When the Fullife Foundation was just an idea, it became clear to us that we needed a major international NGO to work with us on the ground in Ethiopia. We approached three major charities, chosen because of previous links and support and World Vision were the only ones to immediately embrace our concept and gave us great support and the encouragement we needed to get started. In true partnership with World Vision we were granted a joint logo, which gave us great credibility as we grew the Fullife Foundation brand in the pharmacy industry. We are eternally grateful for World Vision’s mentorship, encouragement and working with us to design programs that we could implement in a community pharmacy setting.
The Fullife Foundation commenced its activities in Ethiopia in 2012 through the Child Sponsorship Program by sponsoring 50 children in the Samre area development project (ADP), in Northern Ethiopia. For greater impact, we were able to sponsor the children in the same ADP rather than all over Ethiopia. Over the next four years, we increased the number of children sponsored to 206, which made us World Vision Australia’s largest single child sponsor.
Child sponsorship provided significant community development in Samre in the areas of maternal and child health, education, WASH (clean water and sanitation program), food security, child protection, and working to cease harmful traditional practices, such as early marriage and genital mutilation. In an environment where children’s rights are respected, these most vulnerable children can flourish, reach their highest potential and are empowered to lift their communities out of poverty. Through child sponsorship programs, the whole community benefits, not only the individual child.
Maternal Waiting Rooms
During 2015, we became aware of the dire situation with maternal health in Samre. Mothers were dying needlessly, often because they were giving birth alone in rural and remote villages.
From their years of working with communities, World Vision informed us that one of the key factors in encouraging expecting mothers to attend a regional health centre for a safe assisted birth, was the presence of a maternal waiting room, where they could stay and be monitored prior to the birth.
Of the five health centres in Samre, servicing over 150,000 mainly rural people, only three had maternal waiting rooms. As this was a highlighted and proven need, we worked with World Vision to develop a program to build the remaining two maternal waiting rooms for Samre. Each room can now accommodate ten women at any given time, is furnished with beds, cupboards and bed sets, and with cooking facilities incorporated in the design.
This $62,000 AUD project, fully funded by the Fullife Foundation, was completed in late 2016, and during our January 2017 visit, we had the great pleasure of being part of the official opening of these important health facilities.
The important thing for us is this: we value the donations we receive, and want to ensure we get the maximum sustainable impact in Ethiopia. One of our project criteria is that there is an ongoing plan for the staffing, maintenance and operation of and infrastructure we build. Africa is littered with dilapidated buildings, water pumps and equipment funded by well-meaning people, but without a plan for long-term support and maintenance. World Vision liaised with the local Woreda Health Authority, and also the Federal Ethiopian Department of health to ensure that these facilities would be staffed, maintained, and be part of the local Samre Health system into the future.
The results speak for themselves. In 2013, thirty-two Samre women lost their lives whilst giving birth, often without a skilled assistant present. In 2017, this figure had been reduced to zero, and we believe the construction of the maternal waiting rooms at Finarwa and Mariam Moko has been a major factor in achieving this great result.
Toilet Blocks & Sanitation Support
Additionally, in Ethiopia, on average, 51% of girls miss four school days a month during menstruation. Social, cultural and economic barriers related to menstruation can affect their right to dignity, and therefore access to education due to insufficient access to safe and private toilets, insufficient WASH facilities, poor access to sanitary materials and facilities for appropriate and private disposal of used materials, consequently leading to high absenteeism from school.
Through our partnership with WVA we funded the construction of Ventilated Improved Pit Toilets with menstrual hygiene management facilities at Adikemalik High School in Medebay Zana, Northern Ethiopia. The cost of the project was $22,261 and will have a tremendous and positive impact on 400 girls allowing them too attend school during menstruation thereby reducing absenteeism.
"The Fullife Foundation began its partnership with World Vision in 2012 when it started sponsoring children in Samre Area Program (AP) in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region. The Foundation’s support has steadily expanded to include funding for discreet health projects in the same AP. This support helped World Vision construct and equip two waiting rooms for pregnant women, train local health staff in newborn care preparedness and complication readiness, and increase local drug supplies. The Foundation’s passion for improving women’s and girl’s health, combined with its ongoing child sponsorship support in Samre AP, continue to help World Vision improve the lives of the people it serves in Ethiopia."