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Approved funding of 960,000 for the South Dublin County - Ethiopian Partnership Project.
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Abe Jacob with Mayor Eamonn Maloney                      Group From Left: Joe Horan, Mayor E Maloney,
and Minister Conor Lenihan                                          Ambassador Zerihun Retta, Conor Lenihan

                                                                                      Eddie Conroy and Abe Jacob


South Dublin County Council, in association with Irish Aid is delighted to announce that Conor Lenihan, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs has approved funding by Irish Aid of 320,000 per annum over a three-year period for the South Dublin County - Ethiopian Partnership Project.

Together with complementary income sources, this will enable resources totaling 1.2m to be devoted to the project over its three-year initial term. This project is a partnership with two towns of Butajira (pop. 47,000) and Werabe (pop. 12,000) in Ethiopia, which lie 180kms south of the capital Addis Ababa.

It is an innovative approach to development aid in sub-Saharan Africa which is amongst the poorest regions on Earth. Developed as a pilot project in association with Irish Aid, it aims to equip the local authorities in the two towns to develop and implement better strategies to deliver improved public services. The activities of the project cover those areas in which South Dublin County Council has a great level of expertise and will include:

  • water supply and distribution 
  • flood prevention
  • solid and liquid waste management and disposal
  • paving of public areas
  • urban regeneration and development
  • information and communications technology
  • baseline surveys to assess needs
  • library facilities
  • provision of library books and refurbished computers
  • civic engagement, community and youth issues
  • capacity building and training for municipality staff

The project also entails grant assistance to a slum regeneration project in Addis Ababa - the Integrated Holistic approach - Urban Development Project of 20,000 per annum. This did not form part of the funding application to Irish Aid and is being funded by contributions by staff members and councilors.

Each year experienced staff from the Council will travel to Ethiopia to conduct a Summer School at which they will conduct training workshops with staff from the local authorities in various disciplines. The first such Summer School took place in June 2006 on a pilot basis and was extremely successful.

Announcing the funding Minister Lenihan said:
This is a landmark initiative by South Dublin County Council which I am delighted to support. The Partnership Project will allow South Dublin County Council to share its considerable expertise in areas such as water distribution, sanitation, flood relief and waste collection with Ethiopian partners. The Council and staff have shown great leadership, commitment and generosity in developing this partnership.

The Mayor of South Dublin County, Councillor Eamon Maloney expressed the delight of the Council at the decision of Irish Aid to provide this ongoing level of funding.

Given our relative affluence, we all have to look beyond our borders and have regard for the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. Ethiopia is one of the poorest and least developed countries on earth, with most of its inhabitants living on less than $2 per day. The World Bank has identified the development of sound systems of local government as vital to ensuring that communities in developing countries are best placed to achieve their goals of growth, poverty reduction, and the provision of better services for their citizens. This unique partnership by our Council with the two towns involved is geared towards achieving these aims and hopefully will encourage other local authorities and public bodies in Ireland and abroad to consider doing likewise.

South Dublin County Manager Joe Horan paid tribute to his staff and that of the Department of Foreign Affairs in bringing the ambitious project to fruition.

We first visited the two communities in Ethiopia in 2005 to assess whether we felt we could, at such a remove, assist in making a difference to the way the municipalities operated for the benefit of the people whom they serve. We were impressed by their welcome and the open and enthusiastic nature of their engagement with us and very quickly, both management and elected members resolved to develop a programme of what we felt could be achieved. Given the cultural differences which exist between us and our vastly different relative stages of development, this has been a slow and deliberative process but one which has resulted in a very good project outline which I am confident will produce good and sustainable outcomes for our Ethiopian partners and the citizens of South Dublin County.

The Council has worked closely with the Irish NGO, Self Help Development International, based in Hackettstown, Co. Carlow, in developing the project and has benefited greatly from the knowledge, expertise and advise of their Irish and Ethiopian employees in the area. An important element of the project will be a web-based educational resource for the benefit of schools in South Dublin County, profiling the situation on the ground in Ethiopia and the work of both the Council and Self Help in delivering urban and rural development programmes in the area.

The Council also wishes to acknowledge the advise and assistance of the staff of Irish Aid, the staff of the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia and the His Excellency, Zerihun Retta, Ethiopian Ambassador to Ireland and the staff of the Ethiopian Embassy in Dublin in developing the project.

Minister of State Lenihan will formally announce the funding and officially launch the project with Mayor Eamon Maloney at a function and press conference at County Hall, Tallaght on Friday 20th April at 12 noon.

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