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Irob-Woreda Special Technical and Vocational Education Training and Agro-Processing Industrial Cluster-Center (STVET-APICC)


by Ziade Hailu

The TVET-Agro processing center is perhaps the most ambitious project ever attempted in Irob woreda in the past one hundred years. Initiating a project of this scale in barren land not only requires stretching one’s imagination for altruism but also a willingness to entertain difficult ideas. I feel there is a general prevailing mood by the people, particularly the young, who are determined to think tough. Reading from the mails I receive and teleconferences being organized, TVET-Agro processing project has raised, the ones dormant, collaborative spirit of the people. Outcomes witnessed so far is very encouraging. As we speak the most difficult phase of starting the project is underway: heavy earth moving machinery reached the site, clearing work started and METEC guys are producing key inputs in Addis.

And yet, even though this project is awash with passion and enthusiasm for its completion, the same can’t be said about the cash. To address the capital issues, fund raising initiatives are taking place.

The Irob intelligentsia are not new to professional fund raising activities. If Ato Dillibis’ accounts with Dutch missionaries are to be believed, I imagine the first project proposal for funding was crafted by Fr. De Wit for the famine victims of Irob in early 1920’s. Since then we have sharpened our skills and written thousands of proposals. And now, our talent in developing proposals and creating partnership is required more than ever.

Last week we made use of our talent for such a mission. We were able to organize an interesting meeting with representatives from France based Civil Society Association who showed interest to collaborate. Our team introduced the project objectives, costing and the benefits of possible partnership. We mentioned positive externalities that might be realized for France (Europe) in its fight against illegal migration and help create job opportunities at home.

One can’t be sure of the outcome of such efforts, but the team was pleased as the delegates requested the submission of project details so that the Association can decide on the most suitable arrangement for partnership in the future.

Considering the wealth of network the Catholic Church amasses, one can imagine organizing visits and building partnership with donors may not be impossible. But then expecting the project cost to be paid by white man or by a government alone is neither possible nor beneficial. The project needs to be done by the community, the rightful owners. The new thinking in development acknowledges that there are no poor people as such but people who haven’t identified their assets. Let’s help them find.

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