March & April 2009

Welcome to a combined March & April news update

Hello from all of us at Link Ethiopia!

Spring is awakening here in the UK and some of the Link Ethiopia team are just returning from Ethiopia again. We have volunteers waiting in line to go out there to teach and work in schools, we have our schools preparing letters and pictures for their partner schools, and we are generally looking forward to a whole new set of plans and developments.

All of our work is centred on supporting education in Ethiopia – building classrooms, installing fresh water pumps, providing books and computers for schools, making sure that sanitary facilities are adequate and suitable, etc. In this News Update we are concentrating on our projects, and specifically our recent toilet projects.

Could you help with future projects? We are always seeking new schools to help with fundraising, as well as individuals and non-school groups in any country of the world. Do get in contact!

Focus on… Projects

This month we want to show you some exciting project related developments that are taking place on our website, and introduce you to two recent toilet facilities that we have funded in northern Ethiopia. If you can help with future projects like these please let us know! Email [email protected] or donate online at Many thanks.

New projects website under construction

An exciting new addition to our website is currently under construction. We have been longing for some time to share with our supporters and the wider web-surfing community much more information about our many and varied projects. Now, thanks to the hard work and expertise of two volunteers, Ali Lown and Pete Garland, we are developing an extension to our website which will give detailed and regularly updated information for each of our projects.

Details will include project costs, fundraising progress, news updates and photo updates as well as showing you where projects are located and giving some key facts and statistics about each school so you know a little more about the communities we are supporting. For those who want to stay in the loop you will be able to receive email notifications when there are updates to your favourite projects or schools.

Our thanks go again to Ali and Pete for all their time and energy. We will let everyone know when the website launches!

New toilets at Arbatu Ensesa and Chechela Elementary Schools

The importance of adequate toilet facilities within schools cannot be overstated. Hygienic sanitation is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of disease and subsequent illness amongst school pupils and Link Ethiopia has been funding projects to help in this area for many years.

Just recently, staff and pupils at Arbatu Ensesa Elementary School celebrated the opening of a new toilet block which we jointly funded with the local community (left photo below). Their previous toilet facilities were showing their age, and were not sufficient for the hundreds of pupils on site. The new toilet block contains six cubicles for female pupils and two for staff, and the old toilet block is now being used by male pupils.

Another school in the north of Ethiopia, Chechela Elementary, is currently constructing their own new toilet block, which we have jointly funded with the community (right photo above). The eight new toilet cubicles will be split equally between the male and female pupils and, judging by current construction progress, the new facility should be fully in use within the next couple of months.

To ensure these new facilities remain clean and usable for many years to come both schools will benefit from a toilet cleaning programme that we are currently developing with their staff and pupils.

How to get involved

If you are able to help us with future toilet building projects, please do get in contact. We work with dozens of schools in Ethiopia which are in need of improved sanitation facilities and we rely on supporters like you to help fund the projects alongside the local communities. If you are able to make a donation, please visit our website ( or email Matt at [email protected] for more information. Thank you.

News from Ethiopia

  • We couldn’t resist bringing you this news: Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa recently ran out of Coca-Cola as the credit crunch took the fizz out of the economy. The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in the city said she had known African countries to run out of petrol, soap, sugar, batteries or tyres – but never Coke.  The East Africa Bottling Share Company, which produces the soft drink in the region, temporarily shut its bottling operation in Ethiopia a month or so ago. It said they had the Coca-Cola – but did not have the bottle tops. You will be pleased to hear that the problem has since been resolved and the soft drink is now back on the shelves.
  • Also, a newly established private airline, Air Ethiopia, has begun to provide its Ethiopian customers with flight services. It is the first private airline to start regular flights in the country. Captain Abera Lemi, who used to work for the national Airlines, established Air Ethiopia last October and it is now providing passenger, cargo, ambulance, charter, and non-scheduled flight services between Addis Ababa and regional centres. Air Ethiopia has acquired a 19-seater aircraft called Beach 1900 from an American aviation company. “The unique feature of the aircraft is that it can land on any field which is not paved,” Abera said. “We give priority to safety,” he added.

Meet the Team: Matt Stockdale

Matt Stockdale is Link Ethiopia’s Project Director and coordinator of our London office activities, working full-time to bring about the success of the organisation. He has lived and taught in Ethiopia, and has been back to visit on many, many occasions.


Culture spot: Traditional clothing

Many visitors to Ethiopia are surprised when they find that traditional clothing does not quite fit in with the colourful styles expected elsewhere in Africa. Whereas in West Africa, printed cottons with bright pictorial designs enliven every marketplace and social meeting, in Ethiopia the traditional clothing is based on pure white woven materials.

To see a crowd of people making their way to a celebration or church service in Ethiopia, all dressed in various styles and forms of the white traditional shawl, is a sight of great elegance and wonder. People keep their white clothing immaculately clean and bright.

Whereas the men will usually wear their plain shawls over their normal daily attire, the women are draped in all manner of finely embroidered or woven cloths, often edged in purples and greens and pinks. Shawls are thick and warm for the chilly evenings, thrown over the shoulders with great style. Much finer and lighter materials provide shawls for the daytime, worn with pride and pleasure whenever people go out to meet their friends.

Coming up on UK Television

  • Long way down – Egypt and Ethiopia
    Ewan McGregor and friend journey through Africa
    Friday May 22nd
    (National Geo Wild)

Ethiopian proverb

The good looks of a moron do not stay that way for long

English proverb

An easy fool is a knave’s tool

Website link

All the up-to-date news, from a variety of sources at

And of course,

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

Together We Learn - Ethiopia