Panorama mit Bäumen und Hügeln in Derra Äthiopien

Project Area



A dream comes true: we are no longer needed!

For 13 years we were active in the project region of Derra, where the work was financed entirely by the association Menschen für Menschen Austria. The projects were implemented in collaboration with colleagues in Ethiopia, who worked hand in hand with the population.
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Overview of the project area

Project duration:
1,500 km²
approx. 210,000
Main town in the region:
Gundo Meskel
about 140 km (as the crow flies) north of Addis Ababa in the North Shewa Zone. Between 1,400 and 2,500 meters above sea level.
Mann in Derra arbeitet im Feld

Challenges at the beginning of our work in Derra in 1997

Advanced soil erosion and deforestation in particular posed a major challenge at the beginning of the work in Derra. Even in this very remote region, people have to make a living by cultivating fields that are often far too small. Since there is a risk of malaria in the valleys where the arable land is located, people live in the higher regions. They often have to climb and descend more than a thousand meters per day to cultivate their tiny arable plots. A particularly big problem was also the virtually non-existent supply of clean drinking water, plus poor access to educational opportunities.

98 %

of the people did not have clean drinking water.

At the beginning of our work in 1997, 2 out of 100 people did not have access to clean drinking water.

13 %

of the children were able to attend school

Education is the key to the sustainable development of entire regions.


people worked there in health care

Derra is home to approximately 210,000 people in an area that is slightly more than half the size of Austria’s Vorarlberg province.

What we did in Derra

Based on the principle of capacity building, the staff of Menschen für Menschen implemented a variety of projects in the areas of agriculture, water, education, health, and income from 1997 to 2010.

The work was always implemented hand in hand with the population and completed projects handed over step by step to the responsibility of the population and local authorities. In this way, an important foundation for further development was created in Derra. After the project work was completed, a monitoring team from Menschen für Menschen remained on site to provide advice and support in the event of any challenges. Since 2014, no Menschen für Menschen staff have been in Derra on a permanent basis, so our help is no longer needed.

Project report (excerpt)

Beyond the initiatives indicated here, further activities in the fields of agriculture, water, education, health, and income were implemented in order to create a good basis for the sustainable development of the Derra region.

Status of the evaluation unless otherwise specified: 12/31/2019


Nurseries established

The nurseries grow trees, grasses and shrubs for reforestation, as well as fruit tree saplings for families. The nurseries are later transferred to the responsibility of the population or local authorities.


Hectares of land reforested

The saplings from the nurseries are planted in fenced areas in collaboration with the population. The village community takes care of the maintenance and protection of the reforestation areas.


Hand pump wells and spring catchments constructed

Wells and spring catchments are built near the villages. Clean, healthy drinking water sustainably improves people's health and saves them a lot of time collecting water.


Schools built

Schools supplied by Menschen für Menschen are built according to a proven principle that is characterized by a particularly robust construction. The schools can then provide a clean, bright place to learn for learning for decades to come.


Sight-saving operations performed

The main causes of blindness in rural areas are cataracts and trichiasis. The latter can be avoided simply through more hygienic living conditions. In the final stage, however, only surgery protects against blindness.


women participated in the microcredit program

Microcredits often give women their first opportunity to earn an income on their own. The credit groups operate independently, and the entire region benefits from economic development in the long term.

The people behind the numbers: our success is measurable and changing lives.

To make our work's success verifiable, it's not just about the numbers and data, but first and foremost about the people. The following stories tell of the big and small successes achieved in Derra.


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What we did in Derra. Insights into our work

We have compiled a few exemplary milestones and achievements that show what was made possible in Derra with the support of our donors between 1997 and 2010.
Zwei Frauen holen Wasser an neuer Quelle von mensche für Menschen in Äthiopien

Clean water changes everything

Due to the catastrophic water supply situation, it was urgently necessary to implement rapid and long-term measures here. As a result, a total of 228 hand pump wells and spring catchments were built. The Woglo spring catchment here in the picture, which was built in 2008, has since supplied more than 100 households, or around 800 people, with clean drinking water.

In addition, five water reservoirs were built, as well as five irrigation systems that enable families to grow vegetables and fruit.
Frauen einer Kreditgruppe in Äthiopien stehen und sitzen

Women power through microcredits

Microcredits give women the opportunity to earn their own income, often for the first time. This makes them more independent and gives them a greater say, and not just in their own families. Credit groups are becoming key decision-makers in communities.

Menschen für Menschen's microcredit program is designed to allow groups to operate independently and decide whether to accept new members. It is quite possible for a credit group like the one in Tuti Town (pictured) to grow from an original 32 members to 753 members in about 16 years.
Neue Schule von Menschen für Menschen in Äthiopien

Building schools to improve educational opportunities

In October 2011, the last school was officially inaugurated in Derra. Construction of the Wore Anko School was made possible by the commitment of Peter Krasser and his fellow campaigners from “School Ethiopia” and provides a clean, bright space for the students in two classroom blocks.

The celebration also included musical accompaniment. The band Opus, which has supported school construction in Ethiopia for many years and also helped to finance the Wore Anko School, performed their world hit “Live is Life” in Derra.

You can watch a video of “Live is Life” in Ethiopia on our YouTube channel.
Olivia Rauscher sitzt mit Gruppe in Äthiopien bei Nachhaltigkeitsstudie

Sustainability study

In June 2016, more than five years after the project work was completed, the long-term impact of the initiatives in Derra was audited by the independent consulting organization FAKT in conjunction with the NPO & SE Competence Center of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.

The audit shows that Menschen für Menschen initiatives have helped to spur positive and lasting developments that continue to exist and evolve five years after their completion.