October 16, 2019
What is Ethiopia ACT doing to help end poverty?
Ethiopia ACT started as – and continues to be – a community healthcare organization focused on caring for the most vulnerable of Addis Ababa. Since our beginning we have put a primary focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and disease education. This means we make sure all HIV+ individuals are educated on their disease and the importance of treatment adherence with careful tracking and home visits.
We also assist in making sure our beneficiaries who struggle with other health-related issues get the quality care they deserve through supplementing care of government healthcare facilities, covering the costs of medications and procedures, providing nutrient-rich foods, and more. Mental health counseling (in a one-on-one and group setting) is vitally important in making sure each person is heard, cared for, and supported through any struggle they face in life.
Medical Teams make an enormous impact in the community. During the course of a one-week clinic, teams may see as many as 200-500 patients. They help spread awareness, trust, and partnerships in the community. These partnerships ensure the patients we see during clinic receive on-going medical care and follow up and are connected to a supportive church community in which they can find healing after the week of clinic is over. Partnerships with the local community, churches, and government are at the heart of our work. (Read more about the impact of Medical Clinics in our blog post here!)
Youth and Education
This cannot be overstated – education of youths proves to be a vital component to break the chain of generational poverty. We have found it to be true that when a child graduates university, they lift their entire family out of poverty. This is why it is a requirement for all children in our program to be enrolled in school when they are old enough.
We closely track, monitor, and report on the health status of the children in our program. All malnourished children are provided extra support and nutrition.
While most education is free in Ethiopia, supplies and fees are often costly and more than a family can afford. Because of this, Ethiopia ACT steps in and provides all school materials to the children in our program – books, uniforms, shoes, fees, etc. During the summer, all children are measured and provided with school uniforms for the following academic year. (Read more about the importance of School Uniforms in our blog post here!)
Many of our beneficiaries desire to start and run a successful business with skills they have learned in their lives, but they lack a few important things to make that happen. Often they need basic training in finance and small business ownership to ensure their enterprise thrives. Our staff hosts training seminars for our beneficiaries who show they are committed to owning and operating a small business. When a beneficiary demonstrates the ability to run and business and has a workable business plan, ACT will provide a small grant to help get it off the ground. A successful business can be the difference between being financially dependent and being self-supporting while contributing monthly to a savings account.
Ethiopia ACT also acts as an advocate – when needed – for business owners to be assigned a permanent business location from the local government administration. This is incredibly helpful in a business’s success of operation. (Read the amazing story of one of our business owners in a blog post here!)
Basic Income Grants
Basic Income Grants (BIG) are regular monthly payments to beneficiaries. Recipients must meet set conditions, like keeping their children in school and reporting on the family’s health and economic condition, in order to continue receiving the grant. We select a subset of our beneficiary families and electronically deposit a set amount of money in their bank account each month. At first, not everyone understood the grants and some were suspicious. We learned some families weren’t yet ready to participate, but most quickly embraced the idea and showed that they were able to manage their family finances, put money aside for savings and invest in their own businesses. This has been a big step for many of our families managing their own lives and graduating from the project. More project families are asking to be added to the program. We are seeing more of our families become self-supporting more quickly than ever before. (Read more about Basic Income Grants on our blog post here!)