Finns are not that great in receiving or giving compliments. So let me start off by giving compliments. I really value these characteristics of Finns: humbleness, listening, openness, subtle social intelligence, caring, language skills. These are skills our current Minister for International Development, Mrs. Sirpa Paatero and her delegation, who visited us in the Amhara region on January 8-9, possess. It is a easy to host a team with such characteristics. Go Finns!
Then I have to continue with compliments for Ethiopia. There is a joy and ambition in Ethiopians which always gives me energy. Let me conclude this in one sentence: no matter what the situation or the status of a person, there will always be dance. You have observed this already in the first photo of this blog post.
The reason for the delegation visiting Ethiopia was to observe some of the results achieved with Finnish taxpayers’ money.
Finland uses 879,4 million euro of its governmental budget for actual development cooperation. That means taxpayers in Finland pay an annual 161 euros for the work we do. Thank you, taxpayers.
Of the long-term partners Finland is working with Ethiopia at the moment receives the largest share of financial aid, a chunk of nearly 14 million euros in 2014.
So here we were in Ethiopia hosting a high-level delegation. What did we show them in the Amhara state?
We started off with an exhibition in which we presented some of our current projects. Finland is currently supporting 4 bilateral projects in Ethiopia. Bilateral means a project is based on an agreement between two governments (multilateral = many dudes involved, multi=many, so we could have World Bank and UN together, for instance). Finland’s current bilateral projects revolve around agricultural development, water and sanitation and land registration.
After the exhibition we embarked on a field programme to really see some results at the grassroots level. First we saw an Ethiopian household which had benefitted from getting improved water and sanitation services. Finland is supporting sanitation and water activities in two projects, Co-WASH and FinnWASH.
After that we met with a local cooperative which has, for the first time in Ethiopia, managed to produce certified onion seed – a big agronomic breakthrough. A seed that is of better quality not only can provide higher yields and have less disease outbreaks, but it also adds more money to farmers’ pockets as the seed producers are able to sell a quality product. This initiative is supported by the project I work in, Agro-BIG. Producing certified onion seed is one of the many activities we are doing in our project which aims at value chain development.
We then visited Ambo Mesk Primary School, a local school close to a town called Merawi. The school has nearly 1700 students and 36 teachers. In Ethiopia school enrollment rates have improved in the past years as they have in the whole world. Over 90 % of kids in developing countries get to start primary school these days.
We also familiarized with a Finnish funded project which is focused on pole marketing in the Amhara region. The money for this project comes from a Finnish NGO called FFD. You can read more about this project in Atte’s blog.
Finally we got to learn how important land registration can be for farmers and how Finland is funding such activities in Ethiopia.
We hope we did well. We welcome all visitors to Ethiopia to see what it is we are doing here!
P.S. These were among the few things Finland is currently doing in Ethiopia. There are lots of other actors here as well. You can read more about it here.