May 2007: Hunger Project-Africa Staff Celebrate the Inauguration of Ethiopia's Second Epicenter
May 19, 2007 marked the inauguration of Debre Libanos epicenter in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia. Approximately 2,000 persons were in attendance, including The Hunger Project Africa staff from the Global Office, Hunger Project Country Directors, and African Woman Food Farmer Initiative (AWFFI) Project Officers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda. The Guest of Honor was H.E. Muktar Kedir, the Vice-President of the Oromia region, which is the largest and most populous of the nine regions in Ethiopia.
The Guest of Honor and The Hunger Project-Africa staff were warmly welcomed by a traditional parade of Ethiopian horsemen, music, and dancing. Engineer Shifaraw Bizuneh, Chairman of the The Hunger Project-Ethiopia National Advisory Council, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which included a Hunger Project song performed by the primary school choir and speeches by District Administrator Mr. Damtew Kebede, Global Hunger Project Vice-President Dr. Fitigu Tadesse, The Hunger Project-Ethiopia Country Director Mr. W.A. Gubaie, Epicenter Chairman Mr. Damtew Kebede, and AWFFI Epicenter Loan Committee Chairperson Mrs. Mulu Zora. The Guest of Honor presented the keynote address and then joined Dr. Tadesse to cut the ribbon and officially inaugurate the epicenter.
During the inauguration, a loan was disbursed to one women’s group, bringing the number of women’s loan groups at the epicenter to 12. There are also eight men’s loan groups. In addition to nurses’ quarters, toilets, and the standard L-shaped building with a health center, meeting hall, office, credit facilities, nursery school, and food bank, Debre Libanos epicenter also features drip irrigation-fed vegetable gardens and an incredibly large nine-hectare communal farm, which was already plowed and ready for the upcoming cultivating season. The Hunger Project-Africa staff and all the guests were very impressed and highly praised both the epicenter community and The Hunger Project-Ethiopia staff.
Debre Libanos is the second epicenter to be inaugurated in Ethiopia. It consists of 4 kebeles (villages) with a population of 19,000 persons and is located 90 km north of Addis Ababa.