By Dr. Alebachew Fentaw , Regional Project Coordinator AEID

In the heart of North Wollo, in Habru and Raya Kobo, 3500 households, including children and nursing mothers, stand united to triumph over adversity. Among 8750 IDPs and the host community, their resilience shines through. Despite the harsh challenges of malnutrition, limited access to clean water, and insufficient provisions of hygiene and medical supplies, they refuse to surrender.

 In an environment where necessities are scarce, many children and lactating mothers face the daunting challenge of survival. The lack of nutrition, clean water, and essential materials for hygiene and medication casts a dark shadow over their lives, threatening their well-being and prospects. But within their hearts, a flame of hope drives them to persevere against all odds.

These innocent and vulnerable children suffered greatly due to the lack of adequate nutrition. Their growth and development were stunted, leaving them weak, emaciated, and susceptible to various illnesses. Minor ailments became life-threatening without access to necessary treatments, exacerbating their already dire situation. Additionally, the scarcity of clean water posed a constant threat, leading to dehydration and the spread of waterborne diseases among these already weakened children.

The lactating mothers in North Wollo faced immense challenges in nourishing their infants amidst such dire circumstances. The lack of proper nutrition and access to clean water significantly impacted their ability to breastfeed and provide for their babies. Struggling to meet their newborns’ nutritional needs, these mothers faced the compounded difficulties of their malnourishment and the absence of essential supplies for proper hygiene. The risk of infection and illness for both mothers and infants increased, adding to the overwhelming challenges they had to overcome.

Amidst dire circumstances, Afro-Ethiopia Integrated Development (AEID) emerged as a ray of hope, addressing pressing community needs. AEID, understanding the urgency, implemented transformative multi-sectorial interventions and a mass hygiene promotion campaign. It dug water springs and implemented sustainable water solutions, supported by a grant from Help Age International. The aim was to benefit the entire community. Direct beneficiaries included 8750 individuals (3875 males, 4875 females, 15% being disabled and 15% elderly), while indirect beneficiaries reached 87,500 individuals (41,250 males, 46,250 females). This intervention provided access to clean and safe water, eliminating the immediate threat of dehydration and waterborne diseases.

The intervention went beyond water solutions. Afro Ethiopia Integrated Development provided balanced and nutritious food to combat malnutrition, ensuring the children received the vital nutrients necessary for their growth and development. Additionally, the organization offered multipurpose cash assistance, empowering nursing mothers to meet their immediate needs and provide for their infants. Medical supplies and treatments were made available, addressing the healthcare needs of children and lactating mothers.

The dedicated efforts of Afro-Ethiopia Integrated Development effectively resolved the problems that plagued the children and nursing mothers. Its comprehensive intervention provided sustainable solutions to the challenges of water scarcity, malnutrition, and inadequate healthcare; the children kept going to school. As a result, these vulnerable individuals regained their health, strength, and hope for a better future.

Today, the once-fading embers of hope have been rekindled, and the children and nursing mothers of North Wollo can continue their journey toward a brighter future. Afro Ethiopia Integrated Development’s unwavering dedication and compassionate intervention have proven that even in the face of adversity, lives can be changed, and a prosperous tomorrow can be realized.