International Needs Australia
International Needs Australia (INA) is a boutique international development agency with a shared vision to eradicate global poverty, and have had significant impact in developing countries, despite their size.
We decided to work with them as they have a flexible approach and a desire to align projects with our mission to improve the health and empowerment of women and children. And they also had a maternal child health project in Ethiopia in desperate need of funding.
Through INA’s partnership with ChildLink we sponsor 45 children in Shurmo, Ethiopia, which helps to fund a project in community development initiatives including access to and quality of health services, child protection, access to education, WASH, improving food security, and training in household budgeting.
During our January 2018 visit, we were able to meet many of these children, and spend some time with them, discussing and observing the impact these initiatives have had on their daily lives. The project works holistically addressing community priorities from the ground up based on the needs of the community, and accountability by the community.
Maternal Health Centre
In addition to child sponsorship, the Fullife Foundation funded a project to extensively improve the Shurmo Health Centre. This Centre provides crucial outpatient services, vaccinations, maternity services, tuberculosis treatment and family planning to over 21,000 people, including 8 schools. These services were operating in a below minimum standard facility, with women delivering babies in a shared room as the other services.
With no funding available from a cash-strapped health department, we offered to fund the project and were blessed to have a private donor fund the full $60,000. Plans were made in collaboration with the District Health Office and District Finance and Economic Development offices to construct four rooms: pre-natal care, delivery, post-natal care and immunisation, with the delivery room allowing three women to give birth at the same time – a first for Shurmo.
Construction commenced in 2017 and during our visit in January 2018 we were privileged to attend the official opening of the centre with the community, local government officials, and the Australian Ambassador to Ethiopia, his Excellency Mark Sawers and his team. The funds covered the full furnishing with the necessary medical equipment and furniture, and as the project had come in under budget, we were surprised and delighted to see that the remaining funds were used to purchase a humidicrib – the first and only one available in Shurmo. During this visit we were able to see other significant opportunities to improve the health of women and children, so other projects in this area will follow.
Health Post Construction
During our visit in 2018, we witnessed the very poor state of a health post, and the lack of funds available to repair or replace it. There was also no accommodation for the health workers to stay on site if needed throughout the night for emergency care. In addition, there was no latrine or accessible clean water, clearly adding a health risk to the patients of the community.
We worked with INA and the community to design a project that would provide 24 hours 7 days a week, maternal and child support to over 8,000 local residents. The building consisted of three separate rooms, allowing for two treatment rooms and one for accommodation of the health team, plus a latrine was constructed on the site conveniently accessible to the health team and patients.
Clean Water Project
Clean water is a necessity, especially at a health post so we were able to work with the BCCC (INA’s partner on the ground) and the Shurmo Water Board to provide a more extensive distribution of clean water access to the Shurmo Health Post and to the greater community. This was funded by the Fullife Foundation and consisted of a diesel pump, a pumping room to house the pump, a 100,000 litre cement reservoir, four water points each with four taps, and several kilometres of pipes linking the project together. In a true effort in community engagement and empowerment, members of the local community dug the trenches and laid the
This project alone has brought clean water to over 17,000 people in Shurmo and the surrounding areas for the first time, reducing water born diseases, making water collection for the households less of a burden to the women and children, and providing access to more thorough hygiene and sanitation practices at the health post.
The National Pharmacy Students Association (NAPSA) and the Fullife Foundation jointly funded this project. NAPSA contributed approximately $25,000 to the construction, raised during their Charity Cup activities, with the total project costing $67,275.
International Needs Australia Testimonial
"INA has found the partnership with Fullife Foundation to be of “shared value” aligning with the values of both parties and more importantly the values of the communities and our partner in the field. INA is also appreciative that you have been willing to listen and be open to the real needs of the most vulnerable women in Shurmo Ethiopia, rather than driving your own agenda.
This was clearly demonstrated in the initiative to support access to water as being integral to maternal and child health as well as now reflecting on the need for livelihoods support. When communities are poor and have no access to clean water, the disease burden is greater and the need for access to health services is greater. So ideally, if we can reduce poverty and ensure access to clean water along with functioning health centres, women and children will have the best eco system to improve overall health of themselves and the community at large."