Most of my days are spent at the office of MCDP in the Pastor section of Addis. Over an hour’s ride split between two mini buses and a twenty-minute walk transports me to a completely different yet unique community. Addis Ketema, also known as Woreda 6, in comparison to other neighborhoods in Addis is very impoverished and a slum township. Tucked within the dilapidated houses and next to the Woreda 6 primary school is my host organization, the Mission for Community Development Program, located on both the second and third floor. A community library is also located on the third floor which is used by community members, students, and our organization for trainings and seminars.
I consider myself very lucky to have been placed at MCDP as it is a community based and focused organization focused on improving the lives of women and children in Ethiopia. Mulu Haile is the executive director of MCDP and has helped to facilitate the creation of seven different projects including Early Childhood Care and Development/Basic Education, Income Generating Activities, Self-Help Groups, Women to Women Enterprise and the project I’m assisting with the Prevention of Unsafe Migration.
Here is a picture of Mulu, the Executive Director on the far right. She is being updated on the progress of the new website by the IT specialist to her left with the Financial Director on the far left. You don’t see many women in prominent and high positions within an organization nor people who dedicate themselves to solving pressing issues within their community both in Ethiopia and the United States. For that reason I find Mulu to be truly inspiring to all girls and women.
MCDP runs very smoothly with staff divided between two offices within Addis. Although MCDP is a community based organization it is funded by global corporations and organizations like H&M Conscious, Geneva Global and the Ethiopian government. Everyday I’m greeted with smiles, selam’s, and incredibly open and welcoming attitudes. It’s truly an incredible experience for a student of development to be surrounded by people who have dedicated their lives to this profession and are making it work through an Ethiopian perspective.
My supervisor Getnet Abate heads the Prevention of Unsafe Migration Project at MCDP and is pictured below. Getnet has been a wealth of information in regards to the organization and the project. Last Saturday, we spent half the day training teachers in Addis on unsafe migration of young girls who have dropped out of school, sex workers, and domestic workers who either willingly or are forced into migrating to the Middle East as well as how teachers can integrate the issue of unsafe migration into their lesson plans and clubs. Getnet encouraged me to use my experience as a teacher and community educator to run the seminar by myself. Aiding me in translating and encouragement we had a successful presentation and in my opinion make a great team!
MCDP has really made me feel at home in their organization and in Addis. I’m really looking forward to the next month of with my new colleagues and new friends.