Barefoot Initiative

Newsletter & Updates - June 2015

Welcome to our new online newsletter. We hope you enjoy this new format as much as we do and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Shorthand in Australia for making this possible!

You may also have noticed that we now have a twitter account. Please feel free to follow us and share! We will be updating news and photos on Twitter, as well as on our existing Facebook page.


The Agricultural Community Cooperative

We are happy to report that the Community Agricultural Cooperative followed through with our advice in contacting the regional government to request their support. The regional government has provided the cooperative with one free diesel water pump, and the cooperative are currently in the process of registering a formal bank account to ensure transparency with their membership fees. To date, they have reported successful crops for this year.

The Water carts

We are happy to report that since our last visit to the community in November 2014, money raised through donations specifically for water carts is currently $3,748.21, which will cover the cost for 34 new water carts. Currently the community has 47 water carts, but for there to be an equal distribution of carts our target is to raise enough money to fund 163 more water carts by September 2016. We would like to thank all of you who have made these generous donations to date.

Molta (Women's income generating cooperative)

We were sad to hear from Molta's much loved and active member Dhara, who let us know of the sudden passing of her husband. Despite the sadness of this news, we were happy to hear that Molta has provided Dhara with the opportunity to continue to support her family through the income she receives from her work with the cooperative.

Other reports we have received from the Molta cooperative members, is that since Molta’s shop was relocated in November 2014, the cooperative and shop have been functioning very well.


With almost daily contact with our 6 students, we are happy to hear that they remain committed to their studies. Fatuma will be graduating with a degree in clinical nursing in September this year. We received a very generous donation from one of our long-term members and supporters who paid her total fees till graduation. The continued support and generosity that we receive from all of you is deeply appreciated and without it we would not be able to carry out this work.

When the New School year starts in October this year we will be taking on Mohammed as a new student to replace Fatuma's place. Mohammed is the Afar nurse who has been based in the Yooren health post since 2013. He has received a diploma in nursing and feels incompetent to single handedly run this remote health post with the knowledge he currently holds. On two of our field trips we have observed Mohamed working in the clinic and we feel that it is essential that he receive further training to be able to provide appropriate and safe health care.

Kamil Mansur Mussa will join our student program in September, where we will support him to complete a degree in clinical nursing.

Our five other students, Ibraham, Abdo Humid, Abdo, Musser and Ishka remain committed to their studies and they are in regular contact with us. The Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) is generously supporting this project by providing on the ground support for the students from their Addis Ababa office.

On the students last holidays they informed us that when they returned to their communities in the Afar they self initiated and ran basic community health education sessions. To us this is an example of community members becoming empowered and leading their own development process, which is the essence of what we as Barefoot Initiative work to achieve.


As many of you know, we have been trying to get tax deductibility status for some time now. We have received the very generous support from Godfrey Gardner and our new accountant, Scott Lindqvist from Outcome Accounting, and with their support we are currently in the final stages of changing the structure of Barefoot Initiative from an Incorporated body into a registered Public Company. With this change in structure we remain a not for profit organization, and our ability to raise funds nation wide are improved dramatically. We aim to have our tax deductibility status by September this year.

With this new structure we now have a board of Directors. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a diverse group of people who have come on board with their multitude of skills to contribute to the work we do.


Aidan Glasby (Co-Founder Barefoot Initiative)

Aidan was born in Australia and educated at the Mt Barker Waldorf School. Growing up in a family of four siblings and parents who loved adventures, he had a colorful and exciting childhood that took him through Europe, Asia and throughout Australia. After completing year 12 Aidan completed a shipwright apprenticeship. In 2003 he started a degree in environmental science, but after returning from his trip to Ethiopia decided to change over to nursing, which he completed in November 2008. From 2009 through to 2012 Aidan, together with his partner Lexi, worked in remote Indigenous communities in the NT. In 2013 Aidan was part of a team named Desert Microlight Odyssey, which was a cross-cultural adventure story of two young couples travelling 5000km across Australia in two Microlights. The aim of the project was to share through a documentary the positive stories of the diversity of characters living and working in remote Australia. Aidan is now settled in South Australia where he and Lexi have two small children and he is working as a Primary Health Care nurse with Nunkuwarrin Yunti, which is a Aboriginal health service.

Alexandra (Lexi) Keneally

After a trip to a remote Australian community when she was a young child, Lexi had always envisaged herself working alongside minority groups with a particular interest from a health perspective. Once she graduated from nursing in Adelaide she moved to Alice Springs to work in Indigenous Health. It was here she met Aidan, Sunil and Kyra and embarked on her first overseas trip to Ethiopia in 2010.

Lexi strongly believes that in our western world where education is so accessible it is our social responsibility to work alongside minority groups and share this knowledge. She believes that it is vital to build a mutual respect through relationship, which develops over time. She feels particularly passionate about empowering women to bring about change in their lives through education. Lexi is committed to building relationship, learning more about the Afar people, their culture and how we can best support their goals and ambitions in the future.

Kyra Marwaha (Co-Founder Barefoot Initiative)

Kyra (Aidan's younger sister) has had diverse experiences working as volunteer. Her first volunteer experience was in India with her mother when she was 14 years old.

After completing year twelve she travelled for a year through Ethiopia, the Middle East and Asia, where her time was spent working as a volunteer in a variety of settings, which included living and working in a remote Afar village named Buri in Ethiopia. Disturbed by the difficulties the Afar people were faced to endure daily, she was determined to return to Australia to study nursing, with the ambition to assist people in developing countries. Kyra now holds a Bachelor in Nursing and a Masters in International Health and Development. Kyra is currently based in a remote region of Cambodia where she is working with a local Indigenous NGO working on Primary Health Care programs.

Godfrey Gardiner

Godfrey has 32 years of experience working in the Agricultural Aviation Industry, which has included spreading fertilisers, chemical application onto agricultural and horticultural crops and fire bombing over summer. Before coming to Australia he lived and worked in Sudan and Mozambique flying for companies involved in programs funded by World Bank and Foreign Aid money. During this time he became disheartened with the wastage of aid money that he witnessed.

Godfrey has been a strong supporter to Barefoot Initiative over the years, for the very reason that the money raised goes directly into the community programs.

Zeshi Fisher

Zeshi is a Midwife with qualifications and experience in international health and development. She initially visited Ethiopia with Barefoot in 2003 and has followed their journey ever since. Zeshi has been involved with a number of other health based NGOs in the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Australia, and is currently working with the Birthing Kit Foundation in Adelaide. Her professional interests are centred on reproductive and maternal health programs, education and training, and sustainable community development.

Anna Fawcus

Anna Fawcus is an Australian fine art and documentary photographer, currently based in New York. She works on humanitarian, environmental and animal welfare projects, with various NGO's and international development organizations around the world. 

Anna became involved with Barefoot Initiative in 2010, when she visited the Afar for the first time. She was impressed by not only the incredible work that Barefoot Initiative were doing, but also in their method; engaging with the community and working with them to create change together. Anna's admiration for the organization got her more involved, and she went on subsequent trips to the Afar, building relationships in the community and continuing to document both the place and the people. Her photographs of the community have been used at various fundraisers over recent years.

Kerry Taylor

Kerry Taylor is an Associate Professor with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Flinders University, based in Alice Springs. She has lived and worked in Central Australia since 1988 in Indigenous health and education. Kerry has a strong interest in the principles of social justice and primary health care as a means of addressing inequities in health.

Scott Lindqvist

Scott Lindqvist is a Chartered Accountant and Member of the Institute of Company Directors, with more than 20 years experience dealing with many facets of business ownership and management. Having worked in a major accounting firm, and as a partner in a middle sized firm, and then in a small two partner firm, Scott established Outcome Accounting in 2008. The subsequent growth of Outcome Accounting is due, in part, to the high level of responsiveness and commitment shown to clients, and the provision of fairly priced services.

Over the past twenty years Scott has worked as an advisor on transactions involving the significant restructuring of public and private businesses. More recently he has focussed on the particular needs of small and medium sized enterprises and family businesses, including consulting on business improvement, strategic planning, succession planning, compliance, accounting and tax. He also has had and continues with particular interest in the pre and post start-up needs of not for profit enterprises.

Driven by the need to make a difference, Scott's passion is to see the people and enterprises he works with succeed, and in doing so, be in a position to empower disadvantaged communities globally to prosper through enterprise.


We have a fun and exciting fundraiser scheduled for late September to be held in Adelaide. We will send out more details about this event soon.

With our new structure, we will be updating our website and will send out details when this is happening.

Our next trip to Ethiopia is planned for October or November 2016, where we intend to have our target of 163 water carts made, follow up on our students and carry out an evaluation on our past and current projects.

All feedback and questions welcomed.