Historical background

The Guraghe tribes discussed here, such as the Chaha, Ezha, Muhur, Ener, Gomare, Enamor, and Endegagn are members of the Yejoka. Although the GRCO and the Yejoka are distinct organizations, the existence of the latter and the long experience with intertribal negotiations may have provided important social and cultural background to the establishment and maintenance of the GRCO is currently called Guraghe Peoples Self-help Development Organization-GPSDO).

Major Results Achieved in Each intervention Area

Low rate of access to health services especially of Reproductive Health/Family Planning (RH/FP), mother and child health (MCH) care coupled with HIV/AIDS and rampant prevalence of Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) has prompted GPSDO to intervene in this area. By taking into account the adverse consequences of the health problems on the community, GPSDO has been aggressively working to increase access to the stated services and information among the youth in particular and the community in general.

GPSDOs RH/FP and MCH outreach that focuses on raising the awareness of the community has resulted in increasing knowledge and acceptance of the services among the youth in particular. The rigorous efforts of GPSDO and its partners have helped to raise in the rate of contraceptive prevalence in the Guraghe Zone from 8.1 percent in 2002 to 33.46 percent in 2011.

Its intensive MCH care services and education has also resulted in improved health care for mothers and children and in reduced mother and child mortality rate. More than 246,000 mothers and children have so far been referred to MCH services through the intervention.

An increase in the rate of voluntary HIV test among the youth and reduced incidence of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections and HTPs, especially FGM and early marriage, are also among the major achievements in the health sector.

GPSDOs education intervention that focuses on non-formal and adult education has enabled several thousands of uneducated adults in the zone to get access to education and improve their livelihoods. The 32 adult literacy and 14 non-formal education centers it had built in different parts of the zone has helped about 36,000 adults (mainly women) to get access to education. Most of them were able to write and read and know the four basics of mathematics.

The livelihood skill training and material support the organization has provided to beneficiaries, as its simultaneous adult literacy intervention, has helped them to engage in various income generating activities and diversify their incomes and life styles.

As the result of the education provided by GPSDO, the beneficiaries knowledge about RH/FP issues has increased.

The tutorial service support it provides to girls enrolling in high schools in the zone has increased their attendance, continuation and academic performance. This has resulted in reduction of school dropout and raising girls chance of joining colleges. Over 10,000 girls have benefited from the service so far.

The construction and renovation of several primary schools in different parts of the zone contributed on its part to get access to & quality of education in the intervention areas.

Population, Health and Environment (PHE), a development approach which recognizes addressing the interconnected problems of PHE in an integrated manner, is the strategy in which GPSDO pursues to address the problems in which the targeted community faced. The Guraghe Zone is mainly characterized by population explosion and environmental degradation and diverse and complex health problems.

By recognizing the contribution of rapid population to environmental degradation resulting in adverse effects on health and livelihood of the community, GPSDO has launched its PHE project in the zone directed at addressing the interconnected problems in an integrated manner.

Establishing and involving PHE clubs and out of school clubs that are supported with by IEC and other materials support in educating the community to work actively towards the combat of rapid population and environmental degradation and problems related to RH/FP. This has contributed to greater involvement of the youth in PHE activities. The enclosure of highly degraded lands with wire fences, plantation of various tree seedlings, construction of flood diversion canals and check dams are among the integrated works being carried out by GPSDO.

The education of student population on population, environmental and RH/FP issues has enabled not only to change in the behaviors of the next generation of adults and leaders but also influences the behaviors of the their parents. As a result, it was proved that the whole community could be reached by focusing on schools.

Over 450,000 people consisting of over 231,000 females and over 219,000 males in the Guraghe Zone have become direct or indirect beneficiaries of the GPSDOs PHE intervention which is being undertaken since 2005.

GPSDOs activities directed at involving community in income generating activities have helped many young farmers to be self-supportive citizens. The scheme has contributed to the creation of job opportunity to thousands of unemployed persons, especially women, and ensures their food security.

Several numbers of rural young women and men, who learned the techniques of rearing cattle and chicken, producing backyard vegetables, preparation of food, buying and selling their produces, became self-reliant in food. The rise in the economic capacity of the beneficiaries helped them to send their children to school.

Over 10,400 young women and men have become beneficiaries of the livelihood improvement program that enabled them to ensure their food security in particular.

The diverse activity GPSDO has undertaken through the involvement of different groups has resulted in conservation and rehabilitation of 515 hectares of degraded lands in the zone and conservation of huge volume of soil and water.

The enclosure of highly degraded lands with wire fences, plantation of various tree seedlings, construction of flood diversion canals and check dams are among the integrated works being carried out by GPSDO. Over 180 hectares of highly degraded lands were enclosed with wire fences to make them free from human and animal contact resulting in the fast recovery of the lands. Check Dams and flood diversion canals covering about 30 square kilometers were also constructed on the areas, prone to soil erosion.

Because of the introduction of the production and distribution of energy saving stoves and the involvement of communities in income generating activities, forest depletion has decreased resulting in decreasing environment stress.

It was able to create better awareness among children representatives of pertinent government offices, including police and judiciary bodies and the community at large due to the promotion of child friendly environment. The establishments of 50 Child Friendly Environment Clubs in various schools and 16 Child Friendly Environment Committees with the support from GPSDO have significantly contributed to raise in the awareness of the community.

The training GPSDO provided to members of the judiciary bodies and community leaders and construction five Child Protection Units (CPUs) within the police quarters in various parts of the zone has strengthened the capacity of responsible institutions in observing strictly laws protecting child friendly environment. It has also developed the culture of the community to bring cases of child abuse and trafficking to court and to get perpetrators receive appropriate legal punishment.

The continued educational material support in which GPSDO provides to 1,250 orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) has enabled them to continue their education.

Fewer incidences of sending children by parents to urban areas to engage in labor for income generation and reduced rate of child trafficking are among the major success attained through the intervention.

GPSDO has a very good track record of program management due to the accumulation of experiences and best practices in the area during its five decades of existence. GPSDOs effective and efficient utilization of resources and management of development projects and programs has won it an acclaim from the government and donors as well as other stakeholders.

GPSDOs structure is made of the Board, Executive Director and other subordinate bodies. The Board is the top ranking body in charge of making decisions and controlling the activities of the organization. The Executive Director is the next high-ranking executive responsible for coordinating and leading the overall activities of the organization. The Executive Director is accountable to the Board.

Various Departments consisting of Program, Finance and Administration, & Public and Resources Mobilization departments are next to the Executive Director, hierarchically. The organization has also nine program coordinators in charge of implementing projects in nine targeted woredas and one town administration.

The Board Members are accountable to General Assembly while Executive Director is directly accountable to Management Board.

The Board Members, the Executive Director, and the Department Heads of the organization are working at the headquarters of GPSDO in Addis Ababa. GPSDO has currently 39 staff members working both at headquarter and targeted woredas. GPSDO has also 304 Volunteer Community Health Workers (VCHWs) at grass root levels.

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