colleagues on the Council at the Organisation and Procedure Committee meeting on Thursday next (22nd May 2008).

This week also sees the mounting from 20th to 24th May of an Exhibition in the recently extended County Library in Tallaght entitled Celebration of Africa which coincides with World Africa Day. This exhibition is part of a 5-day series of events which comprise of:

  • Launch event with African music, dance and food Tuesday 20th at 7pm
  • Photographic Exhibition profiling the South Dublin County Ethiopian Partnership Project
  • Social Inclusion activities of SDCC
  • Integration activities of the Tallaght Partnership
  • Africa Framed and the Value of Rubbish exhibition by Self Help Development International
  • County Library activities
  • Tuesday 20th May @ 3.30pm - African drumming workshop with Niall Dowling from Drum Nature for 8-12 years(adults welcome to join in!!)
  • Wednesday 21st May @ 11am African Board Games with Roinke Argundae (Class Booking)
  • Thursday 22nd @ 10.30am African Storytelling with Lugard (Class Booking)

The launch on Tuesday 20th May will be a very exciting evening and will be attended by Deputy Conor Lenihan, Minister for State for Integration and one of the initiators and most enthusiastic supporters of the Councils project in Ethiopia. The event will also be attended by the Councils Ethiopian Project Manager, Dr. Shimelis Yigezu who is over on a week-long trip to Dublin.

Further information from Abe Jacob, South Dublin County Ethiopian Partnership Project Co-ordinator tel.  086-2344014 

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