The Embassy of the State of Israel and Save the Children Norway Ethiopia (SCNE) signed a three-year cooperation agreement aimed at establishing a joint program to support child development activities in Ethiopia.

The case of Ethiopia is a very good illustration of how Israel helps developing countries despite its own very modest means, and how Israel uses its own creative solutions in order to help others.
Israel’s activities in Ethiopia in recent years were planned in order to answer the requests for assistance prescribed by the government of Ethiopia.

One example is Agriculture. Ethiopia’s economy relies on agriculture and so does the whole food security program. The best way for Israel to aid Ethiopia is not through food supply (like some other aid agencies have done), but rather by delivering the know-how and by developing the skills that would permit Ethiopia to create a sustainable food security scheme.

The young generation, today’s children are those who will lead Ethiopia into prosperity, and we must ensure their education, and well-being.  SCNE and the Embassy have both reached a conviction that by joining forces the possibilities to help Ethiopia in this endeavor are greater and make the work more efficient, and it is for this reason that the Embassy, mobilizing MASHAV, and SCNE have decided to get together as partners for children’s welfare and well-being programs in Ethiopia.

Generally speaking, Israel’s international assistance focuses on two major types of activities: Short-term “On the Spot” consultancies by Israeli experts in Ethiopia, and professional training for Ethiopian experts in Israel. The collaboration with SCNE will enable to put professional forces together for preparing a cadre of Ethiopian professionals who will work with the children.

In the period 2003-2004, close to 90 Ethiopians came to Israel for the other dimension of Israel’s assistance: specialized professional training programs. The participants gained invaluable know-how in topics such as food management, intensive and sustainable vegetable production systems, post-harvest biology and technology, and dairy cattle production. Now it’s time for children’s welfare and well-being.

We all have great appreciation for the important work that the Government of Ethiopia does in this field, and we hope that through the collaboration program created today, we can modestly help.

As a preliminary phase of this unique cooperation, already in December 2004 a first joint training program with SCNE for social workers was carried out in Addis Ababa. The topic was “Counseling for Abused and Neglected Children”.

This course enabled Ethiopian experts to expand their knowledge and strengthen their capacities in their respective professional fields. According to the new cooperation program, many others will be able to acquired similar training in Israel in a wide range of fields including Medicine and Public Health, Economic and Social Development, Rural and Urban Development, and Education and Community Development.

In view of the modest and humble means at Israel’s disposal, we seek to establish similar joint programs to that we have concluded with SCNE also with other development agencies, governmental as well as non-governmental, international agencies and development banks.

The most recent example is the MASHAV-USAID agreement signed in Addis Ababa in February 2005, which establishes a three year assistance program aimed at creating the capacities and providing the know-how that is crucial for the development of Ethiopia. Israel’s assistance program in Ethiopia is a unique example of Israel’s possibility to help out African countries.

Through this work, Israel has gained a great reputation in Ethiopia for its cooperation and assistance programs. Partnerships such as these will enable more African countries to benefit from Israel’s very unique contribution, which is done with very modest means and therefore needs a “booster” partner. Today our booster is SCNE, and I would like to express our great pleasure to commence a working program together.