Step into the Gap: The power of renewable energy

As part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme, Sophie Bray met communities in Ethiopia. In this blog she talks about how access to a reliable water source and renewable electricity is transforming one community and giving hope to many others.

The group in Ethiopia.
The Step Into the Gap group in Ethiopia with CAFOD.

It was during the first week of February on our journey through Northern Ethiopia, when we travelled to a rural town in Mekelle called Lemlem.

After meeting the people who lived in the village, it soon became clear how access to a reliable water source and renewable electricity is transforming their community and giving hope to many others.

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Continue reading “Step into the Gap: The power of renewable energy”

Step into the Gap: “Water is life”

Sophie Hull is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap Programme and she reflects how Ethiopian communities are adapting the changing climate and the projects that CAFOD’s partners are implementing to help bring about a positive change.

In Sebeya with the school children.
In Sebeya with the school children.

Before coming overseas, I only had heard about climate change and the impact it has on communities. Now, I have seen with my own eyes the realities of climate change.

We had just visited a community in Adigrat, a village that had been supported by access water and renewable energy by CAFOD partners, Adigrat Catholic Diocese Secretariat. Having access to these things had transformed their community, but I was soon to learn that access is not the only barrier communities face when they are impacted by climate change.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

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Step into the Gap: Strength in adversity

Bridgid Duffy, Sophie Bray and Sophie Hull, who are all currently taking part in the Step into the Gap programme, share their experiences of meeting an inspirational business woman in her bustling Ethiopian café.  

Sophie Hull, Hannah, Lemlem, Bridgid and Sophie Bray in Mekelle.
Sophie Hull, Hannah, Lemlem, Bridgid and Sophie Bray in Mekelle.

After a long journey, we arrived in Mekelle. Before we had even left the bus, we were greeted with open arms and open hearts and welcomed into the home of the Daughters of Charity.

After the inspirational time that we spent in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, we had travelled up to a beautiful city in Northern Ethiopia called Mekelle, located in the Tigray province. We were staying with CAFOD partners, the Daughters of Charity, and were planning to meet some of the people who the charity has been supporting for many years with their HIV and AIDS livelihood projects.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

One of the Daughters of Charity’s main focuses is enabling the empowerment of women. During their time in Mekelle the Daughters of Charity have committed to challenging gender inequality in the region, an issue which is prominent.

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Step into the Gap: A diagnosis does not define you

 Hannah Henley, who is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step in the Gap, writes this report about meeting an inspirational mother and son in Ethiopia. She explains how with the help of CAFOD’s local partners, people are not only living but thriving with a HIV positive status.

Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.
Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.

The first few days of our Ethiopian adventure have been full of inspiration, admiration and flavour. We have been staying with CAFOD partners, The Daughters of Charity, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

I think I can speak for the whole group when I say we couldn’t have wished for a warmer welcome – and that’s nothing to do with the 27 degrees weather. We have been lucky enough to spend time three wonderful sisters, CAFOD staff, and are getting to know our driver Soloman.

The Daughters of Charity run a HIV and AIDS clinic. The project provides testing for HIV, a HIV prevention programme, financial support, heath and sanitation training and business training.

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January exercise: Four reasons to be hopeful for 2017

Mark Chamberlain is a communications officer for CAFOD. Here he shares his four reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead.

CAFOD climate campaign
CAFOD staff members take part in a Climate Campaign outside Westminster Cathedral.

This is a great January exercise: take five minutes to come up with four reasons to be hopeful with the world around us.

I’ll admit right now, it’s not easy. One in every 113 people in the world is now either a refugee, an internally displaced person or an asylum-seeker. Picture the Christmas Eve Mass now – that’s at least one person in the service. If you’ve got a school assembly this week, take a look around. That will probably mean perhaps five of that assembly will be a person who has had to leave their home because they were forced to.

Follow us online and make 2017 the year you speak out against poverty and injustice!

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Connect2: Ethiopia: Standing with Sebeya

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVvSKkmwcBg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

Maggie Guy is a CAFOD volunteer from Birmingham diocese. Here she tells us how her parish has been fundraising for the Connect2: Ethiopia scheme.

Our Parish of Corpus Christi in Headington (Oxford) and Our Lady of Lourdes in Wheatley started supporting the community of Sebeya in Ethiopia in 2015. The project has really captured the enthusiasm of the parish and so far we have raised over £3,000.

Sign your parish up to Connect2: Ethiopia

We have raised money through a variety of activities: In April we had an Ethiopian evening where we enjoyed some delicious Ethiopian food, held a traditional coffee ceremony and had an illustrated talk from Tony Fitzgerald, a parishioner from our previous Parish in Camberley, who had visited the area. His pictures of a completed irrigation project in nearby Biera, supported by CAFOD Connect2, were profoundly moving; we could see a green valley, in marked contrast to the surrounding arid region, which should help protect the community from drought.  Continue reading “Connect2: Ethiopia: Standing with Sebeya”

Ethiopia Food Crisis: Drought seeps into every part of people’s lives

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partners in the northeast of the country to see how they are trying to tackle the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.

CAFOD Ethiopia Food Crisis appeal - Baraki with cow
CAFOD is appealing for urgent funds for Ethiopia to respond to the devastating food shortage.

It’s time to shout about what is happening to the people of Ethiopia. The crisis they face right now may not have featured in much of our press, but lives depend on us making a noise about it now.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

The drought, which has left 10 million hungry and 1.5 million young children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in need of food supplements, has been caused by an El Niño weather pattern. The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation warned last November that the current El Niño is the strongest in more than 15 years and will cause severe droughts and devastating flooding throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones of the planet. Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Drought seeps into every part of people’s lives”

Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!

Today more than 10 million women, men and children in Ethiopia are struggling with severe hunger caused by drought. With CAFOD working to respond, Jade Till, from our news team, describes her experience of the country’s rich culture and natural beauty.

CAFOD Children in Ethiopia play by the side of a river
“Ethiopia is where life happens”

Ethiopia is where life happens. Recently, Ethiopia has been in the news due to a widespread drought. What’s rarely told is the wondrous beauty of Ethiopia. It’s a dynamic country, rich in culture and history, I’m fortunate enough to have experienced it.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

Coffee!

Probably what Ethiopia is most well-known for is coffee. Anyone who’s met me for longer than five minutes knows I’m a coffee drinker. Ethiopia is why I love, and drink, so much coffee.

I remember experiencing my first traditional coffee ceremony. No matter where I was in Ethiopia or if I was in the city or a rural village, the coffee was always served in a traditional style. Grass (even in areas where I hadn’t seen grass for days) is laid out around the coffee area. The woman making the coffee always wore a traditional, flowing, white gown. The coffee beans would be; washed, roasted, crushed, mixed into hot water, and then placed in a traditional coffee pot. The coffee would be shared and you would always drink seven cups of coffee during the coffee ceremony! Ethiopian coffee is extremely strong; it’s also extremely delicious.

Meet the tiny breakfast grain helping to save lives

Continue reading “Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!”

Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partner the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, based in the capital Addis Ababa, and met with Shiferaw Mamo, the Humanitarian Programme Coordinator. He spoke to her about the  role of the Church in tackling the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.

CAFOD partner Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat's Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Shiferaw Mamo
Shiferaw Mamo, Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Humanitarian Programme Coordinator

Pinned to the walls of Shiferaw Mamo’s office is a large map of Ethiopia with map pins marking the regions that have been hit hardest by Ethiopia’s severe drought.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

The map shows nature’s randomness, with some regions classed as level 1, meaning minimal food intervention, while other regions like Tigray are level 4: Emergency.

There’s another poster pinned behind Shiferaw’s office door which simple states: “FAITH, ACTION, RESULTS” in bold letters. This sums up the commitment and expertise of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia:

“We are small in number [Catholic Church], but we are everywhere, throughout the country, from North to South”, says Shiferaw Mamo, Humanitarian Coordinator for the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat.

“We have a history of responding to emergencies be it conflict or drought, and the people know that we are there on the frontline, seeing to their needs.” Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger”

Connecting one community to another – A fundraiser’s story

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QENW0F58EKg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

10 million people face hunger, due to the devastating drought rippling through Ethiopia. Through our local partners we are able to reach the most vulnerable with urgent supplies.

 Donate to our Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

 Some of our supporters in England and Wales have been supporting communities in Ethiopia for a number of years through the Connect2 Ethiopia scheme. This project links a parish to a village where money raised has been helping people become self-sufficient.

 For six years Henry and Nuala Rosenvinge, have organised their own plant and cake sale for CAFOD. This year’s event raised an incredible £2,500, which was especially poignant given the heartbreaking drought in Ethiopia. Here Henry writes about how one neighbourhood connects to another.

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