Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's be Good Neighbors!

simple latrine constructed by a charity in an Addis neighborhood

We are excited to announce the development of a new humanitarian effort in Ethiopia.  AAI is calling it the "Good Neighbor Project" because it will be a series of undertakings in cooperation with local government officials and citizen groups in the area around Layla House.  For those who've been to Layla, it's impossible to miss the striking contrast between the opulent three story mansions for embassy personnel and other wealthy people sitting right next to poor neighborhoods with no running water or sanitary facilities and very inadequate housing.  According to city data, approximately 61% of the people in Addis Ababa must rely on public latrines but that over 80% of existing facilities are grossly inadequate, causing severe environmental impacts.

The local officials approached our Ethiopian Country Director Temesgen earlier in the year and asked if we could help with some small scale projects to improve the lives of the people in the area.  In their first discussions, it seemed as if building some public latrine facilities similar to the one in the photo above in several neighborhoods would be a very good place to start and a project that has been done successfully in other areas of Addis.
AAI Staff Temesgen and Tsegenet on left with kebele officials

AAI Development Director Susan Poisson-Dollar was in Ethiopia in March and accompanied Temesgen on a "latrine tour" with several of the local officials eager to start the project.  These photos were taken then of a latrine built by another nonprofit and then of several of the neighborhoods that desperately need a waste facility.  Once the latrines are built with donations raised by AAI, the neighborhood contributes labor and also designs a system for keeping the facility cleaned and properly maintained.  Generally the latrines are locked and families are issued a key and asked to pay a "user fee" that helps with cleaning and maintenance supplies.
neighborhood near Layla lacking latrine facilities

The cost to construct one latrine is approximately $4000US and we are hoping many of our friends and supporters will hold fundraisers etc. to help us provide several of these to the community.  Please contact Susan Poisson-Dollar if you are interested in helping and she will be happy to help you with a fundraising event in your area.  To donate to the Good Neighbor Project, click here.

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