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Ohio State University Visited Mary Joy

Ohio State University delegates unveiled their interest to partnership: The Ohio State University (OSU) delegates visited Mary Joy Development Association on December 9, 2012. The delegates encompass OSU’s professors, Deans and researchers. The visit was aimed to establish partnership between MJDA and OSU on community health outreach program, volunteer mobilization and in-service training programs. The delegates visited the MJDA medical center’s activities and integrated community development programs as well as discussion has been held among the team members and MJDA’s management on the focus of the partnership and sustainability of MJDA’s health programs. The visitors were accompanied by Professor Tirusew Tefera (Dean, College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa University) and Dr. Mekasha Kassaye (Assistant Professor in English Language Pedagogy and Higher Education Policy and Management) and Ethiopian Medical Student Association’s Executives.

Volunteers Recognition

On the 4th of February 2012, MJDA organized a Volunteers Recognition Event to publically recognize the contribution of 200 volunteers who have been actively participating during the last 5 years to achieve the organization’s objectives.

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Strengthening Communities through Capacity Building

Community Knowledge-Sharing Fair in Hawassa

In the world of scarce resources and society’s infinite needs, it is through Community Participation that we can solve the poverty-related issues faced by developing countries in a sustainable manner. For the last ten years, Mary Joy Development Association (MJDA) encourages, supports and strengthens community initiatives through technical and material support. As a result, Mary Joy Development Association has achieved promising best practices that support sustainability issues in caring and supporting orphan and vulnerable children (OVC).

In order to gain additional support for community groups from the local government, NGOs and the private sector, MJDA organized a Knowledge-Sharing Fair in collaboration with various community groups from Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (Hawassa, Aletawondo, Dilla, Halaba Kulito and Yirgalem).

The fair is an innovative example of how vulnerable and resource-starving communities contribute to the development of their neighborhoods. Each participating village designed its own stand to exhibit its achievements through photography, videos and graphics at the Mary Joy’s Youth center in Hawassa.

The fair received hundreds of visitors, including city mayors and other municipal leaders. After the community groups’ presentations, the mayors shared with the audience their impressions of the achievements of the community groups and made a vow to provide additional support.

The major objectives of the fair were:

  1. To enhance and strengthen community mobilization practices while creating an opportunity for community groups to display their work and efforts in caring and supporting OVCs.
  2. To give community groups the opportunity to access additional sources of support from local Government, NGO and private sector.

    The following practices shared by the community groups were considered the event’s most successful:

  • Renovation of houses for OVC, OVC guardians and the elderly through local resources mobilization.
  • Tutorial classes conducted voluntarily for OVCs by community members.
  • School construction through community and resources mobilization.
  • Local sponsorship, scholarships, and employment for the elderly and OVCs.
  • Establishing formal structure, MOU and bank accounts for OVC care and support at town community level.

The event also staged a competition among the community groups from the five project sites. The Community from Halaba Kulito won the competition thanks to their outstanding effort in constructing a school only with local resources.

Finally the event was a wake-up call for the NGOs, municipalities, businesses and individuals on the importance of community participation for sustainable development in developing countries.