THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE NEXT STEPS
Ethiopia faces it's worst drought in 50 years, and we all face compassion fatigue.
Since starting the7dayringproject, we have tried to stay on top of current events, especially news in Ethiopia. What we have often found is that for every success and happy piece of news from this amazing country, there are ten times the number of problems, heartbreaks, and disasters. It has led to many to feel the effect of “compassion fatigue”. People are tired of seeing ads for donations, fundraisers and heart-tugging commercials asking them to give financially. It’s easy to feel frustrated as sometimes it feels like no matter how much is given or what we do, the suffering never disappears.
One thing we can clear up is that Ethiopia is NOT a helpless bottomless pit of foreign aid as it is often portrayed. It has cut its poverty rate by ONE-THIRD since 2000 and Ethiopia was named the fastest growing economy in the world for 2015.
Despite the progress, Ethiopia is going through a severe drought, something common for the landlocked country. In fact, this is the worst drought they have experienced in 50 years. It is initiated by a duo of the arrival of El Niño weather conditions that weakened summer rains and the failed spring rains. The UN estimates that 6 million children are facing food shortages, and that over 10 million people will need humanitarian assistance. That’s the equivalent of nearly one in three people in Canada needing help. This means over $1.4 billion in humanitarian aid is needed.
What cuts the deepest is that this drought is striking right as Ethiopia is getting over it’s reputation as the “Famine Country” and making huge successes in improving the state of the nation. Ethiopia’s 1984 famine resulted in 1 million perished and sparked the song “We Are the World” and the LiveAid movement. Many mistakes were made in the 1980s, both by the West and by the Ethiopian Government. The West was criticized for not reacting to the crisis in time due to Ethiopia’s leftist past; the Ethiopian Government for its spending donated funds on civil war.
So when we hear things, such as a major drought is threatening the amazing progress that has been made, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Who do you support? How do you support? Is it worth it to give short-term aid? Are any of the supplies and funds donated actually making an impact where they are most needed? We, at the7dayringproject, are still confident in the long term investment in education.
THE GOOD: ROUND 2
(because we all need a little extra good in our lives)
We are so lucky to be constantly updated and informed by our partner organization, imagine1day. This includes everything from their reading rates surpassing the country average by a landslide, to their dropout rates hitting lows like never before. Imagine1day was even recently recognized and awarded as one of the top 10 most impactful NGO’s in Ethiopia. Though tragic news headlines and the constant tug o’ war of where to allocate your donations can be overwhelming, what we are certain about is that what imagine1day is doing, is in fact, working.
Our goal is to focus solely on Ethiopia, in a sustainable way. We want to empower women to learn how to support themselves, in hopes that one day soon, there will be no need for that support—even when climate change is making rain scarce. Through the education of women, Ethiopia will gain the asset of 50% more of their population possessing the skills to innovate and to impact their country.
“We know what’s possible when we empower women and girls and give them the opportunities to develop their promise,” –Michelle Obama
THE NEXT STEPS
We encourage you as agents of change to try and switch your mindset. Making an impact is easier than you may think! Taking one small step at a time will result in big changes (whether you see it or not). We encourage you that in some way or another, you never stop educating yourself and educating others. Whether that means using the power of social media to share an article about a socially focused startup, talking about an issue that you are passionate about at the dinner table, donating to a cause, or even buying a 7dayring- you rock and you can do it. How are you making an impact today?
Our aim is to provide more educational content on our social media platforms, and to continue to work hard to share our product with as many individuals as possible.
To buy a ring click here.
To learn more about our story here.
Want to know how our awesome partner charity is stepping their game up during tough times?
Check out their response here.
To donate directly to imagine1day, click here.
New rings are on their way from Ethiopia! We are pretty stoked for what is ahead for the7dayringproject and we hope you'll joining us for the adventure!
Taylor & Peony
*Cover photo source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.