Our trip to Ethiopia in January was very successful: David and I visited all of our nine schools and attended the opening of the three new ones. Our team in Ethiopia is expanding, and we could not be happier with their enthusiasm, dedication, and performance.
FGCF is forging ahead with new partnerships with various local and international NGOs as well as with another regional university. Our teacher training program is expanding as we gain support in the areas of special needs and kindergarten classes, as well as in outcome assessment.
We have been able to bring water to three of our schools to date, which has allowed us to proceed with the greening and educational gardening program as well as our WASH sanitation and hygiene program. All plants and trees are growing in leaps and bounds, the strawberry gardens being particularly prolific. By all accounts, children are now eager to get to school early so that they can water the plots assigned to their respective classes. We are in the process of incorporating the many aspects of the gardens and gardening process that the students are able to experience hands-on into various course curricula.
We are conducting a pilot project for the use of “rammed earth” material in the latrines at Bezawit, one of our 2019 schools. Rather than digging latrine pits, the rammed earth blocks are used to make a collection box. The waste collected will then be used as fertilizer in non-edible products grown in the school gardens. If the project is successful, we will proceed to use the new material in future school buildings.
We are proceeding to implement many of the suggestions made at our November 2018 strategic planning session. As per the plan, we are building four schools in 2019 and will continue that pace in the future. The objective is to concentrate on the holistic quality of our projects rather than quantity. We have also expanded our Board of Directors to five, with two more to be added in the near future. This is in consideration of ensuring a succession plan for the organization after the founders are no longer involved.
Please browse our website for a more detailed update of all of our projects, programs, and partnerships.