Please note that on our website we use cookies to enhance your experience, and for analytics purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our privacy policy. By clicking ‘Allow cookies’, you agree to our use of cookies. By clicking ‘Decline’, you don’t agree to our Privacy Policy.

No translations available

A chance happening

15 March 2008

Marusca Perazzi, MRG’s Programme Officer, takes the opportunity to visit an Ethiopian organisation working with marginalized women in Addis Ababa.

By pure coincidence, I meet with Mr Mengist, the Director General of Welfare for Street Mothers and Children Organisation (WeSMCO), an NGO that carries out an impressive range of activities and essential community development work – the organisation promotes good-governance and democracy, focuses on conflict prevention measures in the northwest areas of the country bordering Sudan, concentrates on the empowerment of women and works to alleviate the socio-economic problems of marginalized and destitute communities in Ethiopia.

During our talk in a cafe on Meskel Square, Mr Mengist kindly offers to take me to WeSMCO’s office in the middle of Addis in a large community of 400 households that the organisation supports. I take the opportunity to visit the workshops, the classroom and the allotments where the community is growing vegetables on a large strip of land. I get to see the sewing machines that enable women in the community to support themselves by gaining skills that will allow them to find employment.

I am overwhelmed by the extremely well organised manner in which this organisation is run; the record keeping is simply astonishing given the large amount of work and diverse projects that WeSMCO carries out. Whilst discussing opportunities to work in partnership with MRG, the issue of funding inevitably comes up. In fact, despite the fact that WeSMCO projects are funded by various national and international donors, Mr Mengist points out that it is increasingly difficult to deliver projects on a 1-year funded basis as the timespan is too short to see a major impact on the ground for some of the programmes.

After spending the afternoon visiting the community’s households and allotments, it’s time to say goodbye. It was an unexpected but enlightening encounter, and splendid opportunity to appreciate the work that local NGOs are doing in the cities.

This article reflects the sole opinion of its author and does not engage MRG’s responsibility.