Yetebon, SNNPR– The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched two activities with Project Mercy to train midwives and improve their health facility in rural Yetebon, SNNPR, and to improve cow milk production and household income in Chacha, Amhara. As part of its expanding support to build and strengthen capacity in local organizations, USAID will provide technical assistance and training to the two projects which is valued at approximately 2 million USD over the next 4 years. Project Mercy serves up to 70,000 people in the Yetebon and Chacha communities.
USAID’s Human Resources for Health Project led by Jhpiego will train 400 professional midwives from throughout the region to reduce maternal and newborn deaths and injuries in child birth and directly benefit about 3,000 people with maternal and child health services. Additionally, USAID will provide Project Mercy hospital infrastructure improvements, equipment and supplies, while linking the midwifery students with professional associations and clinics for practical skills training.
USAID’s Livestock Market Development Project led by CNFA will train 65 households that were provided cows by Project Mercy to care for the animals, increase milk production, and improve the nutrition of their children while increasing their yearly dairy income to an estimated 1,200 USD, or 22,000 Ethiopian Birr, within two years by linking them to markets.
At 19 liters per capita, Ethiopia’s annual milk consumption is well below the world average of 105 liters and the African average of about 40 liters. Households that produce milk typically only generate a small amount, on average 1.5 liters/day. This activity will strengthen the success of Project Mercy’s current efforts to cross-breed local dairy cows with American dairy cows in order to improve milk production. At Project Mercy’s 350-acre dairy farm in Chacha, Amhara Region, beneficiaries will be trained on proper livestock management techniques including production and development of forage for cows.
“Improving the health and economic status of all Ethiopians requires a collaborative endeavor among government and nongovernmental organizations, community leaders and the community members themselves. Our shared goal is to end crises, prevent disease and preventable deaths of mothers and children, ensure food security and nutrition, and promote sustainable progress in the communities where Project Mercy operates,” said U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth at the signing ceremony in Yetebon.
Project Mercy is a not-for-profit relief and development organization based in the United States and Ethiopia providing aid, comfort, and support to alleviate human suffering and overcome systemic poverty in Ethiopia. It was founded in 1977 by Marta Gabre-Tsadick and Demeke Tekle-Wold to promote emergency relief and has been promoting community development through social and economic activities in Ethiopia since 1993. USAID has cooperated with Project Mercy over the last decade on emergency food aid and medical assistance.