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I believe that the tools to poverty reduction lie in the hands of those afflicted by poverty. Too often policy makers are delivering top-down solutions without engaging local community leaders in conversation. I want to change this and turn the international development discourse to heed attention to the community members themselves, returning their agency in the fight to reduce poverty.

Common River

I am proud to have found partners that share this belief with me. I have joined the Mama Hope Global Advocates Program and am dedicating the next nine months to drive efforts in designing and implementing a small-business entrepreneurship program for Common River, a community-level organization in the coffee growing Sidama region of Ethiopia. Common River’s goal is to empower the local community to become self-reliant through programs that build on local strengths and cultural pride. Since 2007, Common River has facilitated health and education interventions, including a school for 150 children grades K-4, in the growing town of Aleta Wondo. Today they serve 4,000 coffee farming families.

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