Micro credit program
If people with podoconiosis are not treated in time, the swelling of the feet and the stinking wounds can cause them to become the pariahs of their community. Walking becomes difficult and economically these people are then more and more independent on others with no prospects for the future. With a micro credit program we can encourage them to stay or become economically independent. We offer a loan for 3 pregnant sheep or goats as the beginning of a herd. Within 3 year the loan has to be repaid. Depending on the decision of the mediator every participant receives once a pair of shoes, soap and a basin or a small amount of money for direct support.

Each mission clinic has a mediator who is responsible for the selection of the participants of the program, the yearly evaluation report and the financial administration. Once a year the program will be evaluated by a member of the Foundation. It is necessary to live in a house (mostly a small hut) with a shelter for the animals to become a participant of the program. The shelter is necessary to protect the animals at night against wild animals like hyena’s. The poorest podoconiosis patients are homeless. In consultation with the mediators of the mission clinics we try to give these people support by the OPA program and in exceptional circumstances build them a small house. The cost of a small house is about 400 euro.

a hen costs about 3 euro the price of a pregnant goat or sheep is about 30 euro

The success of the program has created a waiting list of new participants. At this moment (2010) the repayment is 80%.

In Holland and the western world every household has almost unlimited access to clean drinking water. In the rural area’s of Ethiopia, like the province of Wollega water is scarce. Women and children walk, mostly barefoot, far distances for water. In plastic containers or in traditional jars they carry the water home for their families. Te prevent podoconiosis and to cure the wounds caused by the infections, proper cleaning of feet and shoes is necessary. Because the little bit of water in the house is necessary for cooking and drinking, cleaning of feet and shoes has no priority. A better water supply can prevent a lot of podoconiosis.

water is scarce, there is a great need for more water sources

Every year at least one of the board members of Foundation Wollega-Ethiopia visits the mission clinics to evaluate the podoconiosis project. In collaboration with other organizations like: the Podoconiosis Centre in Wollayta (south-Ethiopia); international podoconiosis researcher Gail Davey; Tom Shoe factory; the OPA project; Foundation Strumeth; the School project Ethiopia; and private individuals who make it possible to build water projects and podoconiosis treatment rooms, we hope to give the podoconiosis patients a better future. It seems so easy to prevent podoconiosis and give people a better life. Foundation Wollega-Ethiopie is going step by step. Every year more patients can participate in the micro credit program. Every year more patients are in the podoconiosis program of the clinics. Every year more remote villages get podoconiosis education. And most important, every year more children and their parents wear shoes. This is still the best way to prevent podoconiosis.