Now More Than Ever

Safe and Sound

With COVID-19 pulling more families deeper into poverty, it’s more important than ever that you keep Alemnesh and her children S.A.F.E. and Sound – seeing for years to come.


Two years into Operation: S.A.F.E. and Sound and, together with you, we’re making great headway in two pilot communities — proving that livelihood support added to the S.A.F.E. trachoma-fighting strategy gives families and communities the ability to keep their children healthy and seeing.

More families have access to clean water. More caregivers are growing stronger and more diversified crops. The poorest families have chickens and sheep to raise, training in husbandry, financial literacy and a better understanding of how to prevent trachoma through effective hygiene.

This is how we’ll beat trachoma in the long run.

Now, with COVID-19 interrupting global supply chains, closing down marketplaces and transportation systems and taking primary breadwinners out of the workforce, millions more families are being pushed into desperate poverty.

We need to re-double our efforts to keep families S.A.F.E. and Sound – so we don’t lose ground – and more importantly, so we don’t lose children.

How Trachoma blinds

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world today. It is an eye infection that blinds slowly, painfully, over years of re-infection.

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The S.A.F.E. Strategy

Endorsed by the World Health Organization and employed by our partners on the ground in Ethiopia, the S.A.F.E. Strategy is vital if we want to stop trachoma from blinding eyes today.

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And yet, trachoma is ultimately caused by poverty. And COVID-19 is making it worse.

Poverty is why communities lack clean water, why they can’t afford to build latrines, why they can’t afford medical care to combat the immediate blinding threat of trachoma.

If we’re going to beat trachoma in the long run – for generations of children to come – we need to give families and communities long-term income generating solutions.

Livelihood training, better agricultural skills and inputs, access to crop irrigation – empowers families to maintain water pumps, access medical and rehabilitative care for their children and keep their children well-nourished and strong.

How COVID-19 affects the poorest families

  • Across Ethiopia, food prices have almost doubled, making it harder than ever for moms and dads to feed their families. Families are facing the decision of purchasing food or medicine for their children – they can’t afford both.
  • Casual labour has stopped in many parts of Ethiopia, decreasing families’ incomes.
  • Food isn’t reaching rural communities because of travel restrictions to fight COVID-19.
  • The food that does reach rural areas costs more because of the risk of travel, so families often aren’t able to afford it.

How COVID-19 is affecting Operation: S.A.F.E. and Sound

  • Our community outreach workers are having to deliver health and livelihood services and training door-to-door, rather than in community groups.
  • Our VESA groups (Village Economic and Social Associations) have had to discontinue their meetings.
  • Our school-based student hygiene training, through Eye Health School Clubs, has had to be temporarily discontinued.

Together with you, we’re making headway despite the challenges

The need is great, the challenges are real, but we’re making progress. Thanks to your support, families have access to clean water, livelihood training, Village Economic and Social Associations and a better future.

Thanks to YOUR generosity and care, here’s what you’ve accomplished in the first two years of Operation: S.A.F.E. and Sound:

  • 91,392 people educated in proper hygiene methods
  • 6,200 farmers received crop inputs
  • 533 farmers practiced livestock management methods
  • 6,200 farmers accessed input credit services
  • 533 women and youth with disabilities practiced entrepreneurship and received loans for livelihood diversification
  • 50 teachers trained and practicing disability inclusive education
  • 31 wells created in rural communities
  • 310 VESAs established

By the end of Operation: S.A.F.E. and Sound 6,200 poor households will have experienced a stabilizing lift in their income

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Each photo represents a family and a community – people blessed by your generosity.
Thank you for showing the love of God and for joining in the fight to lift these families out of poverty.

The Solution Up Close

Alemnesh and kids

Over the past few months, since we met Alemnesh, she’s received 25 egg-laying chickens, as well as training in husbandry, gender empowerment, nutrition, income savings, hygiene and sanitation. She’s also received eye surgery for her advanced trachoma. Alemnesh and her children still struggle to put enough food on the table. But the chickens have provided a foothold. Alemnesh has started growing maize, and she plans to purchase a sheep as soon as markets re-open.