Dear IFA supporters,
As we welcome the New Year with a renewed hope of living in a world at peace, a world where every living being goes to bed with a full belly and awakes happy, healthy, and ready to meet the challenges of every day life, I would like to take a moment to share with you our success stories as well as our challenges of the past year. Despite the economic slowdown in the U.S. and across the world, and the subsequently few donations we have been able to garner throughout the year, the help of a few individuals have enabled us to move forward with our projects.
At the end of 2011, the IFA team and board decided that the best way to establish stronger links and move our projects forward in Africa was to relocate Miss Seble Nebiyeloul, our COO and co-founder, to Addis Ababa to run our Addis Ababa office full-time. Although this amounted to a huge financial sacrifice on her part, Miss Seble accepted the challenge wholeheartedly. Thanks to her efforts in Ethiopia this past year, Miss Seble has established very strong links with major Ethiopian- and U.S.-based non-governmental organizations. Many of these relationships led directly to the several Memorandums Of Understanding (MOUs) IFA has signed with leading international and local organizations this year. In addition to these MOUs, IFA has forged excellent relationships with the ministry of health of Ethiopia and local government officials in the regions in which IFA is involved. Due to Miss Seble's steadfast and selfless efforts, IFA is one step closer to getting a grant for our Green Community Village project, which will bring fundamental improvement to the everyday lives of people living in rural Ethiopia/Africa. In light of all her incredible effort, on behalf of the IFA team I would like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Seble for her commitment and dedication to helping those who cannot help themselves.
Apart from this amazing work of miss Seble, IFA has achieved a series of accomplishments over the course of 2012 that I would like to share with you at this time.
On March 14, 2012, IFA delivered forty-eight thousand dollars' worth of neonatal equipment to Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The donation was part of an ongoing project to build a world-class neonatal service at one of the premiere government-run hospitals in Ethiopia. It adds to the approximately seventeen thousand dollars of equipment donated by IFA a few months beforehand.
Rural Medicine Project
In February and March of 2012, IFA engaged 30 healthcare professionals from the U.S. and Ethiopia in a week-long program to address the immediate health concerns of people residing in Zemero, Ethiopia, and nearby rural areas. During this short period of time the team saw over 4,700 patients, performed cataract surgery on 135 people, thereby restoring the eyesight of people who had been blind for 2 to 8 years, and performed preventive trachoma surgery on 128 people. This team effort was hugely successful, and most of the doctors from the U.S. left the project vowing to return in the future, and again lend their time, skill and money to such an effective and meaningful project.
Our Work on Behalf of Non-Animals
This year, IFA struggled to gain the funds necessary to sustain our vital projects on behalf of non-human animals. Although funding for non-human animal causes in a world where there is so much human suffering may appear unrealistic and even misguided, we at IFA understand the fundamental ways that human and non-human animal lives are intertwined, and constantly affected by one another. We implore all who are interested in helping non-human animals and humans alike to support our efforts to bring awareness to the suffering of non-human animals in Africa and find ways to protect them from neglect, abuse and mass killings. Our plans to institute sustainable spay/neuter/vaccination programs, engage the government to institute non-human animal protection laws, provide safe havens for abused and mistreated dogs, donkeys and horses, support the elimination of farm animal abuse and provide medical care for domestic animals have fallen far short this year.
None of these efforts can be accomplished without the steady and sufficient support of people who love and care for non-human animals. We therefore appeal to all those who wish to help relieve the suffering of non- human animals to support us financially, in whatever way they can, so that we can utilize our expertise, training, and tools to help abused and neglected living things in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. Though we have had to place several projects on hold due to lack of funds, IFA remains determined to advocate on behalf of non-human animals whenever it is possible for us to do so. Throughout the past year I have traveled to Sweden, Luxembourg, South Africa, India, Ethiopia and the U.S., speaking for and on behalf of non-human animals in Africa.
In May 2012, with the help of A Well-Fed World, IFA was able to host the second vegan conference ever to take place in Ethiopia. The event represents a significant step in recognizing the need to adopt a compassionate way of living for the benefit of all beings and our beloved planet. Nine speakers, five from Ethiopia and four from overseas, presented on various topics related to veganism. Representatives from the ministries of health and agriculture, the Ethiopian environmental protection agency, and other departments also participated in the conference. Most importantly, conference turnout exceeded our expectations, with around 100 people attending to listen to the presentations and learn more about the benefits of veganism for humans and non-human animals. For those unable to attend, Ethiopian TV and EBS, a Maryland-based TV company that broadcasts on dish networks In the U.S., Europe, Ethiopia and the Middle East, broadcast the event.
Members of the IFA team also participated in a one-day program to feed the homeless, which is now being continued by local Ethiopian vegan groups supported by Food Not Bombs, a U.S.-based organization with reach worldwide. Looking forward to the upcoming year, we plan on holding more of these conferences, supporting school food programs as well as programs to feed the homeless, organizing workshops, holding cooking classes, and establishing training programs in vegan farming and permaculture. This year, we will also continue to support vegan organizations in other parts of Africa, working to accomplish our mutual goals.
Ethiopian Medical Association
In 2012, we supported the Ethiopian Medical Association and for the 5th consecutive year, awarded one thousand dollars each to two Ethiopian medical researchers at the Annual Ethiopian Medical Association Conference. Due to our yearly unwavering support, the Association, at its 48th annual Ethiopian Medical Association Conference in Addis Ababa, awarded IFA a Certificate of Recognition. The award was presented by Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia's former Minister of Health.
Our accomplishments in 2012 inspire us to look forward to a new year, when we will continue our commitment to improving the lives of humans and non- human animals in Africa. This work has been challenging, and our plans have been held back due to lack of funding. We welcome anyone who can help us through donations, in-kind contributions, or by volunteering their time for us in the U.S. or in Ethiopia.
Finally, my message for this year would be incomplete without a tribute to Nikita-my source of inspiration, and the reason I have persisted for the past six years in my mission to make a difference for those who have no voice and are silently suffering. My small, furry Maltese soul mate passed away in November 2012 after a short bout with Lymphoma. I can only say thank you, my boy, for being my guide. I miss you and you are still with me and will be with me forever, as I begin this new year renewing my commitment to the humans and non-human animals who need our help.
Wishing all a Happy New year,
Anteneh Roba M.D.
President and Co-Founder of International Fund for Africa