June 2016 saw us set off again on a fund-raising walk around the Aberdeen-Angus coastline of Eastern Scotland. We started from Dundee just by the Tay Bridge and finished in Inverness by the Kessock Bridge. The total mileage was 250 miles and it took just over four weeks. Most of the walk was in June to make the most of the fabulously long days! As usual there was a blog and pictures on the website and we visited local churches on the Sundays.
The Christian Aid project we supported was for Ethiopia (see below) and donations can be given on our Just Giving page by clicking here.
HEALTHIER FUTURES FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS IN ETHIOPIA
On this ‘Firth to Firth’ walk, from Dundee on the Firth of Tay to Inverness on the Moray Firth, we are aiming to raise £1,000 towards a Christian Aid project in Ethiopia. It is part of a bigger plan to raise £5,000 for that project which the Bridlington Christian Aid Group has committed itself to support.
Let us say a few words first about Ethiopia.
(1) With a population of 96.5 million, it is Africa’s second most populous country, with most of the people living in rural areas and the birth rate still high
(2) Just under a third of the population live below the poverty line
(3) One in seven women die from pregnancy-related causes
(4) 40% of girls marry before the age of 14, while they are still children themselves and so they have little prospect of a fulfilling life ahead of them
(5) As in so many traditional societies, women often lack control over their lives and are totally dependent on husbands or male relatives – over half of women nationally say they have no say in domestic decision making and domestic violence is a huge problem
The Ethiopian project is match-funded by the European Union at a ratio of 5:1. Each Church or group of churches that commits itself to raising £5,000 over the next two years – it has to be raised by the end of October 2017 – has the satisfaction of knowing that 5 x 5 is £25,000 and that means that their £5,000 gets an extra £25,000 to make £30,000.
Clearly, the British Government and the EU trust charities like Christian Aid to use money properly and not let it get siphoned off by corrupt politicians. Remember, Christian Aid never gives money directly to foreign governments; it always works through trusted partner organisations in the countries being helped. (In the case of this Ethiopian project, the two partner organisations are WSA (Women Support Association) and EIFDDA (Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Development Dialogue and Action). Phew!)
So, what exactly is the project? It’s described as ‘increasing access to reproductive health information and services’ to vulnerable women in three areas of the south of Ethiopia. In practice, this will mean
(1) increasing women’s knowledge of, and access to, contraception measures, thereby improving both child and maternal health
(2) Young people will be given sex education and it is hoped this will help to decrease the number of teenage and unwanted pregnancies.
(3) The project will work with the Ethiopian Government, helping to ensure that local authorities are able to deliver a high-quality service to communities.
(4) Among the numerous aims listed in the programme, it is aimed to distribute educational material to over half a million people and to broadcast weekly radio messages. There are to be workshops and discussion sessions and so on.
Specifically, the programme aims to double the rate of contraceptive use in young women to 59% and to halve the teenage pregnancy rate to 5%.*
We know that many of you have been extremely supportive of our previous efforts on behalf of Christian Aid and we want to renew our sincere thanks for that support. We are also conscious that there are many claims on our goodwill for all manner of worthy charities. If, therefore, you feel able to support us on this latest venture, please be assured of our sincere gratitude on behalf of some of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged women.
*More information can be found on the Christian aid website: www.christianaid.org.uk/partnerships