Our commitment at The Teff Creations Company is not only to make delicious cookies, but to do so in a responsible way. Although we don't source our teff from Ethiopia or Eritrea to avoid price fluctuation for the local community, we think it is important to honour the country that domesticated teff over 6,000 years ago. That’s why we partnered with Ethiopiaid, a charity that aims to support local communities in Ethiopia and help establish long-lasting foundations.
This week we got to chat with Lisa Cousins, the CEO of Ethiopiaid, about the amazing work they’ve done and their upcoming plans.
What are the main goals of Ethiopiaid?
Ultimately to not be needed at all by the partners we support! Our end goal is to see an end to poverty in Ethiopia and we are working towards this by supporting local partner organisations who improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalised people and communities.
What are the main challenges standing in the way of achieving these goals, and how do you overcome them?
Whilst some of our local partners are better known, a number do not share the same level of visibility to international donors and there can be an over reliance on Ethiopiaid’s support. We work with these organisations to strengthen their voice and capacity so that they can develop and be ‘funder ready’ to attract other donors and extend their reach to help more people in need.
The charity operates on a grass roots level. What kind of support do you offer and why have you chosen this approach?
Ethiopiaid partners with trusted indigenous partners who share our values and who are deeply rooted in local communities. We were founded on the principle that Ethiopian’s know for themselves the solutions needed to address the challenges they face, much better than anyone else. Our role is to work closely with them to provide the support they need, raising funds from passionate and committed individuals and grant makers, so that our partners can put their plans into action.
Ethiopiaid has released a Global Strategic Plan 2020-2024, in which there is a lot of emphasis on sustainability. In your opinion, what are the key elements needed for lasting change?
Our partners have passionate, experienced and entrepreneurial leaders driving their organisations forward – this is where sustainability starts. Ensuring they can sustain their work for the long term is key. Coupled with this is the importance of their programmes delivering activities that will have lasting impact beyond the lifetime of the project. For example, if you can enable a girl to complete her education, she will be empowered to make informed choices about her health, body and future family. Supporting disabled headed households to set up small businesses enables them to be self-supporting and enjoy a meaningful role in their community. Ethiopia needs strong organisations that are delivering impactful projects in order to drive lasting change in the country – our partners are contributing to this.
What have been some of the proudest moments during your time at Ethiopiaid?
I am always in awe of our partners’ dedication to making things happen, often in the most challenging of circumstances. But this wouldn’t be possible without Ethiopaid’s wonderful donors. It is because of their ongoing belief in the work we are supporting, that so many lives have been transformed. In 2021 alone over 388,000 people were directly supported, which is just incredible. Even during the covid pandemic and the current cost of living crisis in the UK, our donors have remained loyal and generous. It makes me very proud and I cannot thank them enough.
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