Dir Biyabir 2013 Annual Report

Dir Biyabir 2013 Annual Report
January 30, 2014
The Dir Biyabir team is gratified to report that in
2013 we made some great progress on our biggest
project, an integrated economic empowerment and
environmental rehabilitation projects in the Northern
Shewa region of Ethiopia. This project was funded
by a grant $86,300 from The Christensen Fund to
Dir Biyabir, and is being implemented by our longterm partner in Ethiopia, Adheno. This is a 2 year
project that was kicked off in January 2013, and the
Adheno team has reported great progress in
developing a nursery for seedlings, planting trees,
local production of fuel efficient stoves, and many
other exciting developments. We hope you read all
about the details in this report. In addition, in 2013
Dir Biyabir formed some new partnerships to
implement new projects in other areas of Ethiopia.
We partnered with an Ethiopian NGO known as
Wildlife for
(WSD) to
implement a
project with a
group of Afar
women in the
vicinity of the
Locally produced parts for fuel-efficient
Awash National
Park. This project leveraged the Afar traditions and
culture to generate income for local women. The
project provided training on sustainably harvesting
Doum Palm leaves to create beautiful handicrafts
that can be sold to generate income for the women.
provide books for a school in Southern Gonder that
he had built. Dr Adugnaw grew up in this area as a
farmer’s son with very limited educational
opportunities. He took the initiative to raise money
to build this school and we are very proud to support
his efforts. This book project probably also gets the
record for the fastest execution. We are sure you
will be just as gratified as we were to see the number
of students that benefited from this project.
In 2013, Dir Biyabir completed development on a
brand new website. Our home is still at
www.dirbiyabir.org but we hope you like our new
revamped look which was professionally designed. It
is also easier to manage and maintain so we plan to
keep it more current with project updates. We are
also now on twitter so do follow us @dirbiyabir
Our operational expense in 2013 was much higher
than usual due to the cost of the new website design.
We are glad to report that our executive team
continued to cover 100% of all our expenses via
their donation.
Leadership Team
There were no changes to the Dir Biyabir Leadership
Team in 2013: Chairperson - Haeran Fisseha,
Secretary - Aida Abate, Treasurer - Ksenia Siegel. As
always, all Dir Biyabir positions are voluntary and
uncompensated. The executive team continues to
donate funds to cover 100% of Dir Biyabir
operational expenses, thus guaranteeing that all
membership fees, donations and grants are directly
utilized to fund projects in Ethiopia.
In another initiative, we partnered with a member of
the Ethiopian Diaspora, Dr Adugnaw Worku to
Dir Biyabir 2013
The Dir Biyabir team sincerely thanks all our
members and especially our long-time continued
members, your continued support is critical. We
would also like to call on your help to reach out to
your friends and family to encourage them to join
Dir Biyabir - our strength is in our numbers!
On September 8, 2013 Dir Biyabir secured a booth at
the Ethiopian New Year celebration in San Jose, CA
at the Guadalupe River
Park. The goal was to
reach out to the local
Ethiopian community
and re-introduce
ourselves and recruit
new members. We signed
up a few new members
and hope for more
signups in 2014,
especially since one of
our members has
Dir Biyabir Execs at booth
volunteered to help us
recruit. We also met some exciting potential new
partners including Dr. Adugnaw Worku with whom
we have since implemented one phase of a new
project for school books in Gonder. We look
forward to many more impactful projects in
collaboration with both our new and long-term
Total membership in 2013 was 65, down from 67 in
2012. Of the 65 members in 2013, 55 were renewing
members from 2012, 1 was re-activating lapsed
membership from 2011, and 9 were brand new
members. The 2013 Membership total of 65
members breaks down as follows:
• 84% Renewing members (flat)
• 2% Reactivating Members (down from 9%)
• 14% New Members (up from 7%)
The growth of new membership in 2013 is very
encouraging and we hope this trend continues. As
always we emphasize the critical need to keep our
existing members and to improve their renewal rates
Reminder to members: Membership is annual and
can be renewed simply by paying membership fees
anytime within the calendar year, all payment details
are on http://dirbiyabir.org/Membership.html As
always we kindly request members to please pay
their membership fees as early in the year as
possible. If members could target to pay their
renewals by June of each year it would be very
helpful. Early renewal frees up our scarce volunteer
time and effort to focus on projects rather than on
reminders for membership renewal.
The new (optional) process we started in 2011
allows members to pay for up to 3 consecutive years
with one payment. Several members took advantage
of this new process to pay 2013 and 2014 dues in
advance and we thank them for it. If you are
interested in this option, you can renew for both
2014 and 2015 with one payment in 2014 by simply
indicating on your check or PayPal notes that you
are paying for both 2014 and 2015. We defer
recognition of revenue for advance payment of
membership until the effective year.
In 2013 significant progress was made on the largest
Dir Biyabir project to date, the integrated economic
empowerment and environmental rehabilitation
project in Northern Shewa. In addition new projects
were funded and executed including sponsorship of
school girls (a continuation of a program kicked off
in 2012), an entrepreneurship project for Afar
women and a school books project in Southern
Gonder. We have a section on each of these projects
Dir Biyabir 2013
Integrated Economic
Empowerment and
Environmental Rehabilitation
Located in Moy kebele, Bassona Worana Woreda of
Northern Shewa, the goal of this project is economic
empowerment and enabling the community to
improve it’s livelihood while nurturing and
protecting the very unique biodiversity,
environmental, and cultural heritage of this
particular region of the Central Ethiopian
Highlands. The project area has a population of
8,803 (48 % female) with an average family size of
five. In November 2012, Dir Biyabir won a grant of
$86,300 from The Christensen Fund (TCF) to fund
this project in full. The project is being implemented
by our long-term partners in Ethiopia, Adheno, and
implementation was kicked-off in January 2013.
Project accomplishments in 2013 include:
A) Training and Education
• Project kick-off/orientation workshop conducted
with community representatives and relevant local
government officers
• Adult education given to 113 farmers (30 women)
• Partially completed Farmer training center at Moyi
now almost complete
• Construction of two class rooms at the
Amoragedel satellite school almost complete.
B) Environmental
• 192 farmers trained on building soil and water
conservation mechanisms such as stone and soil
bunds and check dams. Tools provided (50 pick
axe, 50 spades, 50 hammers and 50 digging bars)
• Farmers improved conservation of 220 hectares of
land by building various soil and water
conservation mechanisms including stone bund,
soil bund, micro basins, trenches (percolation pits)
and check dams.
• More than 56,700 tree seedlings were raised at the
Kasset and Workegur tree nursery stations for
planting in 2013. Extensive work is currently
under way on two nursery sites to produce
thousands of tree seedlings for planting in 2014.
• 22,431 trees planted in Moyi Kebele including
indigenous, medicinal, and fruit trees.
Remuneration is provided for indigenous trees.
• 65 types of medicinal and aromatic plants were
collected by knowledgeable elders and priests and
planted in two nursery stations (Workegur and
Kasset). Additional medicinal plants were brought
from Wondo Genet Research center and planted.
C) Economic Empowerment
• Initiated production of fuel saving stoves in
• Completed work on converting a 3.2 km foot path
to a paved horse track, thus providing local
farmers better access to markets for their products
• Two women involved in pottery work were
provided with
two donkeys for
transporting raw
materials and
• Four men
trained in artisan
metal work and
material support
Woman provided with donkey
including four
• Improved varieties or grafted Apple, Mango,
Avocado, Papaya, Banana and Coffee seedlings
were bought and distributed to farmers who have
access to irrigation water.
The community had especially requested the horse
track and worked hard to expedite its completion.
Congratulations to the community and Adheno!
Dir Biyabir 2013
Education Initiatives
School Sponsorship- Northern Shewa
In 2012 Dir Biyabir had initiated a new project
proposed by Adheno to sponsor girls in seven
kebeles in Bassona Worana Woreda in Northern
Shewa region to attend local schools. This was a
need identified by Adheno after discussion with the
community. There are many girls in the area who
wanted to attend school but were unable to afford
even basic school
material as they
are either
orphaned or have
parents who can
not afford the
expense. In 2012
we sponsored 89
elementary school
age girls by
A sponsored elementary school girl
providing them
the school material they need to attend local schools.
An additional 16 high school girls were sponsored to
attend the closest high school in the town of Debre
Berhan and requires them to rent rooms in town. In
2012 Dir Biyabir provided these high school girls
funds to buy uniforms and school material and
Adheno was able to find other funds to allow them to
rent rooms in town. In 2013 we continued and
expanded this initiative. In October 2013, Dir
Biyabir wired funds to sponsor the education of 139
elementary school girls and 16 secondary school
girls. This includes all elementary school girls from
the 2012 sponsorship program who still want to
continue with school. Sponsorship of elementary
school girls consists of paying for their school
supplies which costs about $10 per student per year,
a sum most of us would consider insignificant, but
an insurmountable obstacle for these kids.
The secondary school kids have an additional
challenge as they need to travel to another town for
school and to rent a local room. The annual cost per
student including rent, school supplies, uniform, and
supplemental books is about $100. The parents are
responsible for providing them food. Dir Biyabir will
continue to sponsor these kids every year.
School Books - Southern Gonder
“Worku Jenber School” is a school in Gela Matebia,
Southern Gonder, which is located in Northwest
Ethiopia. It was built 3 years ago by Dr Adugnaw
Worku who was himself a farmer’s son from that
area with very limited access to school. Worku
Jenber currently has grade 9, 10, and 11 and enrolls a
total of 367 students (47% of which are girls) from
27 villages in the general area.The school has a
library and a full-time librarian and stocks essential
books, which students could check out for a
maximum of 1 night. Because the school suffered
from a severe lack of books Dir Biyabir received a
proposal requesting a long list of books and we
agreed to fund a pilot project. Funds were wired in
November 2013 to purchase a subset of these books.
By December,
Dir Biyabir had
pictures and
that a total of
392 books,
mostly science,
math, Amharic,
and English
Handing over purchased books:Worku Jenber
books, had
been purchased locally and provided to the library.
A new policy had also been instituted in December
allowing students to check out books for weekends
and during vacations. The project coordinators in
Ethiopia showed their commitment by even using
the 10% of funds designated for overhead cost to
purchase additional books. Dir Biyabir will fund
additional phases of this book project in 2014.
Dir Biyabir 2013
Afar community-based women’s
Dir Biyabir sponsored a project with Wildlife for
Sustainable Development (WSD) for the first time
this year. WSD is a small Ethiopian non-profit
organization (www.wsd.org.et) whose goal is to
conserve biodiversity by promoting sustainable use
of wildlife and wildlife habitats. WSD had
developed a project for the Afar region in the eastern
part of Ethiopia, with the goal of developing a
sustainable approach to exploiting local palm trees
and providing
women with
skills to
produce and
from their
leaves, thus
Afar women on the last day of training
supplementary income. An additional goal was to
create awareness among the people on how the over
use and destruction of their local resources would
have long-term environmental consequences. Since
the goals of the project were very much in line with
the objectives of Dir Biyabir, we contributed $ 2,351
(more than 70% of the total cost) towards the
The most common palm tree species in the area is
the Doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica). Most of these
trees are found within the boundaries of the Awash
National Park where they provide shelter for wildlife
such as leopards and waterbucks and protect
riverbanks from erosion. Because of the prevailing
poverty, the local Afar people are forced to encroach
into the park territories and illegally utilize park
resources, including vegetation and animals. This
has had a significant ecological impact on the park,
and there is an urgent need to implement
conservation measures.
The Afar people have a history and culture of using
palm leaves to produce household goods, but this
tradition has mostly been lost, with only some of the
elder women retaining these skills. Currently, most
of the income generated from palm trees is through
the sale of the leaves (often the young parts) in the
capital city, Addis Abeba, where the actual
household products are made. The goal of the project
was to have the Afar people recover their traditional
skills to make these items themselves and improve
their income, and at the same time ensure that palm
trees are used in a regulated manner.
From June 29 to July 6, 2013, 10 women from the
villages of Dudub and Deho , were selected by
community elders and local experts and were trained
in handicraft production. Among the items they
learned to make were baskets, mats, brooms,
lampshades, hats, and trays. The women received
training on standardized production, administration,
business, and financial management in an
environmentally sensitive way. An important aspect
of the training was also facilitating the exchange of
knowledge in handcraft production among the
women and identifying ways to access markets for
their product. Each woman was also provided start
up capital to setup up handicraft production. A
brochure advertising the handicraft was developed
(with input from Dir Biyabir) and printed to be
handed out to tourists visiting the Awash National
Park. Finally, the participants discussed ways of
enforcing traditional sanctions against illegal harvest
of palm leaves.
Dir Biyabir received a full report following the
completion of the training. WSD will evaluate the
project impact on the community. and depending on
the outcome, WSD may scale up this project and
train more women.
Dir Biyabir 2013
January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013
Membership Fees
New Member
Donations from Individuals
Christensen Fund
T-shirt Donations
Donation from Dir Biyabir Executive team for Operations
Revenue Total
Grants Paid Out
Integrated Environmental Project - ADHENO
Afar Women Enterprise - WSD
School Books - Gonder
School Sponsorship - ADHENO
Operating Expenses
Bank Wire
PO Box
Website Design
Web Hosting
PayPal Fees
New Year Stand
Total Expense
Ending Balance from 2012
Total 2013 Revenue - Total 2013 Expense
2013 Ending Balance
Dir Biyabir 2013
Stated 2013 Goals
Actual 2013 Accomplishment
Follow up on Integrated Economic Empowerment
and Environmental Rehabilitation project in
Northern Shewa and evaluate project impact.
Significant progress against project goals
Continue supporting school improvements and
providing books for schools in Moy Meda,
Goshebado and Workegur based on written
requests and proposals.
No proposal received for books for schools
in Moy Meda, Goshebado and Workegur.
However books funded for new school
project in Gonder
Continue to strengthen and expand poultry project
for school girls based on results of survey assessing
impact of project to date.
No additional phases funded for poultry
project, pending impact assessment
Assess role of school boys in poultry project or
assess alternative appropriate entrepreneurial
project based on needs and interest of the boys.
Goal not met- no assessment of project for
Visit women’s textile enterprise for survivors of
leprosy. Support additional projects based on
successful completion of current project and
written feasible proposal for a new project.
Dir Biyabir member met with Wzo Birke.
Dir Biyabir was not satisfied with results
and impact of computer training that was
funded, no further projects planned with this
group in short-term.
Review proposal to proposal to build safe and
supportive dorm environment for rural girls
attending high school in Debre Berhan.
Adheno re-assessed this project and decided
to continue to fund students to rent rooms in
town in short-term. Dir Biyabir sponsored
16 girls to attend high school in Debre
Sponsored 139 elementary school girls to
attend school in Northern Shewa
Successfully completed project to train Afar
women to start micro-enterprises based on
local handicraft tradition.
Launched new website and established
presence on twitter
• Successful completion of the Integrated Economic Empowerment and Environmental Rehabilitation
project in Northern Shewa and evaluation of project impact.
• Continue supporting school sponsorship program for girls in Northern Shewa.
• Support school improvements and providing books for schools in Northern Shewa (Moy Meda,
Goshebado and Workegur) based on written requests and proposals.
• Fund additional purchases of school books for the Worku Jenber school in Southern Gonder.
• Evaluate needs for additional projects in Northern Shewa.
• Fund purchase of school books in other areas of Ethiopia (pending new partnerships being finalized)
• Recruit additional members.
• Keep website more current with project information.
• Establish more presence on twitter.
Thank You To Our Members !
As always, a very special thank you goes to all our members. We appreciate the support of all our renewing
members, and are happy to welcome our new members to the Dir Biyabir
family. You, our members make it possible for us to fund project that are
transforming lives in Ethiopia. The best way to support the work summarized in
this annual report is by continuing to renew your membership and helping us get
the word out by encouraging friends and family to join Dir Biyabir. As always
we commit to use 100% of your membership fees and donations for projects in
Ethiopia. Your membership not only allows us to fund more projects, it also
gives us the moral support to continue to volunteer our time and effort.
Strength in Numbers
“Dir Biyabir Anbessa Yassir” - when spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. Our name is inspired by an
Ethiopian proverb that highlights the great strength inherent in people working together. Thank you for being a
part of our web.
We wish you and yours a very happy and successful 2014!