Project Update - June 2019


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.

Water Source at Sebatamit

Water Source at Sebatamit

Strawberry Planting

Strawberry Planting

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.

Opening of Gimjabet High School

Opening of Gimjabet High School

Exciting Developments in Ethiopia!

Here is another missive from our Ethiopian Executive Director, Yehalem, about exciting developments in the country:

“The new prime minister pleasantly surprised many of us by bringing women to power in unbelievable size. He has down sized the ministries and appointed women to head 50% of them. This morning, the parliament approved his nominee for the Supreme Court and we have now the first woman president of the supreme court with the monumental task of making the justice system independent. More importantly, Ethiopia also got its first woman head of state (president) just last week.”

Sahel-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

Sahel-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia


In other news, we have partnered with the international organization, Operation Eyesight, and Yehalem recently sent this report:

“Operation eyesight’s ophthalmologist gave a one day practical training to 2-4 teachers from our target schools on screening children with eye problems and the teachers have started screening students… Operation Eyesight people have also brought us lots of glasses which will be dispensed to students and staff by volunteers from the Bahir Dar University’s eye department.”

Update: Lots of new developments!

New Prime Minister brings Reform

Yehalem writes that

“there have been very encouraging developments in Ethiopia over the last 6 months with the coming to power of a new prime minister. To mention a few, Ethiopia and Eritrea have resumed diplomatic relations after 20 years; all political prisoners have been released; the  press, civil society and press laws are being revised by an independent team of experts and with input from stakeholders; and, opposition groups are returning home... We are all excited here and things are moving faster than anybody thought.”

Projects on the go

We have increased our capacity from doing 2 project in the previous year to 4 in 2018, thanks to having been able to mobilize an amazing 70% of the costs of projects within the country. Three of the schools are opening in October and the fourth will open in January 2019. We have so far implemented the physical capacity upgrades and started the school greening aspects of the new projects, and we have installed water tanks and access thereto in our existing schools. Teacher training programs in all schools will continue in October. We also conducted learning assessments in all of our schools (including those being upgraded this year) in June 2018. The analysis compares this year’s results with results from similar assessments done on existing schools last year, and includes school-to-school comparisons. The principals and teachers are very excited about the assessments and are keen to use them as a baseline for improvements.


FGCF recognition

We are extremely happy that the federal ministry of education recently acknowledged our cost effective, participatory, and holistic approach. They invited our Executive Director, Yehalem, to speak and share our model at a conference held in Addis Ababa for NGOs and government agencies working on education throughout Ethiopia.

Visit from Yehalem

Yehalem will be coming to Canada again in November. We are planning a major strategic planning session which include him, along with our new Board members Grant Simpson and Terry Hillaby, and a number of other individuals who will lend their perspectives on the future of FGCF.

Project Update - April 2017

Project Update - April 2017

We are delighted to welcome a uniquely qualified professional, Abiyot Ashenafi, to our team. Abiyot has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, a bachelor’s degree in Educational Planning and Management and fifteen years of experience in education related endeavours in both the public and non-profit sectors.

Project Update - October 2016

David, Gina, and Danielle Gibbie, General Manager of one of our major funders, D. Keith MacDonald Foundation, recently returned from Ethiopia. The state of emergency restricted communications and some road travel; however, we were able to participate in the official grand openings of our two new schools, Azena and Abichikili, as well as visit our first school at Sebatamit. We felt incredibly rewarded by the happiness of students, teachers, parents, and administration alike at all of the schools and the apparent success of the teacher training and water and sanitation workshops at Sebatamit. We thank our donors from Whitehorse, Edmonton, Toronto and Calgary for your support in enabling such life changing opportunities for Ethiopians.

Project Update - July 2016

Yehalem, our Executive Director, recently traveled to the Amhara region to assess progress on the new Azena and Abichikili schools.  Construction on both is advancing well and they will be fully complete in August and ready for use well before the beginning of the academic year on September 28. The education department is responsible for assigning staff to the new schools and they have now almost finished, this after consultation with, and review of candidates by, Yehalem. Books have also been selected and ordered for the schools and plans are underway to make drinking water available.