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ConSol in Ethiopia

Date: 
August 18, 2013 - August 31, 2013

ConSol got paired with Eco-Ethics International Union, Ethiopian branch, due to a similar size of the organizations and a similar focus in working with children and youth on science popularization and (among other things) environmental topics. The pairing with a group from far away Addis Ababa came as a big surprise and quite a challenge to us all and in the end the experience affected us in profound ways.

'The study visit has been the one of the strongest and most memorable experiences I ever had. Getting/having a real glance into Ethiopian realities has enriched and inspired me; both, on a personal and professional level, and raised a lot of questions still to be answered’. Leila Younis

 

 Tamrat. S. Belachew visited Croatia in April 2013 (or 2005 according to the Ethiopian calendar) and our journey to Ethiopia took place late August, typically a cold and rainy season with fewer tourists exploring the country.

Within our working week we got a chance to work with and share experience with various projects and organizations most of which are working with underprivileged people in the area of Addis Ababa. Firstly we visited Yemisrach, an organization training handicapped people in various fields of work in order to help them get started in life with a new skillset and supporting them to start working independently after they finish their training. A similar story in a sense of supporting local community is one of DonDoor Hand Craft, an organization supporting poor women (producing materials for weaving) and a network of hundreds of poor weavers producing and selling handmade scarfs and cloth.

 Our special privilege was getting to know people running Meseret Humanitarian Organization, an NGO working with abused women, children without one or both parents and in some cases their mothers. We visited the homes of these women, heard their amazingly tough stories of abuse and got to see firsthand their strength and enthusiasm for changing their lives. We held a workshop with more than 20 children under the care of Meseret and it was a great experience for us and them. Seeing the kids transform during our life-skills workshop from shy participants into kids that wanted to know all about us was really great, they even made us show them local Croatian dances and sing our local songs! 

‘Visiting Ethiopia may well prove to be the most memorable journey I will undertake in my lifetime. Beside the beautiful Ethiopian landscapes, the thing that will stick with me forever are the people, especially the kids we met there. Both professionally and personally it was a real privilege to work with them and to get such a positive and honest feedback from them. At the same time, the hardship these kids need to endure on daily basis was incredibly moving which makes this trip altogether such a humbling experience.’  Marinko Uremović

A visit outside Addis to The Samaritanian Foundation Darege school project was one of the most memorable experiences during our stay in Ethiopia. We visited a local village school and met with the children and villagers, with whom we discussed their schooling issues. The communal school has 4500 pupils and only 47 teachers working in extremely poor material conditions. We listened to their stories and tried to encourage them to keep resisting, working and investing in their education as hard as this task may be. We were told that we were the first foreigners (‘farangi’ in the Amharic language) to ever visit this remote village so we hope it was a great experience for the children to see us and hear our stories. Here is one of the stories we heard from a young boy: ‘I love Education, I want to help my mother who is a widow, but whenever I think of my school life with all those crowded children in one class seating on stone and just on the soil, I hate schooling and become hopeless’. His story made most of us cry…

The experience made us all aware of the importance of education – ‘It was a very emotional learning journey. I have learned (again!) that people are the same all over the world. The only difference is the accessibility of education. By making education more accessible we will solve most of the world issues.’ Amir Spahić

children sharing their experience and visions of education

ConSol not only worked with the children but also had a science communication workshop with 20 science teachers form St Mary's primary and secondary schools. It was a great working experience in which we shared our methodology and teaching styles which are in reallity quite different due to different teaching traditions and also very different conditions in schools.

Except the working part of the visit, we also got the time to visit some of the sights in Addis and also northern Ethiopia.

‘For me Africa was totally different than I expected. Very green, a lot of rain, not a lot of lions…I liked that there are a lot of people in the streets, even when villages/cities are tens of kilometers apart, a lot of people still walk the distance.’ Bojan Markičević

The country has a rich cultural and historical background being sometimes referred to as the cradle of mankind (and coffee!). We visited our greatgreatgreat grandmother Lucy in the National Ethiopian Museum!

 

chillin'

‘The thing that struck me most about Ethiopia, besides the great people my colleagues mentioned above, is how breathtakingly beautiful it is. From the Danakil depression region, commonly referred to as the hottest place on earth at 120 m below sea level to the impressive Ethiopian highlands (Ras Dashen, the highest peak with an altitude of 4,550 m) divided by the Great reef valley, it is a country of great regional diversity which is reflected in the different ways of life of more than 80 different ethnic groups. Travelling to different regions and especially doing trekking tours in the Semien Mountains and in Lalibela was a really amazing experience.’  Lana Jurman

Overall, I must say that we all feel really privileged to have gotten the opportunity for this amazing journey. It has been quite a ride and we will hopefully continue to collaborate with some of the great and inspirational people we met during our travels. Some of our next steps are already undertaken – we have designed a project of student exchange between the two countries in order to give some young people the opportunity to have a totally different experience of life. They will hopefully write further reports like this one! 

One of the many amazing sights in Ethiopia

Constructive Solutions (ConSol) in Ethiopia

Date: 
August 17, 2013 - August 24, 2013

The purpose of the visit was to learn and experience Ethiopia in-view of SiS Catalyst children-related activities. During the visit we dealt with activities related to children, youth and university projects.

The visit was a very dynamic experience both for the local people we visited and for the group. We visited many small and local initiatives, educational institutions and charitable organizations. The team from ConSol ran two workshops for teachers on science communication and for children on life skills; the training was life changing and very informative.

The visit we had in the rural areas and places where poor are living gave us an impression of how life was perceived there and we met Non-Governmental Organizations who told us more about the problems that are faced by communities. In one school where there is no chair or school furniture, we visited a small room with Science and Technology department that was an impression of how people would like to learn more about science in schools, even if it is not easy to get an access to information.

This mutual learning and an investigation of experiences between MA partners was very successful. Moreover, during the visits, involved partners were linked emotionally with the local people and children and tried to understand the situation they are living.

 

We recently received a very warm email from Meseret Azage (from Ethiopia) who was involved in some activities we led whilst we were in Ethiopia.

We would like to share with you the message Meseret sent; it means a lot for us as it shows the links we built during our stay with Tamrat Seymoun from EEUI [who we would like to thank for being such a good host] and reveals in what way our trip to Ethiopia was fruitful not only for us but for Children and their families there:

"My dear friends,
I am very happy to hear from you so soon. We are glad that you reached you destination safely.

The communication skill training that you provided for the 30 children was truly invaluable. Your visit meant the world to the children and to the organization as a whole. We are glad that you took the time and effort to go house to house to visit the families. We are sure that the experience is something that they will remember for a longtime. The children are still discussing how much fun they had during the interactive training that took part at the end of the day and I can thus assure you that you have made a great, long lasting impression on them. We look forward to see you again when you are back in the country, but in the mean time you can follow our progress through Facebook. Moreover, we would be overjoyed if the intern you mentioned came to work with us, and we hope that the process works out in her favor. Thank you for everything, we are delighted to make your acquaintance and we wish you all the best.

Sincerely,
Meseret Azage"

Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

ConSol, Croatia & EEIU, Ethiopia

Date: 
April 24, 2013

From Amir Spahic: Update on the partnership between ConSol, Croatia & Eco-Ethics International Union, Ethiopia

Tamrat could not get to Tartu on time for the MAs Showcase Session but I presented his experience from his last visit to Croatia between Wednesday 17th to Tuesday 23rd.

The programme (available on the blog as "Tamrat's visit to Croatia") was well scheduled and the learning and sharing of experience and good practice very intense.

Various activities were organised such as Interactive education sessions with mixed group of students – science focus.

Croatian children's representation of "flowing H2O"

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ConSol & EEIU Ethiopia_Tartu180.42 KB

Tamrat's visit to Croatia

Date: 
April 18, 2013 - April 23, 2013

Tamrat Seymoun running some workshops in Croatia

You will find below a programme of Tamrat's visit

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Ethiopia366.15 KB
Tamrat's visit to Croatia - April 2013 - TIME TABLE112.43 KB

Tamrat participates in the SiS Catalyst/EUCU.net conference in Porto, Portugal

Date: 
November 29, 2012

At Porto's Botanical Garden

Jess, Tricia and Tarmat at the Conference Dinner - Porto's Botanical Garden

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