We often hear from farmers who, upon learning there is water underground they can access in times of drought, feel like they have discovered a gold mine right under their feet. All it takes is to build a well.It is not unlike the experience of women living in poverty who discover the wealth and potential they hold within themselves.
Ethiopia, once a place for the world's pity, is now transforming itself to an investment hub. That is a good thing. There are many foreign investors venturing in to the country looking for investment opportunities, complementing the diaspora and the locals that are taking advantage of a better investment environment in the country.
Here in Canada, most of us don't really think about water. Easy access to clean drinking water is part of our daily expectations. But in many parts of Kenya, where I recently visited to see some of Plan International Canada's programs, it's impossible not to think about water -- or rather, the severe lack of it.
There is a notion that the Ethiopian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and that is a good thing. But it would be far better if that fast-growing economy benefited more Ethiopians and helped create a better social safety net for its most vulnerable.
As an emergency physician in Toronto, Canada's largest city, I am privileged to have access to the latest research evidence, medical tools and technology. I also have access to a network of professional colleagues who I can call on for advice and assistance. Imagine how challenging it must be in low-income countries where healthcare resources are scarce and trained health professionals are in short supply.
The difference I have with foreign aid is the very limited role it plays in the long term commitment to helping society become self-sufficient and independent. At best, foreign aid has created dependency, produced corruption, intensified war and made unhealthy heroes of celebrities. Trade is the better option for Ethiopia.
My mother-in-law Sharyn Mandel was a fierce and fiery force in this world. A passionate educator, her life's purpose was teaching. She had a particular interest in developing the minds of young girls, and fostering their independent spirits. Upon her passing, we discovered that she intended for us to make her often-talked-about dream of founding a school in a developing country a reality.
The regular three-hour-a-day training of their professional lives is on hold along with so much else as they wait to hear if Canada will accept them. "Life is day-to-day," says Dawit. "I have lost my country, my friends, my family." But he has found a new family at Matthew House and a new country in Canada and it already feels good.
For the past three decades, Dr. Adhanom, led many institutions that have benefited from his wisdom, unique leadership and they each have shown a real, remarkable impact on the ground. As health minister, for instance, he was a celebrated advocate for accessible health care for all.