EWCV's farms are making a slow recovery after the devastation by storms and floods in July. The irony is that after the freak deluge, the rainfall in the area for the rest of the season was poor. As a family member remarked, this has been a season when the normal croaking sound of frogs that fills the air with the coming of the rains has been silent. The poor rains mean that EWCV will more than ever depend on its two boreholes for irrigation for its next harvest. EOS-UK Charity Fund has contributed £2897.00 towards the rehabilitation of farms. More than half of this sum came from the generous donation of friends and family members abroad, our supporters in the UK and members of the Charity's trustees who all responded magnanimously to the publicity about the devastation of the farms.
Life at EWCV goes on and the following are some on the notable achievements in the recent past:
This is one of EWCV's prized projects aimed at income generation to support the Village's longterm aim of becoming self-sustainable. It is a new 150-place facility which opened its doors to new entrants at the start of the new school year in September. The town of Wukro, where EWCV is located, has expanded in size in the last 10-15 years mirroring the rapid urbanisation that is taking place all over Ethiopia. There is a huge demand for nursery (kindergarten) places as the Federal government is encouraging the spread of nursery education. At the same time, both parents often go out to work to earn a living and the traditional support from grand parents is often broken as young people leave their villages and move into towns, so parents want to leave their young ones somewhere safe. EWCV is in a unique position to provide kindergarten education as there is no other public (government) or private provision for this age group in the town and the environment is secluded, safe and pleasant. The building for the extension was enabled by a grant from ERDA (Elshadai Relief and Development Association), EWCV's parent organisation. The breeze-blocks used were manufactured by EWCV itself. The furniture (table, chairs and storage cupboards) was made in Ethiopia and was paid for jointly by FECIN and EOS-UK Charity Fund with the lion's share of the funding coming from FECIN. With durability and safety in mind, both organisations specified the use of high quality materials in the manufacture of the furniture.
With the new extension, EWCV's kindergarten can now provide up to 300 places for the town's young children.
To those who come across it for the first time, it looks like an elephant in a shed, and before it was partly buried in a ditch (in order to anchor it), it looked like a beached whale. This unusual 'creature' is a bio-digester, or “Flexigester” to give it its proper name. You can feed virtually any bio-waste into it, like vegetables and animal dung mixed with water and animal urine. You can even add human waste if this can be collected easily. All this undergoes a process of bio-digestion by micro-organisms assisted by the heat from the sun. The by-product is free biogas (methane). The gas will be used for cooking thus saving expensive bills on fire wood and electricity, and saving trees from being cut. Not only does the bio-digestion produce free biogas but the waste left after the bio-digestion is a rich organic liquid fertilizer which will be used on the Village's farms.
This is an excellent example of recycling waste to extract useful products. EWCV has had a small bio-digester for a number of year, the small amount of biogas produced being used to boil water for “sterilising” the milking equipment used in the Village's dairy farm. But the Flexigester is altogether of a different order of magnitude at a capacity of 80 cubic metres. The idea of getting one for the centre was suggested by Graham Edgeley, a member of FECIN, in 2015 who had visited EWCV with his wife Lucy a few years earlier. Once the Trustees of FECIN were convinced of its value for EWCV, FECIN covered the cost of its manufacture as well as its transport to Ethiopia. It was designed by Dr John Mullett of Sustainable OneWorld Technologies C.I.C. (SOWTech) in Cambridge and is made of flexible black butyl rubber. It is manufactured in a joint partnership with Butyl Products Group based at Billericay, Essex, England. There were a lot of logistic problems to overcome because of the very strict Revenue and Customs regulations which had come into force in Ethiopia. Subsequently, Alem and his team had to prioritise tasks at EWCV to deal with unexpected problems affecting the Village. All this caused a delay in the completion of the project. But two and half years from conception the Flexigester is finally in place ready to start producing biogas and useful bio-fertiliser. Congratulations to all who made it happen and particularly to FECIN who funded the project and Alem and his team who installed it so professionally.
EWCV provides kindergarten and grade 1-8 schooling within its premises. When the students finish grade 8, they attend the local government secondary school (grades 9 and 10). They take a national examination at the end of grade 10 and those who are successful are then enrolled for the preparatory school (grades 11 and 12) to prepare them for university, or go to college or vocational training.
At EWCV, 14 students took the grade 10 national examination in June at the end of school year and 12 of them (4 females, 8 males) successfully passed the examination earning themselves a place in a preparatory school (for university). The remaining two (a male and a female) qualified for college/vocational training. Thus all 14 students qualified for post-secondary education. This is a remarkable achievement for which the students of EWCV, as well as all the donors who support the work of the centre should be proud of. The pass rate was marvellous particularly as the rate in some of the government school was apparently as low 15%. It is also worth noting that girls at EWCV are doing very well compared to their peers in government schools who are left behind due to the burden of household duties that they have to carry.
There were 160 children and young people (81 males, 79 females) being supported by EWCV during the school/academic year September 2016 – June 2017. The table gives important information about their educational stage and gender distribution. Girls are well represented at all stages except at universities and the vocational school. This was presumably because there were not enough of them in the cohort rather than due to educational disadvantage or weakness. In fact, in the case of vocational training, it could be that the girls did better than the boys and went to university or college, a trend that can be seen in other parts of the world when the barriers to girls' education are removed.
|KG/Pre-KG (6 years and under)||4||6||10|
|Grade 9 & 10 (secondary School)||16||13||29|
|Grade 11 & 12 (preparatory school)||11||12||23|
|Attending various universities across Ethiopia||12||5||17|
|At vocational school||6||1||7|
In April's update on this website, we reported how things were looking up for EWCV in its longterm desire to be as self-sufficient as possible, hopefully within the next five to ten years, by developing the productivity of its farms. Alas, we received the shocking news this week that the village's farms have been devastated by hailstorms on 19 July followed by very heavy rains and severe floods that lasted two days. It sounds almost biblical, and the rains seem to have returned with a vengeance after the well-publicised drought affecting several countries in East Africa and The Horn due to the cyclical El Niño phenomenon.
Tesfai Hailu, Programme Manager at EWCV, wrote in a message sent out to partners and supporters as follows:
“... As many of you’re aware, after receiving a tractor donation from Switzerland in 2015, we intensified our effort to enhance farm productivity. Particularly, this year, we formed partnership with an Israel based organization called CultivAid (formerly known as Engineers Without Borders), which greatly assisted us in developing the farm; utilizing modern irrigation on 0.75 hectares (1.85 acres) of land, and provided us with highly valuable selected seeds. As a result, various vegetables such as cucumber, eggplants, tomato, hot and sweet pepper, zucchini as well as water melon were planted, and showed healthy growth. Also, we had beetroot, corn, cabbage, leek, lettuce, pepper, radish growing on a 2 hectares (4.94 acres) of land. Furthermore, there was an alfalfa field for our livestock consumption on 1.2 hectares (2.97 acres) of land. The cost for land preparation, seeds, labor (excluding volunteer work) and other related expenses was Birr 820,583 (USD 35,677 at current exchange rate). The harvest – in addition to producing vegetables and fruits for children's consumption – was expected to bring income by selling the farm products in Wukro as well as Mekelle. Sadly, everything has been damaged by hailstorm which fell on 19th. of July; followed by heavy rain and flooding for next couple of days.
Sure enough, this adversely affects our food security and financial capacity (emphasis by editor) not only in the form of lost income but having to depend more on the costly market for purchasing crops and vegetables for children as well as animal feed for our livestock. Equally concerning, management and employees’ (especially that of Farm) and some of the children’s morale has been badly bruised. So, while we regret having to share this sad news with you, we’re compelled to do so in the hope of getting badly needed support if at all possible. In particular, we wonder if any one of you would be able to assist us in identifying an organization that may be able to provide support in the form of disaster relief as the devastation we’re experiencing is extremely difficult to overcome on our own (emphasis by editor). Internet cooperating, we will next send before and after sample pictures for your quick viewing. And anyone who plans to visit the Village anytime soon will be able to see the damage firsthand”.
EOS-UK Charity Fund, along with its sister charities FECIN and SHARE, is supporting the management at EWCV with advice, and is trying desperately to see how material and financial support can be mobilised to help them with disaster relief and eventually with getting them back on track with their development work. However, we are only small charities and the situation calls for the involvement of bigger charities with the resources and expertise at managing major disasters.
All financial support will be welcomed and donations by debit card can be made to EOS-UK Charity Fund's bank account with Lloyds bank A/c No. 59948860, sort code 30-94-93, or by cheque made out in favour of EOS-UK Charity Fund and returned to The Hon. Treasurer, EOS-UK Charity Fund, c/o 5 The Cedars, Stockwell Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 9AZ. For UK tax payers who may wish to complete a gift-aid mandate, please download and print one of the forms available under 'donate'. EOS-UK Charity Fund is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and its registration number is 1172420.
One of our trustee members, Chris Cook paid a personal visit to EWCV in February with two of her friends, Sue and Helen, and was very pleased with what she saw. The children had never looked so well and she felt that the centre was generally better managed and run. The management at EWCV are more confident than ever at developing the centre to be more self-sufficient.
There have been some positive developments that have increased the management's optimism. One of the major developments has been introduction of mechanised farming in place of the age-old slow and laborious traditional oxen-drawn plough. A tractor was donated to EWCV in June 2015 by two of their friends/partners in Switzerland and they can now get two harvest of cereals a year from their farm besides their fruit and vegetables which are available throughout the year. There is, of course, the well publicised threat of draught which is again affecting a number of African countries, particularly in The Horn. So far the draught has not affected them badly at EWCV, but it is the normal dry season which means that they are dependent on irrigation from the ever-dwindling water of the nearby river and their two boreholes. They need water pumps for this, of course, and at least one of their two pumps is due for replacement. This is a substantial expenditure for which they are looking to funders and donors for support.
The second piece of good news is that SHARE, a medical charity based in Sheffield (www.sharesheffield.org.uk), has formed a formal link with EWCV. Some of SHARE's members have been individually associated with EWCV for the past past six years during their visits to Ayder hospital in Mekelle, particularly Jane Boyce who delivers basic dental treatment to some, and oral health education to all of the children in association with Ayder Hospital. Members have also taken in their luggage allowance donated clothing including over 300 summer school uniforms and 150 tops, and 50 pairs of shoes during their November 2016 visit.
Another development that has energised the management's optimism at EWCV is a visit this year by Engineer Without Borders Israel. Working under the name 'CultivAid, their objective is to trial many new varieties of vegetables and cereal crops and so hope to make the village's farm an example of good practice using the most productive crops. The engineers have also cultivated previously uncultivated land and planted new fruiting trees.
EWCV's partners in Switzerland, Hilfsprogekt Elshadai in Wukro Ȁthiopien (www.wukrokinder.ch), have renewed their partnership until 2020. This forms the fourth happy development in the first quarter of 2017.
EOS-UK Charity Fund changed its structure in January from governance under the Small Charity Constitution to a Foundation Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) governed under the foundation 'model' constitution. The foundation model will make for a more efficient way of running the Charity's business, but it also means that according to the constitution the only voting members are the Charity Trustees. However, the trustees recognise the importance of involving its supporters and has passed a bye-law, by-law 6/3/2017, on how this might be achieved. The by-law reads:
"INFORMAL OR ASSOCIATE (NON-VOTING) MEMBERSHIP
As per the CIO's constitution, the only voting members are the Charity Trustees. However, all individuals or organisations who pay a regular sponsorship donation shall become associate (non-voting) members - an organisation can only have one nominated representative who may become an associate (non-voting) member. Associate (non-voting) members shall have the right to attend the AGM and may be nominated to be elected as Charity trustees (maximum number 12) or when vacancies arise”.
EOS-UK Charity Fund's trustees held their first AGM on 18 March 2017 at their usual venue, the Members Room at Wolverhampton Cricket Club (WCC). One of the trustees is a social member of WCC and the trustees are very grateful to the management of the Club for affording the use of such a comfortable venue for its meetings.
At the AGM, the trustees annual report and annual financial accounts were approved and the trustees also passed eight by-laws to the CIO constitution of which by-law 6/3/2017 (mentioned above) is one. Besides the rights described in by-law 6/3/2017, the trustees also resolved that all the CIO's supporters will be sent with the minutes of the AGM, the trustees' annual report and the statement of the annual accounts.
Chris Cook, one of our founding charity trustees, donated in January a personal gift of £5000.00 to EWCV through the Charity. That will become £6125.00 when the Charity claims gift-aid tax at the end of its financial year in December.
Chris also held at the beginning of February a very successful fund-raising event with a guest speaker (Ian McMillan, a Yorkshire poet and raconteur) at Tickhill Methodist Church, Doncaster. This was followed by a buffet supper. The event raised £1855.89. This was transferred to EWCV in February together with Chris's gift of £5000.00. The trustees acknowledged all the hard work done, and generosity shown, by Chris particularly as she also paid the speaker's fees and the cost of the buffet out of her pocket. When Chris visited EWCV in February the management informed her that they would put the £5000.00 towards their agricultural development to take forward some of the ideas from the visiting Engineers Without Borders.
EWCV's agricultural development is indeed a key area EOS-UK Charity Fund aims to play a part in, together with other partners, in EWCV's endeavour to become as self-sustaining as possible in the next 5-10 years.
EOS-UK Charity Fund has transferred £4890.00 to its beneficiaries at Elshadai Wukro Children's Village (EWCV) since it was founded six months ago in June 2016. The Charity was set up to try and mitigate the acute financial problem EWCV was facing. They are managing as best they can at the 'village' at present thanks to the income from their farm produce and the educational services they provide to the local community together with any help they receive from their friends and partners. They are currently responsible for about 33% of their annual budget from their own resources. Their kindergarten provision in particular is in great demand and they are expanding this service from September 2017 as a matter of priority as part of building their increasing self-sufficiency. Elshadai Relief and Development Agency (ERDA), EWCV's parent organisation in Ethiopia, is helping them with the cost of the necessary infrastructure development (one block with three classes and lounge/cafeteria) for the expansion of the kindergarten.
Supporting EWCV to develop their longterm self-sufficiency (or 'giving them fishing rods') is, of course, one of the main objects EOS-UK Charity Fund was founded for. However, the vulnerable children's immediate welfare needs ('giving them fish') take priority at present. The Charity has, therefore, transferred to them the funds it received to-date both from its trusted regular sponsors and generous one-off/ad-hoc donors. The first transfer was a modest sum of £825.00 in September 2016, but the second transfer, which took place at the end of December, was £4065.00 making the total of £4890.00 quoted above. The latter sum was sent just in time for Ethiopian Christmas which falls on the 7th of January, and the money was very welcomed as they had, apparently, had a rather dismal time at Ethiopian Easter 2016 due to a shortage of funds. Easter is the biggest annual festival in the Ethiopian Christian calendar.
"...We are overjoyed to hear news of such vital and very timely support, and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for making this possible while EOS is indeed at its infancy".
(Quoted from a thank you letter from EWCV when the £4065.00 was transferred).
EOS-UK Charity Fund would like to thank all its supporter for enabling it to make a good start. It would like to pay special gratitude to John O'Donovan who raised £1000.00 in just six months when he learnt of the plight the children at EWCV were facing. John raises funds for charities by entertainment activities in his spare time.
The senior management at EWCV have had many agonising moments over the years over funding shortages. However, all visitors to the centre are struck by how truly happy the children look, always - a real credit to those who are caring for them.
EOS-UK Charity Fund has been granted Gift-Aid approval by HMRC. The Charity is now working towards registering with the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
EOS-UK Charity Fund's website is now available via www.eos-uk.org as well as the previous https://eos-uk.herokuapp.com which is perhaps more cumbersome. The Charity's email address has also been changed to email@example.com which is easier to remember.