The five days in Gode was filled with training and discussions with focus groups. Because of the security restrictions, we were not allowed to go into the kebeles to talk with some of the beneficiaries. Some of them had to come to our office or we had to visit theirs.
Several groups had to be interviewed to determine the stress points experienced during the rains. While the rains created major concerns like water-borne diseases and migration of families and livestock, the drought that followed presented other challenges like lack of food and livelihood, to name a few. Of course, the overarching issue is the availability of clean and drinkable water in the kelebes (towns) and woredas (zones). While speaking with the health and agriculture bureaus, there were similar reports relating to water purification, health of the livestock. There were additional reports of lack of food, and availability of drinking water in about 90% of the schools. If a child has to travel home to drink water, this impacts his/her return to school for the remainder of the day.
After talking to these folks and those beneficiaries who came from the woredas, I have quickly realized why there is such a cycle of needs that are not met. The weather remains as a huge contributing factor but there are is so much to be done to create a vibrant sense of working and learning to help promote a behavioural change.