Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed should not have appointed a divisive figure to chair the Advisory CouncilOn 6 July 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made an impassioned plea to the diaspora community to contribute a dollar a day for vital socio-economic projects. In his address to the House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Prime Minister urged the diaspora community to put aside a dollar-a-day from their daily macchiato runs. Abiy projected that three million Ethiopians living in the diaspora could generate up to $30 million a month. He also reassured the diaspora community that their contribution would be well-managed by an independent trust fund.
“Not even one cent will be misused,” he promised in Amharic.
Just over a month later, the Prime Minister announced the formation of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF). The EDTF received tax-exempt nonprofit status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that September and started accepting online contributions that October. Two months later, only 2,800 diaspora community members had contributed to the fund. Frustrated by the low number, the Prime Minister renewed his call to diaspora community members. He urged them to demonstrate their commitment to Ethiopia with actions, not words.
Almost two years have now passed since the Prime Minister’s impassioned plea. So far, close to 26,000 donors have given $6.2 million, amounting to only 1 percent of the Prime Minister’s projection. This is meager fundraising. It may be tempting to blame the diaspora community, but it is time for the Prime Minister to properly evaluate the EDTF’s performance, starting with his selection of the Advisory Council. The Prime Minister should not have appointed divisive, controversial figures to the Advisory Council—particularly as chairman.
Yes, I am talking about Alemayehu G. Mariam (Al Mariam), professor of political science at California State University San Bernardino. I am one of millions in the Ethiopian diaspora who have not yet contributed to the EDTF. I decided not to contribute the moment I noticed Al Mariam’s name listed as the Chairman of the Advisory Council.
The success of a fundraising team begins with its leadership. Fundraising leaders should inspire, mobilize, and bring people together. I realize bringing the Ethiopian diaspora community together is a challenging task. We are divided across ethnic and political lines, which presents a steep challenge even for a unifying figure.
Al Mariam, however, has earned a reputation as a divisive, controversial contrarian. As one of the loudest voices in the diaspora opposing Abiy’s predecessors, particularly the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, he viciously attacked everything they did.
Take the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The topic of building a dam on the Blue Nile is one of few issues that brings Ethiopians together. Most agree, regardless of their political stance, that building a dam on the Blue Nile will help lift our country out of poverty. Emperor Haile Selassie I first had the idea of building a dam on the Nile’s main tributary in 1964. His successor President Mengistu Hailemariam proposed building a series of dams on the Blue Nile in 1978. It, however, was not until 2011 that former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced plans for the GERD to be built near the border with Sudan.
Most Ethiopians rejoiced. Who in their right mind would oppose the GERD for non-environmental concerns, right? Well, Al Mariam did.
Blinded by his biases against Meles, Al Mariam repeatedly referred to the dam as the “so-called Grand Renaissance Dam.” In 2013, he tagged the GERD “a vanity make-believe project intended to glorify Meles.” Meles wanted to build the dam, he wrote, “to have a concrete memorial that could immortalize and glorify him as the little ‘Big Man’ of Africa.”
In 2014, he called the GERD “an Ethiopian white elephant”—the same GERD he visited with Abiy this year, posing for a picture with the dam as a backdrop. Now, Al pens columns defending the project with the same ferocity with which he used to denounce it.
His opposition to Ethiopia’s infrastructural development did not stop at the hydropower project. He called the new Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, the first modern electrified line in East Africa, which runs along Ethiopia’s main trade corridor, “the first ghost railway to nowhere.” He named the newly built African Union Hall in Addis Ababa the “African Beggars Union Hall.” He dubbed the Addis Light Rail, a fairly advanced rapid transit system for sub-Saharan Africa, a “public relations stunt.” And so it goes on.
Granted, the Advisory Council has other members I respect. Like Prime Minister Abiy, I appreciate their willingness to dedicate their time and efforts to this cause.
For me, however, Al Mariam as Chairman remains the face of the EDTF. While he has every right to oppose the building of a dam or any other project, his extreme views and divisive vocabulary are polarizing, not unifying. Why did the Prime Minister appoint him to chair the EDTF if he wants to bring Ethiopians together?
If Abiy wants to improve the fundraising performance of the EDTF, now is the time to opt for a unifying figure. If he appoints one, I, for one, will start making my dollar-a-day contribution.
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This is the author’s viewpoint. However, Ethiopia Insight will correct clear factual errors.
Editor: William Davison
Main photo: Al Mariam being interviewed at GERD
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Bruck – Next time you write an article please make sure to check your facts before you make it public. Not contributing is a personal choice, however, there is no relationship between the fund‘s performance and the fact that the Chairman is a divisive figure. Take a look at Birtukan Mideksa for example, she’s supposed to be the most divisive person (given the fact that she was a member of the opposition) to lead the National Election Board, hence, not a single politician nor ordinary citizen has opposed her for her leadership nor questioned her performance. Before you judge the professor, make sure you have a good enough reason to to contribute. Yes, the professor is a divisive figure but it has nothing to do with the fund’s low performance. Low performance in fundraising is often tied to low marketing efforts, and Inability to see the fruits of the fund – and that’s what happened in this situation.
So would I!
In fact the one person in the world that makes my moods change to one of depression is Al Mariam. Al Mariam doesn’t only hate, but he is the embodyment of hate, he is hate himself. One needs to be protected from him!
The sadest thing is Abiy talks good and surrounds himself with people like Al Mariam. You can not reach to some thing right by doing it wrong!
EDTF had such a potential if it was led by the better qualified, enthusiastic, positive-minded generation and less political luggage. Al is the face of the failed Hippo generation in Ethiopia. I watched him with rather amusement for the last 12 years and even his stands on U.S. politics is very strange and confusing for the younger generation. It’s sad because there are so many brilliant Ethiopians in the Diaspora instead we’re stuck with character whose main accomplishment is demoralizing not uplifting diaspora. Despite what he thinks he’s not our voice. He certainly does not speak for me. I love and support Obama so I am proud to be on Al’s enemy’s list. Sad to see EDTF not succeeding because of one person. Too bad for you Ethiopia.
I agree with Bruck 100%. Finally someone says in public what most in the Diaspora have been lamenting in private and on social media posts for years. Abiy screwed up on this project. Al Mariam is held at arms length in the Diaspora even before COVID because he is a very vindictive and negative individual. Although he claims to be against TPLF, but in fact he is actually against anyone that does not endorse his regular tirade of abuse. Most people, like myself and this gifted young Ethio-American graduate student, have yet to contribute to EDTF because Al Mariam failed to represent us. I was one of the Obama supporters who endured his years of harassment. I personally knew immediately that this was a non-starter especially in America when he started yelling his brouhaha and beating his chest like a madman about EDTF. It was very abnormal behavior in terms of the robust fundraising culture in the states, but typical of him. He thought he can insult his way into raising money for his vanity project? And, alas, he’s failed miserably based on the numbers collected after more than 24 months, which is sufficient data to measure this kind of financial endeavors. You can tell then that he was up to no good and as of this week he is still not up to the job. Diaspora can not wait for him to reform. We need pure unity, crave respect, cooperation and cohesion. Not Al mariam’s style of lip service to fake ‘medemer’ to score a cheap political point. We’re sick and tired of his perpetual word-games. We demand honest and fresh new leadership that can inspire team spirit, camaraderie, esprit de corps. Let’s go Diaspora!
I stopped my contribution after I learned the secrets of Obo Lemma Megerssa and his team. I felt like they duped us in to believing that they would stand for Ethiopia. The euphoria of ousting TPLF was so big that we were willing to give anything but then, they became the second coming only replacing TPLF with OLF. Most of the contribution to begin with was not from the die-hard ethnic diaspora community but, from those who espouse to see a fair and just Ethiopia which cares equally to all its citizens. TPLF members and supporters are never part of the contribution and they never will be. They always have their EFFORT to contribute to. If anything, they will be lining up first to take a portion for which they take no part.
Almariam did an outstanding job in exposing TPLF and its wide network of henchmen of their dubious agenda of dismantling the country to form their own little fiefdom unless they stay on top of the political and economic pyramid. The diaspora community is very eager to help the country but would like to see a system of government which is at least aspiring to end the favoritism of one ethnic over the others. We are ready to give more than requested but we can’t be part of a system that would eventually use our money to fracture and dismantle our country. We are paying attention to what is happening in Addis Ababa and all over the country and how unfairly people are treated in their own country. A country which deports its own citizens to the far end corner just because they are from “undesired” ethic group deserves not our help but condemnation.
Why I have contributed to the GERD and do the same to EDTF
I would like to thank the writer if the intention of his writing is to show a direction to ease polarization in the diaspora community. I believe no one, whether in a diaspora or at home, oppose his/her country’s development irrespective of whom the player at the top is. However, a responsible person cannot stay silent and watch while his/her country’s government is working against the core national interest of his/her nation (leaving the country land locked and spending about a fifth of its meager foreign trade income as port charges), implementing deeply divisive ethnic policy, practicing rampant human right violation, performing widespread corruption, etc.
Opposing TPLF did not mean opposing development. I think the writer missed a balance of judgment in his implicit view of relating the highly corrupt, TPLF, and the so called divisive Al Mariam. If divisiveness is a measure of support, then who is more divisive, TPLF or Al Mariam? And where lies the logical reasoning to not contribute for a cause to support building schools for those taking their classes under trees and financing water supply projects for our poor rural fellow citizens if he sanely support projects like GERD that were highly abused by the unaccounted system? The writer portrayed those who used to vehemently oppose TPLF’s malpractice as a symbol of divisive persona with wrong mindset. All Ethiopian, except few beneficiaries, used to oppose TPLF’s bad governance. Does that mean the Ethiopian people at large are divisive?
Even though it is not under the scope of this writing, we have to mention some clear evidences to show the magnitude of the mismanagement of the whole system by TPLF. TPLF left the country not only empty coffer, but with a huge debt (more than USD 52 000,000.00 (52 Billion Dollar)) while their loudly spoken economic development results less than USD 3 Billion annual export income and paying about a Billion as port charges while the country’s import soar to about 17 Billion. God knows from where this gap to be filled. That is the main reason the present government is entangled and obliged to sell the country’s national assets like Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio-telecom, Sugar Factories, Energy generation facilities, Ethio Djibouti railway service (one of the mentioned project in the writer’s argument (Even the finance provider and builder do not show interest to take this business because it is not viable)). Therefore, starting a big project should not necessarily sanction unequivocal support because it may end up in big failure too. Those who used to oppose TPLF’s mismanaged projects might have been considered as visionaries that saw tomorrows.
I would have expected a holistic and intellectual analysis, draw a convincing conclusion and suggest solutions on the lack of sufficient response of the diaspora community towards the call of supporting our citizens instead of gripping a polarized stance in the name of opposing polarization. I suggest to the writer to bravely cross the divisive line (most probably ethnic in our case) and uphold the universally accepted principles that may bring humanity first. As a graduate candidate of such a prestigious institution, his future persona should not be left at risk of suffering due to his implicit bias
GERD is a symbolic project not only to us but to Africa. Even though I am a living witness of the corrupt practice of TPLF and as a result became highly critical, I contributed to the support of GERD knowing that part of my money would be looted. I do the same on EDTF. However, it seems that the writer does not have a question of trust on the abuse of EDTF by Al Mariam and et al, means he has no doubt where the fund may go.
Therefore, if we really act as a responsible citizen, we have try to find genuine solutions to our problems and respond to the call of support to help reduce the burden of our needy people irrespective of the identity of the public relation officer as long as the cause is right and as long as we have no doubt on the allocation of the fund goes to the right cause.
When TPLF took the leadership role in EPRDF, Ethiopia was facing two fundamental political crisis. One was that Eritrea’s secession had become irreversible, and the other was the need to accommodate the demand for regional self-rule especially by the Oromos and Ogaden Somalis. One outcome was that instead of Geez/Ethiopic alphabet, the Oromos chose Latin/English alphabet for their language. The awakening of identity politics, ethnic politics, had arrived in Ethiopia, it was inevitable and unavoidable. Under the circumstances, ethnic federalism was intended to save the country from endless conflict. In this regard TPLF acted in good faith to hold the nation together, and it did. This allowed TPLF to focus on nation-building and economic development. Ethiopia’s economic situation is much better now than it was 25 years ago. In any case, regardless of the repetitive vilification and defamation, GERD when completed will be seen by fair-minded observers as part of TPLF legacy for a better Ethiopia.
What a title, “why I have not contributed…..” Very sad.
This writer wants someone he approves to run the show so he can start contributing? Which makes me conclude that he is not about who the donation is for but about who is running the show.
If he dislike the PM’s appointee, that is okay, but holding back on giving as if he is giving to fatten Prof Al Mariam’s pocket is beyond me.
Besides, unfortunately and generally speaking, for Ethiopians or Ethiopian diaspora , no matter who is appointed, somebody will for sure be unhappy next and which means, the poor people to whom this donation is for will get your donation then somebody will decide to not contribute until the next so called unifying figure is miraculous found and meets their definition of “unifying figure” – Alas my people! I some time lose hope, God help us!
The PM will never be able to find someone that everyone thinks is a unifying figure. So if you want to give, please just give. If you want to wait until the next perfect man comes, good luck. By the way, you (the writer of this article) should also start acting like a unifying figure. How? By forgiving others, by not pointing finger to let the world know that somebody did something wrong – when one points one finger to others, three fingers point to self. No one is perfect.
Besides was it just Prof Al Mariam that was the only one against the Dam project? Have you ever tried to also ask the why those who were against the project were against it? Was it only because they believed the project is useless? Please people let’s get out of this negative behavior of blaming and criticizing business and be good to each other or at minimum just leave other people and their act alone and do what you can?
Last but not least, how about all of the time, energy and knowledge Prof. Al Mariam has been putting since the last two years to help make the effort successful? Has this writer thought about the good work Prof Al Mariam has done for our needy people?
Egezeo meharene kristos- santatam lenalf new- yasasebal.
I don’t know what Abiy was thinking. Alemayehu G. Mariam (Al Mariam) is clearly not the most respected guy in the Diaspora both as scholarly and individually because he does not understand the concept of “mutual respect” as well as extending credit or sharing credit with others who truly deserve it. He is only into those who like to tootle his horn for him. In other words, he is not a leader. He does not know how to be one. As an Ethiopian American I have never really been impressed by him at all. He has small ego and is extremely divisive to our community. If you want my $$$ dude should resign now.
Dear Bruck Kebede,
You hit the nail on the head! It was a total blunder on the part of Abiy Ahmed (whom I respect and support) to trust this guy to deliver genuine unity in the diaspora. I am one of the millions in the Diaspora who are withholding our money for the same reason. This historic failing of EDTF with an embarrassingly low 6 million income two years later out of 3 million strong disporans enlisting only 26,000 people is a disaster by any standard. If EDTF was a business the manger would be dismissed immediately. I agree there are very good and experienced people serving on the board but their hands are tied because you know who. Just read his writing, which in my opinion is very light weight intellectually and loaded with mean-spirited and bullying vocabulary, mostly enviously whining about others if not directly then in tired and boring double-speak. And he calls it ‘speaking truth to power’ lol…and refers to himself as ‘human rights activists.’ lol again. How about ‘opportunist’? huh? The truth is that he’s anything but a unifying figure. In fact most of his past outbursts in addtion to GERED indicate contradictions, hypocrisy and often just pure fantasy to be generous. Here are some of the infamous quotes for your entertainment:
“Kudos to Trump’s First Year Human Rights Record in Africa” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 29 Dec 2017 (Clapping with one hand?)
“Trump is the grand master of the art of demonization, dehumanization, polarization, vulgarization, personalization, marginalization, infantilization, fictionalization, trivialization, dramatization and demoralization.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 12 Apr 2020
“The fact of the matter is that President Trump is the first American president to classify “serious human rights abuse and corruption” as a “threat to American national security, foreign policy and economy. That is simply breathtaking! — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 29 Dec 2017 (hmmmm. breathtaking. indeed)
“I am elated that Trump should take such a bold stand on freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, but I am not surprised.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 11 Mar 2018 (Gone with the wind)
“Of course, Trump is obsessed with obliterating anything Obama has done.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 12 Apr 2020
“Hail, Barack Obama, Diplocrite-in-Chief! — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 20 Mar 2016 (infantilization?)
“Shame On Me For Being Proud of President Obama!” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 28 Sep 2014 (personalization?)
“The “Virtue-ization” of Hypocrisy by Barack Obama.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 27 May 2016 (demonization or demonization?)
“The sophistry of history President Obama likes to pontificate about being on the “right side of history” and rhetorically clobber those who are on the “wrong side of history”. — Alemayehu G. Mariam, 04 May 2014 (polarization or fictionalization?)
So the inconsistencies and contradictions go on and on. The sad state of EDTF has nothing to do with the Diaspora that’s actually very capable and well endowed. But it has everything to do with wrong leadership. I support his replacement. I will give $10,000 in a drop of a hut.
Why should on focus on individual animosity leaving the big cause of supporting a country to grow aside. A very parochial view of Ethiopia”s worry and suffering to break a vicious cycle of fued and egoism. Please do not wast your precious time on something that further weaken Ethiopias will to grow and advance into the future.
Here is what I said seven years ago about GERD when TPLF was on
Like Al Mariam I denounced TPLF for its corruption and humanrights violations.
I supported Abiy’s rule for few months and stopped my support because of his soft stand on Oromo extremists that launched ethnic killing bordering Oromo Kilil including the outskirts of Addis Ababa.
The likes of Jawar Mohammed anti Amhara Hutu propaganda, OMM, from Addis Ababa for more than 2 years has been much worst than the 26 years propaganda of TPLF.
Abiy Ahmed appeasment of Jawar Mohammed and harassing Eskinder Nega until now is not condemned by Al Mariam.
Al Mariam opposition to TPLF seems not from “philosophical” point rather from ethnical perspective.
Abiy Ahmed new Prosperity Party and TPLF have one fundamental similarity regarding corruption. Past EPRDF corruption is seen by ethnic lense. Our thieves are OK and yours can go to jail.
My stand has been clear. There should be an independent body to investigate Corruption.
GERD should be completed by all means to allievate Ethiopians from poverty not as a source of foreign currency to be looted by unaccountable, unelected rulers.
In his writings Al Mariam was on a jihad against anything and everything TPLF, with an intense animosity bordering on the pathological more than political. Describing the GERD as a “vanity project” and the Djibouti rail as a “ghost railway to nowhere” is a deliberate falsification of the truth, a distortion of reality.
Don’t make excuses not to contribute to your country.
To begin with the professor (i am in doubt if he got the status) is filled with extreme hate & backward thinking.he was one of the individuals who opposed the sales of Ethiopian government bonds in the US.selecting a person who is a traitor to lead such a big organization is not the right way i also advice the pm to think over the issue.
I thank the writer of this article for his genuine proposal.
The problem is not who chair EDTF. It is our political cultural mesmerization intricately in our daily life of hate, defamation and self serving mannerisms. This holds true for the people in the government and in the opposition, at home and in diaspora. Therefore, we need modest political culture to our problems.
Jawar Mohammed was runner-up for the position.
I fully agree with this message. I was keen to do my share contribution. But seeing Alemayehhu name stopped me in my trucks. How can we create a momentum to this message and be effective.
Thank you. The post has been informative.
I don’t know a lot. Was EDTF formed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister? The EDTF (Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund) should have been formed by the Ethiopian Diaspora themselves. I think you should have taken part electing members of the advisory council before contributing to the trust fund they would be heading. Why would the Ethiopian PM select and appoint figures for the Trust Fund?
The writer of this article is absolutely right. Abiy know what he is doing. For Abiy one of the criteria he is looking for to appoint people is those who have deep hate against TPLF, and insults one ethnic group . The so-called Al-Mariam is one of those Diaspora communities who is intoxicated with hate and the first Ethiopian who openly called AlSisi to open war against Ethiopia, because the GERD is building during EPRDF. For this kind of mad man you have to dry the lake to catch the fish. This is out of hate against TPLF. Now he is the one of the closest advisor of Abiy. One thing what we have to know is that Abiy have multiple faces in which many of us do not understand now to take necessary measures. Tomorrow will be another day but it will be to-late. We all blinded by many fake news coming from Abiy funded Facebooks and other mainstream media outlets.
Ethiopian at this time is under the direct supervision of foreigners and one of them is Shabia. The prime minster hate towards one group don’t have limits. Ethiopia at this time is invaded by Shabia security officers and as a result of this our national security is in jeopardy. Imagine when one of the most dictator of our time and an ardent enemy of the Ethiopian people Isayas openly said that he will interfere in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and yet the prime minister said nothing what does it indicate? Ethiopia have many crazy individuals which seems we the people gave them absolute authority to do whatever they want, without limitations. If we don’t actively engage people like Al- Mariam will inflict more damage than good to our country . He blindly hate EPRDF, the same thing he blindly supported the Abiy government. Can we call it opportunist or dogma intellectualism?
Your argument is ridiculous and embarrassing to come out from a student from Harvard. Because Trump is divisive are you telling me that I don’t have to contribute to America’s welfare? I hope you are not a student of what you claimed to be. What a shame and what a disappointment at best. I don’t have to spend more time responding to your stupid thinking.
I’m in view that if someone is doing charity for patriotic cause or any other godly actives, petty issues, personal
antagonism, old griences and bad politics shouldn’t be deciding factors before even things take off the ground. Why not let those kinds of issues take their natural course such as through administrative mechanicanism board reshuffling and so on. Personally I didn’t contributed to the said fund but I won’t criticize those citizens who did and put their precious time and energy on such well-meaning cause. Having said that . I’m still suspecious wether those billions worth charities that were collected forcefully from inside and outside of the country in last 10 years for GERD dam other pet projects by the currupted TPLF were wasted or lost in dark pit. By the way, I received message few weeks from Ethiopian envoy in Canada to contribute small charity to the pending of coronovirus virus pandemic in back home I a’m willing to do my small part in that upcoming process I’m feel good about it..
First of all the writer did not critisize the one’s who contributed. On the other hand in your defence you stated that political errors can be corrected by reshuffling and adjustments. I don’t think you realized that the writer’s ask was for the correction/reshuffling to happen as it is not working(1%). Another you seem to believe that “Nothing is perfect, things happen progressively”. If so why it bothers you so much that money was lost(some of it due to corruption) in the process of building the GERD which is by far a massive project. Lastly In my eyes when it comes to corruption we need to be very specific. You have to mention the name of the individual(list of individuals), the amount of money, the how and the when. This type of allegations need to be addressed on the supreme court. I don’t think accussing a party collectively is the way to go, nor is true the other parties are innocent. I hope this makes sense to you. Peace!!
Loved the article “Why I have not contributed to the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.” Dr. Abiye should read it and hopefully make him rethink all these clowns around him. They clearly are not helping him and are diservice to Dr. Abiye. Excellen article and to the point, good job.
Well, people make a mistake and brave people learn from their mistake. This article for me sounds rather written to divide Ethiopian further and engage them with blame game to each other. Exactly what the Egyptian want. In fact, the writer clearly lucks comprehensive understandings of the need to unite ALL Africans including those who once opposed the building of the dam.
This article also singled out one person and seems not written by matured person.
My call to all Africans, Let’s build the GERD and show the world that Africa is capeble of building and implementing mega projects by her own resources!!!!
Please let us not return to the hate mongering attitude. We need unit this time thsn ever. The writer’s intention is not clear and some of the comments followed are more toxic thsn corrective. Fool is fool even he goes to school goes the saying. Better focus on something productive thsn distructive. We Ethiopians may not need a peny from divisive diaspora. Keep your cin and stop from deviding us.
Thanks to Buruk for the article. He had initiated discussions and clarified his reasoning why he and millions of the diaspora did not contribute their hard earned $$$. 365 us $ is a lot of $ per year. I have not been to the US lately, therefore am not sure how many cafe lates these hard earned 365 $ would buy. The contribution is not for the professor, Meles or Abiy. It is for a project that will contribute the lives of the mothers who are LOOSINg their sight, infecting their lungs when the are cooking to feed their children. It is to provide possibilities of changing the KURAZ ( hope some in the diaspora will remember the kerosene lamp, at least from friends/ neighbors) . Some may have seen even assisted moms collecting fire wood???!!! Yes the project will alleviate the hard work of millions of mothers. Please try to google and see photos of moms toiling under the weights of. Fire WOoD heavier than their own weight. This project and many pro-poor projects are worth a $$ a day. The foreigners are contributing more than 35 percent of the Ethiopian budget without dictating who the fund raisers are. I contributed and will continue to do so even if only ONE $ is used for the project. Finally, let’s remember there are many good hearted who contributed and will do so. The project will be finished by any means!!!