U.S. Government Grants Foster Community Development and Self-Reliance among Disabled Populations

Man and woman signing document. (Embassy Image)Today, in conjunction with the visit of Judith Heumann, the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights for the U.S. Department of States, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa pledged financial support through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program (SSHP) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to five projects initiated by different Ethiopian organizations to work on disability and development issues.

The five organizations are among the twenty new grantees who won the 2015 SSHP and PEPFAR small grants award competition from the 180 initial applicants. The grants are aimed to help the recipients to produce assistive devices including crutches and walkers; promote inclusive public libraries equipped with braille and computer software to enable visually-impaired clients to use the computers; and provide HIV/AIDS awareness training, prevention and support services for people with disabilities.

The individual grants for these organizations ranges from $8,000 to $25,000.  The $90,000 total award from the U.S. government will have a positive impact on over 1.7 million Ethiopians from Assosa, Hawassa, Mekele , Jimma, Arsi, Gonder and Ambo through various capacity building and livelihood interventions.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Patricia M. Haslach said, “The Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program and PEPFAR’s Small Grants reflect the United States Government’s commitment to inclusive economic development for Ethiopia’s most marginalized communities, including people with disabilities.”  In Ethiopia, the SSHP and PEPFAR offers small-scale, short-term support for projects that intend to benefit the larger community and bring tangible improvements to people’s lives.