The GreenTeam back in Ethiopia


We wished our two GreenLamp board representatives Christina Blecher and Henriette Becker Bon Voyage as they set off for their February trip to Ethiopia. Joining them was GreenLamp Members Cecilia Öhman, Inger Wulf and photographer Sara Nilsson, all of whom generously donated their time and skills. They met our GreenLamp sponsored midwife students whom we support through their four year Bachelor of Science in Midwifery. Also on their agenda was a follow-up of our Light for Life Solar Suitcase project when they visited some of the health centres where GreenLamp funded Solar Suitcases have been installed – some for almost two years now. See below for some trip highlights!

For the first three days of their trip to Ethiopia, Christina and Cecilia lead an Interpersonal Skills Workshop in Nonviolent Communication with the final year students at the Hamlin College of Midwives. These are very important skills for the midwife students to take with them once they graduate and start their professional work at a rural Health Centre - empowering the midwives to act as role models for girls and women in an empathetic and caring way. The workshop was a huge success!  Not only the midwife students were thrilled and enthusiastic, so was the teaching team at the Hamlin College of Midwives. Everyone would like to repeat the course next year with the next batch of final year students  - well done Christina and Cecilia!

The GreenLamp team met patients at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. These women have either undergone, or are waiting for, a fistula surgery that will change their lives back to what it was before a delivery that made them outcasts in their community. They are given a new chance at living a life in dignity. While here, the GreenLamp team attended surgeries, learnt from and assisted the rehab department, and were generally inspired by these courageous women.

The doctors at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital are among the most experienced in the world in performing more complicated fistula surgery.  The hospital acts as a ‘centre of excellence’ for Ethiopia and surrounding African nations, as doctors from these areas come to learn from their expertise.  As a nurse herself, Henriette was impressed with their professionalism and high quality of care for the patients during her time there attending surgeries.

GreenLamp met the project team at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia for the latest update and impact on the Solar Suitcase project. They then travelled southwest by car 400 km to the SNNPR region to visit health centres that have had Solar Suitcases installed for at least a year - to see first hand the positive impact that the gift of light at night can bring.

Our external Monitoring and Evaluation expert, Dr Adamu Adissie, assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University, met with Henriette and Christina. He evaluates the impact of the Solar Suitcase Light for Life Project and gives advice on how GreenLamp can achieve a greater impact. He, together with the Hamlin project coordinator Abebayehu Habteselassie, collect, summarise and evaluate the data from 145 Solar Suitcases installed in health centres in 5 rural Ethiopian regions.

Henriette and Christina visited a health centre in Teticha, where the GreenLamp sponsored midwife Belen is now working. Belen graduated in September 2015. Her enthusiasm and professionalism is truly admirable: she keeps the maternity ward in immaculate condition, treats the patients with empathy and kindness, and uses her skills to make a difference for the many women in her catchment area. She is using the GreenLamp-funded Solar Suitcase - the medical quality lights when assisting deliveries at night and the fetal doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat during deliveries and all pre-natal check-ups - and emphasised its importance for her work.