Barefoot Initiative

Newsletter - March 2016

Greetings to all you wonderful people who support and make the work we do possible.

2016 so far has been busy for the Barefoot Initiative team. We have finally been granted tax deductibility status for donations above $2 within Australia. We hope that this will extend our support network and also enable us to apply for corporate sponsorship. If you are a business owner and interested in supporting us with this please contact us by emailing

Our diverse, multi skilled team of 8 directors are spread across Australia and the globe, so we are needing to become creative in ways to raise funds and awareness. Using online platforms are one of the ways in which we are doing this. You can now find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We have recently revised and changed our website, please check it out by visiting

We also have a blog on our website where we post regular updates and stories. To visit our blog click here

Additionally we are brewing the idea to set up an online shop that will be linked to our website where all profits will go towards our projects, watch the space as we develop this idea further. 


Throughout the world countries have been feeling the effects of El Niño – which is a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific. As a result Ethiopia is enduring the worst drought in 30 years. UNICF are claiming that the number of people in need of food aid is expected to rise to 18 million by the end of 2016 from just over 10 million now.

The impacts that are being seen are children increasingly missing school, as they have to walk further in search of water after two seasons of failed rains. An estimated 500,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and in the Afar region where our work is based more then half of the livestock have perished. Being pastoralists, this is like having your entire life savings taken away.

We are in regular contact with the community where our projects are based via our students and through our Partner organization, Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) who are based on the ground in the region.

Reports from the village claim that 80% of the cattle and 50% of the goats and sheep have perished so far.

On a brighter note, the agricultural cooperative has still been able to use their diesel water pumps to pump water from the Awash River to the farm. In January they harvested an abundant crop of maize. Considering the circumstances this is an incredible success story as the farm has ensured a level income and food security for the community.


Over the first 2 weeks in February we ran an online crowd funding campaign where we raised a total of $13,496.00 USD, which after bank fees came to just over $17000 AUD. This is an incredible effort for just 2 weeks. All money raised was given to APDA to assist with their emergency relief and recovery activities for the Afar community.

These activities include, providing food and water for households, equipping and sending mobile health workers and vets with medications and vaccinations to access hard to reach villages where they provide health and veterinary services.

From all of us at Barefoot Initiative, APDA and on behalf of the Afar community we are so grateful for all the support and generosity we have received.

Although this campaign has ended, the drought has not and we ask that you all maintain your support towards our efforts. We will keep sending you updates and donations can still be made directly through our website


We value our members, and view each of you as an extended member to the Barefoot Initiative community.

As we have gone through a change of structure from an incorporated body to a limited company, past memberships are no longer valid. For past members apologies for the inconvenience of this. The annual membership is $12 and entitles you to the 3 points mentioned below.

What it means to be a member

o You will receive email newsletter updates on our work and events before they are available to the general public

o You will be invited to attend and participate at annual general meetings

o You will be a valued financial supporter of Barefoot Initiative and the work that we do for marginalized communities.

To fill out our online membership form and pay your membership fee please click on this link


We are so proud of our first graduated student, Fatuma Mohammed. Fatuma graduated with a degree in Clinical Nursing in September 2015. She has now moved back to the Afar region where she is working as a Nurse and Health Educator for a local not-for-profit organization called Rooci Waadu, which translates to "Safe Life". Rookie Waadu's focus is to reduce maternal and child mortality rates in the Afar. A field of work Fatuma has always dreamed of working in.

Fatuma is so grateful for the opportunity that she has been given to study and to now be working as an active contributing member in her community. We thank all of you who have enabled Fatuma to take this journey.

Our five current students are doing well and studying hard. We are in regular contact with them as they enjoy practicing their English through messaging and emailing us and they keep us updated with events in the region and in Yooren.


Water Carts

In 2014 we set a target to have a total of 166 water carts in the community by the end of 2016. This will allow 1 cart for every three households. Currently there are 47 water carts in the community. 1 water cart costs approximately $110 AUD which means we need to raise a total $18,260 AUD of which we have already raised $4500.41. We still need to raise just over $13000 AUD by September this year.

With the introduction of the water carts, the men of the community now partake in collecting water for the household, thus breaking the traditional role in Afar society where in the past this chore has been seen solely as belonging to women and children. The water carts remain highly valuable to the community. Women without a water cart make 6 trips a day to collect water for their household, appose to only 2 trips a day for women who use a water cart. Women collect 5 ETB per month from those who use the carts for maintenance.

To donate or buy a water cart as a gift please click here


As many of you know, we unfortunately had to cancel our annual fundraiser in 2015. At this point we don't have an event fundraiser planned for 2016.

Despite the fundraiser being cancelled, we were still able to raise funds through private donations and fundraising events made on our behalf.

Thank you year 8 students 2015 Salisbury High School

We want to acknowledge all the year 8 students from Salisbury High School who raised an incredible $2,292.20 with the dedicated and loyal help from their humanities teacher Evan Polymenease.

Thank you Brianna

Another special person we want to acknowledge is Brianna. For the past five years, while completing High School, Brianna found all kinds of ways to raise money for Barefoot Initiative. She even established her own business called Help Hope Happiness, from which she collects cans and bottles for recycling and donates money collected from this to Barefoot Initiative. Through her efforts Brianna has raised over $1500.

Since we set up the campaign for the drought assistance Brianna has set up donation boxes in a number of restaurants and Cafes to further her support.

Thank you Tiarne, Hayley and your staff at Copenhagen Brighton

The amazing owners of Copenhagen Brighton, Hayley and Tiarne Cook have set up donation boxes for Barefoot Initiative in their busy shop and in other Copenhagen outlets in South Australia for the past 2 years. Hayley and Lana, one of the Copenhagen staff members come as volunteers to Ethiopia with the Barefoot Initiative team in 2014. A massive thanks to them and all their staff for their support and generosity.

Thank you Mari

A massive thanks to Mari, who is a year 12 student at the Samford Valley Steiner School in Queensland Australia. In 2015 Mari raised over $1153.00 through her school canteen to go towards our projects.

Thank you Naina

On hearing about the drought crisis in Ethiopia, Prospect Primary year 2 student Naina wrote a letter to the School community that was published in the school newsletter to bring awareness and raise funds for the drought.

Thank you Jo

In celebrating her Birthday in 2015, Jo asked all her friends and family to donate to Barefoot Initiative instead of buying her a gift. She raised $1320.

These are the stories that connect us all, warm our hearts and illustrate how acts of kindness may appear simple yet are so significant. It is also a wonderful example of how Barefoot Initiative brings communities together. It is only through community that we are able to do the work that we do.

To read more about each of the above stories visit our blog

If you feel inspired and would like to hold a fundraiser on our behalf please contact us by emailing


What's Next

A team from Barefoot Initiative will be returning later in the year.

First and foremost we will be following up on the drought situation, APDAs emergency relief activities and the needs of the community.

We will be engaging and visiting our partner APDA and their project sites, including the Mille Hospital which is run by the Barbara May Foundation and comes under the umbrella of APDA. The hospital, which is located in the Afar region, is working to ensure that women in the Afar have safe maternal health care during pregnancy and labor.

We will follow up on current students and recruit new ones. Abdo Humid Mohamed will be graduating in September with a degree in Clinical Nursing and the team, together with APDA, will support his transition from student to professional by helping him find a job.

Assuming that we will have raised our funds to reach our target for the Water Carts, we will work in collaboration with the local Garage in Awash town to have the carts made and distributed to the community.

Additionally we will carry out an evaluation on our work implemented so far in the region.

All comments and feedback welcome. Please email us at

With thanks for all your support,

The Barefoot Initiative Team