[August 1-18] Activities

ACSOT Staff Training (Databases & Google Applications)

We are proud to declare that the ACSOT staff has completed their two separate trainings.  The first training which was administered by the Mekelle computer center was based on “Google Application” the training gave staff very useful skills on g-mail and many other features that Google provides.  The second training which was given by Lebenos ICT center was focused on working with Databases.  The Database knowledge attained will help ACSOT in organizing its member information.  The ACSOT administrative team is currently hard at work creating an all encompassing database for our members that will help us identify strengths and weaknesses of our members.

Food by prescription Project Phase 2

On August 9th-10th  a meeting was organized by the Regional Health Bureau, Mums for Mums and ACSOT and hosted by Save the Children USA/ Food by Prescription Program in Wukro at the Luwam Hotel.    The two-day consultation and HIV/AIDS mainstreaming training workshop hosted participants from a range of local private sector organizations from all over Tigray, to discus how they could assist in the Back to Work Initiative which is an important component of Phase two of the Food by prescription project.

Other main components of Phase 2 are to strengthen the Nutritional Assessment, Counseling and Support (NACS) and to create more effective linkages to community resources and economic strengthening activities.

The project is being funded by PEPFAR and USAID and is being implemented by the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Sector; Save the Children USA are providing technical support.

 

ESAP2 Proposal accepted

As reported previously ACSOT with partners Mums for Mums, Human Being Association of Brotherhood and Quality of Education for Sustainable Development Association have submitted a proposal to ESAP2 in their initiative to improving the quality of basic services in education, health, agriculture, water supply and sanitation, and rural roads.

ACSOT is pleased to announce that our proposal has been accepted and we are currently taking the next steps towards our project.  An agreement has been signed between ESAP2 and ACSOT and funds for the project  will be handed over on the 15th of August.

 

GO-NGO Partnership Forum

On Saturday, August 18th ACSOT, in partnership with CCRDA will be hosting another serious in the GO-NGO Partnership forums at Axum Hotel.  It promises to be a exciting event.

 

ACSOT New Partner

ACSOT has joined forces with a new partner, Society for Development of Human Resources and the Environment (SAHRE).  A Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted and signed to outline a new project called “Enhancing Networking, Engagement and Partnership for Sustainable Development.

This project is composed of the following major activities that will be covered by a budget provided by SAHRE of Birr 458 400.00:

  • Training and information material preparation and production
  • IEC materials preparation and printing
  • Training on networking, dialogue and partnership building for facilitators and volunteers
  • Training government cabinet members, professionals and CSO members
  • Training on development and engagement and partnership of local government and CSOs members
  • Experience sharing and exchange of facilitators and volunteers
  • Undertake community conversation
  • Undertake community conversation review meeting to enhance community and CSOs participation in development.

This will be a 5 month project, beginning from September 1, 2012-Feb 30, 2013.

 

CSSP in Adigrat

ACSOT staff, Ato Berihu, Ato Yonas and Wesarit Herigu went to Adigrat for two functions;

  1. to participated in carrying out some CCRDA phase over activities
  2. to invite Woredas network representatives, local government administrators and CCCs to inform them about ACSOTs new project with CSSP.
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[July 15-21] ACTIVITIES

Adigrat Workshop

The entire ACSOT staff except Ato Zemichael and Amarech participated in a workshop held in Adigrat town.  The one day workshop organized by ACSOT and Mums for Mums and financed by CCRDA, focused on linking the CCCs and the Wereda Netwok (WNW).

Tigray HIV/AIDS Prevention Office Workshop

ACSOTs Director, Ato Zemichael attended a THAPCO workshop in Wukro last week which is located 40km north of Mekelle.  ACSOTs partnership with THAPCO was formed in December of 2011 when ACSOT and partner Mums for Mums were elected as deputy and secretary for the forum on HIV/AIDS which is headed by the Health Bureau. With a high prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia, Tigray has a 1.8% prevalence with 56900 carriers, Tigray is a good place for experience sharing amongst victims and their families in the shape of this forum.  The forum has seventy partner organizations who are divided into 11 sub forums.

This particular meeting that was attended by Ato Zemichael in Wukro was actually a sub form meeting held as a “GO sub forum”  the aim of the meeting was to revitalize this particular sub forum because it was performing poorly in the past.  The sub forum chooses new leadership in hopes for a more successful future.  The workshop was attended by 25 out of the 38 GO representatives invited.  We strive for better turnout in the future.

 

 

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[July 9-15] Activities

Harmful Traditional Practices Meeting in Shire

Ato Zemichael attended a meeting in Shire, Tigray on Monday that was in regards to women’s issues with Harmful traditional practices, one being Female genital Mutilation.  The women of the region reported that most of the 5 harmful traditional practices are being pacified but early marriage and marital rape is still prominent.   Ato Zemichael was taken aback by the women’s insistence that equality between men and women does not exists, not in the masses.  He explained that the lows that govern Ethiopia and the region of Tigray include women and their rights, but he was told these laws did not trickle down to the ground levels where women suffer the majority of life burdens.   Taking all of this information into account it was suggested and even admitted by the women that change needs to come from within the community from each individual household raising their children with the values of Women equality and division of labor.  It is difficult we understand but we also understand change can not come over night.  It takes time and full participation of all community members.

 VSO visits ACSOT

ACSOT’s partner VSO International visited Mekelle this week for a quarterly review with one of its volunteer that has been placed at ACSOT for the year.  The meetings went well and VSO and ACSOT re strengthened their relationship.

ACSOTs CCRDA/IRISHAID phase over

Ato Berihu traveled to Almata this week for the ceremonial handover of the HIV program funded by CCRDA/IRISHAID.  All beneficiaries were invited as well as government sector representatives to discuss past practices and to experience share and hear testimonials thus far.  ACSOT is passing over its program to the committee care collision.  There was no Memorandum of Understanding signed but a plan for all parties to sign the minutes once completed.  During the ceremony it was mostly explained what everyone’s role would be during the phase over to make certain everyone plays their roles and ensures sustainability of the program.

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[July 1-8] Activities

Published Book: “A Mapping Study of CSOs/CBOs Conducted in Tigray Region”

As brought to you before ACSOT has finished publishing their Mapping Study of the CSOs and CBOs in the Tigray Region.  The book is available to anyone interested.  ACSOT is now working on distributing the 1500 copies printed to its partners and members as well as government offices.

Board Member Meeting

On Thursday July the 5th, ACSOT hosted its quarterly board members meeting at the REST office.  Members included participants from SOS, Operation Rescue, REST, Mums for Mums and R.D. Abera  Senior Citizens Care and Support Association.

The major issues discussed were Progress of ACSOT to date as well as some internal staff issues that will be illuminated at a later date and time.

Council Meeting

Last week Ato Zemichale attended several days of a semi-annual council meetings that.  He later reported the 2 main objectives of the meeting were for the President to submit his annual review and set up a new Direction for the year to come.  The second objective was to discuss the budget and get the council to endorse it.  This aspect was important to ACSOT and other CSO’s who benefit from the expenditures of the budget.  During the meeting it was discussed that the Council wished for public participation in evaluating the allocation of he budget and to judge if they felt it was being properly allocated.

Mums for Mums – CCRDA Handover

On Friday members of ACSOT traveled to Axum, Tigray to support our partner Mums for Mums in their official CCRDA phase over project handover.  The ceremony itself took place on Sunday.  While in Axum, ACSOT witnessed the formation of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mums for Mums and its beneficiaries as well as another one between Mums for mums and the city administration of Axum.

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Activities [June 15-31]

TROCAIRE

ACOTs Director Ato Zemichael and Project Manager Ato Berihu went to Addis on the 19th of June to attend a number of meetings.  The first  was a TROCAIRE workshop that was meant to assess the potenial of grassroots movments in the future.  TROCAIRE is finalizing its 3 year program and is now in the process of evaluating, brainstorming and gathering reccomendations for future programs to come.    TROCAIRE’s Mark Cumming a Programme Advisor also gave a presentation on “Programming Directions and Accountability Issues that dicussed wto pillars, Social accountability and social justice.  CAFOD also gave a presentation  on its organization and examined its priorities., its major Priority areas being;

  1. Equality for the poorest and most disadvantaged
  2. Gender
  3. Positive change through working with the church
  4. Demonstrate effective impact of work.

CAFOD, SCIF and TROCAIR also discloused their zero draft copy of their “Joint Ethiopia Programme Civil Society Development Programme External Evaluation”  which talked about the second phase of the programme which was initiated in October 2009 that aimed at promotng institutionalization of accontability and transperency in ten targeted organizations, building of linkages amongst the national and regional network, and constructive and sustainable relations with government at all levels.

CSSP

 Another function attended in Addis by Ato Berihu and ACSOTs Accountant Ato Yonas was a CSSP orientation of its networking program.  Ato Yonas attended an orientation for the fiancial aspects of the new project, CSSP went over different techniques and mechanisisms to utilize the project funds.

Ato Berihu attended the portion that was more geared to discussion on monitoring and evaluation.  CSSP introduced and encouraged Participatory methods  with a specific focus on “appreciative inquiry tools”  which is “a process of inquiry that tries to apprehend the factors giving life to a human system  and seeks  to articulate those possibilities that can lead to a better future.” The text that was given by CSSP further went on to say that, quoting John Schaar, “The future is not a result of choice among alternative paths perferred  by the present but a place that is created — created first in the mind and will, created next in activity.  The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.  The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination”

ACSOT looks forward to working on the new CSSP project, more to come as it progresses.

ESAP2

ACSOT would like to announce  that is has completed and submitted with its partners their call for proposal.  We are now waiting like everyone to hear the results.  More on this when the results come in.

CRDA

ACSOT is anticipating  the CRDA end of project evaluation in Mid-Deptember.   ACSOT will update closer to the date.

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[June 3-9] ACSOT Activities

MAYCHO

ACSOT took a trip to Maycho, the capital of the Southern Zone of Tigray with two items on the agenda.  The first, was to Discuss with Members and Woreda leaders about the CCRDA phase over plans and second, to finalize plans for the ESAP2 Project plan.  From what we reported previously ACSOT and partners has included one more woreda to its proposal plan.  K/Humera was also added to be represented by Mums for Mums in the kebelas of Hillet-Koca, Addi-Goshu and Rawian  in the sectors of Health, Water & Sanitation and Agriculture.

Meeting with the “AGENCY”

So the Civil Society Agency Workshop has come and gone ans ACSOT was fortunate to have attended.  Much great networking was done but unfortuantly little clarifications were made on pressing issues from our finance department.  Overall very informative.

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ACTIVITIES for [May 27-June 2]

CCRDA/IRISH Aid – HIV/AID Phase Over Project

After working together with CCRDA and Irish Aid on the HIV/AIDS Regional Forum project for three year ACSOT submitted a proposal on strengthening and consolidating the link between the HIV/AIDS Regional Forum and the grassroots institutions (CCCs) for smooth and safe phase-over to ensure sustainability. 

 This past Saturday ACSOT invited community members from the Southern Woredas here to Mekelle to explain about the phase over and the importance of the continuation of the Regional Forum through the hands of the community.  This meeting is one of many planned, ACSOT is holding another meeting this week in Maycho and we will bring you updates next week.

 ESAP 2 – Working on Proposal

 Killing two birds with one stone ACSOT also used the meeting on Saturday with the Southern Woredas to pin down some details in regards to our proposal for the ESAP2 call.  There were representatives and Administrations from 2 woredas from the Southern Zone, One from Damokeni and the second from Almata Town.  ACSOT and its partners were able to consult the Woreda advisors about what sectors would be most beneficial to the areas and which Kebeles should be targeted.  The end results look like this

WOREDA
KEBELE SECTORS

Damokeni

T/Haya

Education & Road

Meswaeiti

Education & Health

Senai

Irrigation & Water Sanitation

Almata Town

Abjera

Education & Road

Merewa

Education & Health

Wajatimuga

Education & Health

Mekelle

Hadnet

Education & Road

Hawelti

Education & Road

Semien

Education & Roa

ACSOT will be going to Maycho this week to gather more data and consult with the kebelles.  Maycho is the capital to the Southern Zone of Tigray and we will be meeting with the kebelle leaders and Sector leaders as well. 

 Civil Society Agency

The Civil Society Agency of Ethiopia is in Mekeele this week holding a two day workshop.  It is the agency that requires all eligible Civil Societies to register at a federal level in Addis Ababa.  While in town ACSOT has a meeting with them to go over organizational finances.  Ato Yonas our senior Accountant will work with them to ensure everything is up to date.  We will keep you informed.

Memorandums of Understanding

ACSOT is happy to declare that is has finalized most of the Memorandums of Understandings it has currently set out for itself.   We have finalized them with Mums for Mums, Child Form, and the Council-Media-ASOT forum.  ACSOT is still working on a Memorandum of Understanding with the sector bureau, more information on that to come.

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Activitied for [May 20-26]

 ESAP2 – CALL for Proposal

 

ACSOT has facilitated another meeting with its members to discuss the ESAP2 Call for Proposal.  The meetings were held to ensure every member’s organization understands what this call entails.  ACSOTs Project Manager, Auto Berihu gave a presentation on the details of the call and highlighted some important information and explained the instructions.  ACSOT is committing to ensuring that every member has a fair chance to compete for the call.  During the meeting partnerships between members were also discussed as was advice by ESAP2.  The hope of ESAP is that larger, more experienced organization can team up with smaller, less strong organizations so to build up the capacity of the smaller organization for the future.  ACSOT has arranged for meetings with the woredas it and its partners wish to focus on.  It is ACSOTs intention to consult with the woredas and ensure the best sector selections for the region.  The first meeting will take place the coming Saturday.   After the meeting that will allow ACSOT to solidify its sectors Ato Berihu and the rest of the partners will finish a draft copy of the proposal.  The deadline is June 22nd, 2012.  We will report then on our progress. 

Tigray Partnership forum on HIV/AIDS

ACSOT along with other members organized and participated in a Partnership forum on HIV/AIDS this past Saturday.  The forum was created by the steering committee of the GO-NGO forum.  The forum is currently in phase over stage and the committee is trying to ensure sustainability of the project without the steering committees presence.   During the meeting the committee presented the results of the 2011 report and discussed the 2012 action plan.  Another meeting will take place next week so that the assembly may approve the 2012 Action plan. 

Memorandum of Understanding

Currently, ACSOT is working on finalizing two memorandums of understanding.  The first is with our member organization Mums for Mums and the second is with our donor TROCAIRE. 

Experience Sharing for the Civil Societies in Woreda level

ACSOT is planning to invite a woreda representative for all the woredas in the region.  This will include about 42 people.  ACSOT wants to create a meeting where all woredas can come together to share their experiences and discuss solutions.  This meeting and data gathered will help ACSOT in pursuing the ESAP2 call with a more informed framework. 

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[May 14-20] Ch…

[May 14-20]

 

  1. Child Sub-Forum

 ACSOT was involved in yet another Child Forum, this one was a sub-forum hosted by our member organization “Daughters of Charity”.  At the meeting “Daughters of Charity” presented on their “Abba Gebremichael Support Program for Children living in difficult Situation”.   The presentation consisted of the types of services that they provide to about 233 beneficiary children age 18 and under.    Some services they provide are;

 

  1. Breakfast and Lunch services,  as well as a feast day celebration for the families of the youths
  2. Educational Support: formal education, tutoring classes, library and resources access and they provide a scholarship to private school to the top 10 students.
  3. Counseling and visits to children’s school and homes:  The social workers visit the children’s homes semi-annually and the schools bi-weekly to record efficiency of program and provide needed counseling. 
  4. Health:  basic medical treatment is provided and all children are given hygiene materials and facilities to use them. 
  5. Personal Environment Sanitation: The youth are encouraged to clean up their surrounding environment twice a year so to improve the general health conditions in the community, they also plant trees.
  6. Extra Curricular:  They provide activities for the youths like; sports, music clubs, drama clubs, literature, Art, a child parliament and girl clubs. 
  7. Provide Marketable & Soft skills training
  8. Night Shelter:  They have 30 shelters for those youths who have no family and usually reside on the streets.
  9. Economic Empowerment:  The encourage families to engage in Income Generating activities, teach them how through self-help groups and provide seed money. 
  10. HIV/AIDS awareness
  11. Workshops and Seminars on Advocacy and program projects. 

 The organization does a lot of great things and they have extremely well kept facilities.  The next sub-forum will take place at LOLA’s children home for HIV Orphanes around the time of African child day in June.  More to look forward too…

 

  1. Ato Berihu goes to Addis

 Ato Berihu again took of to Addis last week to participate in two events.  The first was a validation and assessment session for the Phase over for ACSOT’s project with Irish Aid.  Everything went well and we look forward to working with Irish Aid during the phase over. 

The second event was the annual GO/NGO meeting that took place.  ACSOT and those from the region of Tigray focuses on four points.

  1. Formulating of Forum Bi-laws
  2. Advocating for a new legislation to govern those organizations at the regional level (those not registered federally)
  3. Go over New guidelines of Charities and Societies
  4. Discuss common issues of reporting to government agencies. 

Overall the forum went well; focus was mostly kept on achievements of organizations rather then strategic planning talk for the GO/NGOS.  This we suggest should be the topic for the next forum.

 

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[May 6 – 13]

 1.       Meeting with Fredrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation

This week ACSOT met with The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Foundation.  FES is a German political foundation committed to ideas and basic values of social democracy.

Its mission, both at home in Germany and in over 100 countries including Ethiopia, is to promote democracy, social justice and economic-reform through capacity building, policy development and promotion of dialogue.  They have been active in Ethiopia since the early 1960’s.

The purpose of the meeting between ACSOT and the FES Foundation was to discuss ACSOT’s role in facilitating a workshop on capacity building for the regional council.  After the meeting the FES Foundation representative along with Auto Zemicael G/Medhin, ACSOT’s Executive Director traveled to Adigrat to give the workshop. 

 2.        Visit from our Donor TROCAIRE

Last week we were visited by a consultant of our Donor organization, TROCAIRE.  She was sent to Mekelle from Addis to evaluate and asses ACSOT’s 3 year Networking and capacity building plan.  The plan is in its final year.  Findings of the consultant’s assessment will be given during a meeting that will take place on June 22, 2012.  We will keep you updated on results. 

 3.       Operation SMILE

I had the great honor of witnessing what seemed like a miracle to me.  Last week Operation Smile came to Tigray, set to change the lives of over 150 people born with the facial deformity known as Clef lip.   

“Children with facial deformities who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems. ‘’ This does not begin to uncover the social hindrances of the deformity.  Many of these youths are discriminated against and at times ostracized from their families and societies. 

A small irregularity, can determine the entire future of a baby. “It takes as little as 45 minutes to repair a cleft lip and costs 2,400 Birr / $240 USD”  a surgery that is not normally widely available in Ethiopia even if the patient could afford the cost.  Operation Smile, originally an American Organization established itself in  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October of 2005 and has expanded its efforts to cover Tigray and Jimma as well.  Since its inception in Ethiopia Operation Smile has provided free medical evaluations to more than 1,300 patients and performed life-changing surgery to more than 700 children.   World Wide they have treated more then 115,000 children and young adults. 

What makes Operation Smile so great is that is houses one of the largest volunteer networks worldwide.  I had a chance to see the volunteers in action and take many pictures (which I will post).  Also I had the great pleasure of meeting two ladies working with Operation Smile, Ruth Emmauel and Kia Guarino who were kind enough to expose ACSOT to their massive campaign.  Thanks Ladies.

For all of you out there looking to look into a great cause I recommend checking out Operation smile, here is a link to their website http://www.operationsmile.org.et/.

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