CPAR has been working in Ethiopia since 1984. There are over 80 ethnic groups and languages in the country; the Oromo ethnic group represents the largest, 40 per cent of the country and Amharic is the official national language.
Climate change, combined with overgrazing, deforestation, and poor agricultural practices, have led to the loss of farmland in the country. Drought and a 17-year civil war that ended in 1991 have also contributed to Ethiopia’s environmental problems.
CPAR began working in Ethiopia in 1984 to provide emergency relief in response to what was the worst famine in Ethiopia in 100 years. Canadian doctors travelled to Ethiopia to deliver direct medical services, initiate emergency feeding programs for severely malnourished children, and to establish vaccination programs.
Since that time, CPAR has initiated development programs to build resiliency so that rural communities are equipped to survive future crises.
CPAR has a head office in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, which is shared with other NGOs. CPAR’s staff in Ethiopia are all nationals.
Meet Our Staff From the Addis Ababa Office
Abaynesh Ayele, Acting Ethiopian Office Administration and Finance Manager
Abaynesh has always dreamed of working for a humanitarian organization, so when she got her job with CPAR over 27 years ago, she was ecstatic. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family and taking trips with them. Some of her favourite places are the town of Arba Minch, Lake Ziway and the town of Hawassa. If you’re ever in Ethiopia, Abaynesh recommends you try Doro Wat, made using chicken and eggs.
Dereje Mammo, Project Manager
Dereje loves working with youth as he wants them to grow up into a healthy, new generation. He enjoys seeing them become empowered through the projects he takes part in. Dereje also enjoys visiting the lakeside town of Hawassa and guarantees that it is one of the most beautiful towns in Ethiopia. He recommends you visit it during the dry season, as the sunsets turn the sky and clouds into a fiery painting.
Sandra Abeje, Senior Project Officer
Sandra has worked in different positions within the Ethiopian health system for over five years and joined CPAR because she deeply believes in building the capacity of health care workers and the healthcare system. Her favourite part of Ethiopia is the Semien mountains located in the Semien Gondar Zone. The mountains are home to beautiful rock-cut churches and medieval castles. They are also the home of a fragile ecosystem that include rare and unique animals, such as the Gelada baboon, the Walia ibex, the Ethiopian wolf and a species of goat found only in that region.
Mastewal Mekonnen, Senior SRHR / GBV Officer
Mastewal’s passion lies in helping women and girls reach their full potential. She says that it’s common in Ethiopia to see women being undermined in every way by their community, so being able to change this brings her a lot of joy. Mastewal loves a chicken dish called doro wot and recommends it to anyone visiting Ethiopia. She also loves the traditional “gadda” system, which is a way of governing and of conflict resolution unique to the Oromo people that dates back hundreds of years.
Biruk Alemu, Senior Driver and Mechanic
Biruk loves solving technical problems, whether it be with a car, electrical or a plumbing issue. When he’s not at work, he enjoys gardening and building furniture. If you’re ever in Ethiopia, he recommends you visit the beautiful rock-cut church Lalibela, in the Siemen mountains, as it is a beautiful and absolutely breathtaking.
Gezzu Limma, Regional Office Coordinator for Assela
Gezzu has worked for various NGO’s on a variety of different projects, mostly focused around youth development. As these projects often took him away from his family, he is glad to be working for CPAR in the town where he lives. Outside of work, Gezzu enjoys spending time with his family, doing yard work, and providing counselling to those in need. His personal motto is “live, try, never give up.” It encourages him to stay open-minded to allow him to learn new things.