Sustainable Rural Development Projects

We have a strong focus on sustainable rural development solutions, as opposed to just making donations. Our philosophy is to help the poor help themselves, not provide them with handouts. Our projects are designed to ensure recipients contribute in some form, generally through their labour, so they participate in their own success.

Our first priorities are water and food security. These problems need to be addressed before people can start focusing on education, healthcare, and income security for themselves and their children. We strongly support irrigation-based development projects to improve food security and allow communities to become independent. Once they’re independent, the focus can turn to more long-term development projects.

The results of sustainable development efforts are profound. As Gebreyes Haile (one of our partners) observed, “You return a few years later and it’s like night and day. You witness children playing happily in the water. It’s like an oasis; there’s a sparkle in their eye.”

You see the results of their efforts—green fields of bananas, papayas, and coffee. You also see proud men and women who have become self-sufficient and can hold their heads high. They have reclaimed their dignity and human spirit.

Cost-Effective Investments in Rural Community Development

Over the years, Rainbow for the Future and our partners have raised about $10 million and helped about a million people in Ethiopia by developing rural communities. At roughly $10 per person, our work has proven to be a wonderful investment that has made an amazing difference to the lives of so many. Together with the Westlock Growing Project, the Canadian Foodgrains Banks and others, we have participated in roughly 60 projects over the past 20 years to address various sustainability issues. Examples include:

  • Accessible water supply, sparing women and young girls from walking five kilometres to fill a 60-pound container with contaminated water
  • New high schools and a vocational school, enabling children to have a bright future, and preventing them from being killed for their organs when leaving their areas in pursuit of education or work
  • Grinding mills and grain stores to provide both food and income security
  • Accessible healthcare and medical facilities so people don’t have to make a dangerous and difficult full-day’s walk to get help
  • Economic empowerment programs for women, including the establishment of women’s cooperatives and microloan programs

Our Partners

We only partner with organizations that we know intimately and trust completely. It’s our mandate to ensure that projects are successful and that the majority of the funds we are entrusted with make it to those in need rather than going to administration and fundraising costs.

We strongly support irrigation-based development projects to improve food security and allow communities to become independent.

In most cases, our projects are eligible for matching grants from the Canadian and Alberta governments, and Rotary International. We are therefore able to provide those in need with five times the amount we raise.

Current Projects  

  • Abonsi Irrigation Development: January 2013 – December 2015 
  • Amuli II Irrigation Development: January 2014 – 2016
  • Demale Irrigation Development: January 2016 – December 2018
  • Seka High School Construction: May 2014 – June 2016
  • Endalgeda Secondary School: August 2015 – July 2017
  • Seka TVET Expansion: June 2015 – December 2016

Projects We Have Partnered On


  • Underground cisterns to capture and store rainwater
  • Purchase of solar pump for community water project in central Ethiopia
  • Water system for Didimtu with the source outside the high fluoride area to bring water to the Didimtu community
  • Expansion of Didimtu water system to Bati Kelo, Bati Boro
  • Seke water system: new lines, source, storage, and distribution to 42 water points in Seke Town
  • Installation of solar-powered pumping system for the Seke Town water system
  • 20 hand-dug wells in Butajera area to bring low-fluoride water to assist in a health and sanitation initiative
You also see proud men and women who have become self-sufficient and can hold their heads high.


  • Didimtu Health Post, construction and supply
  • Sentema Health post resupply
  • Redda X-ray facility renovation
  • Purchase and installation of new X-ray machine for Butajera Clinic
  • Renovations of wards and upgrades to allow for Butajera Clinic upgrade to hospital status
  • 20 hand-dug wells to provide water for health and sanitation in rural areas of Butajera
  • Facilitation and medical support for heart surgery, Raddi Mussa


  • Construction and support of the Dhebiti Girls’ Hostel
  • Renovation of Dandi Gudina School, Dhebiti
  • Construction and furnishing of dining hall at Dandi Gudina High School, Metahara
  • Construction, furnishing, and supplies for Didimtu Kindergarten, elementary school, and teachers’ residence, Didimtu
  • Construction, furnishing, and supply of Amero Kele Elementary School, Amero Kele
  • Construction, furnishing, and supplies for Didimtu #1 Elementary School, Didimtu Kebele
  • Education support for Worke Aldago
  • Support and teachers’ salaries for Mahu Difu Orphanage, Semera

Income Generation/Women’s Empowerment

  • Aura irrigation project women’s empowerment: training to enhance the participation of women in the development projects in the Aura and Alelesebula irrigation projects and HIV/AIDS education
  • Purchase of cattle for fattening project
  • Provision of veterinary supplies to Karayu pastoralist communities
  • Construction and supply of grinding mill and grain store in 3 Karayu villages
  • Construction and supply of grinding mill and grain store in Didimtu
  • Construction of small goods stores in Fantelle
  • Construction of small goods stores in Didimtu, Bati Kelo, and Bati Boro
  • Sheep fattening project in Bari Boro: 50 women given 2 sheep each and training
  • Construction of community meeting halls: Fantelle, Didimtu, Seke

Future Projects

Rainbow for the Future has set ambitious goals for the next two to three years. Our partners are doing amazing work right now and we want to support them as much as possible.

Through the Westlock Growing Project, we continue to oversee a new water-diversion project every year. We strongly believe in these projects. If they’re replicated enough times throughout Ethiopia, the country could become the breadbasket of the Horn of Africa.

Through Westlock Rotary and Rainbow for the Future, we plan to expand the Seka TVET School’s capacity from 300 to 600 students per year. The school has been one of our best investments.  

We are in the planning stages of developing, in partnership with SSD, a new high school in the remote and neglected Tigray region.  

We are also supporting a program in Wonji that has the goal of uplifting and supporting HIV-positive women and orphans. A café and centre will be constructed where their products can be displayed and marketed. The Wonji School will be rehabilitated, and orphans will receive school fees, uniforms, and supplies so they can receive the education they so richly deserve.

We continue to support water-well development schemes that relieve the extreme burden of poor women having to haul water every day. These schemes also go a long way toward alleviating disease and eye problems.

In addition, we are going to build a new school in the Dode area, a very impoverished suburb of Addis Ababa, hopefully opening in 2017. Water-well development is also planned for the same area.

Overview of development projects carried out by Ethiopian NGOs with funding from donations to Rainbow for the Future, Westlock, Alberta Canada.

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