Ethiopia School on the Hudad

My name is Jennifer Mundee and I am a landscape architect in Seattle WA.  In April 2017, I went on my first trip to Ethiopia with my neighbor Bob Martin to participate in a school construction project with Friends of the Hudad, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 by a group of Australians with personal ties to the country.  It was an amazing experience and I am excited to return in October for another 3 week trip. 

Construction Activity  April 2017

In the spring, our team of Australian, English and American volunteers along with dozens of local residents were able to get the stone walls on the classroom building about half complete and made great progress on the water system cistern connections.  In October, we will return with the intention of completing the classroom building and getting the solar panels and water pump installed to have a functional water delivery system to the school site. 

Hudad Plateau - School Site

Team Window! Jennifer Mundee, Suzanne Findley, Kathryn Tooker, and Chris Mills are the crew from Seattle responsible for building eight operable windows and the door. We are all paying our own travel costs.
We are hoping to raise $3000 to cover the costs of the wood, hardware, lexan and also Hudad resident labor and mule transport costs.

Sustainable Construction:
The project intends to use this opportunity to train the local residents in sustainable construction techniques that utilize the local materials and resources to the maximum extent possible. The school walls are being constructed from local stone quarried out the ground right next to the school.  The roof trusses will be fabricated from eucalyptus trees growing nearby. But the windows are a bit more tricky.  Since there is no electricity, maximizing the windows is a priority. Finished lumber is not available except in the largest cities and glass doesn’t handle the windy conditions and extreme climate up on the plateau.  We are also under quite a time constraint with only 15 days onsite and the goal to complete the entire building in this time! So we have decided to build the windows in Seattle as a kit of parts that can be assembled quickly on site.  These windows can be used as a template for the other classrooms and teacher’s residence in future phases. 

Friends of the Hudad was begun in 2014 by a group of Australians with personal ties to Ethiopia and they have established NGO status and are working with the Ethiopian government to meet their Education Department requirements.  Most importantly, the group has been working closely with the Hudad community members on all decisions related to the school and water system.  
Bob Martin discovered this project while traveling in Ethiopia two years ago and decided to lend his brick mason skills to the effort.  His enthusiasm is contageous and so the team from Seattle has grown.

Temporary School for 45 local students aged 5-14.

FOTH Guiding philosophy:” to achieve real and lasting sustainability requires an approach which integrates physical, cultural, biological, and economic sustainability.”
(information taken from Friends of the Hudad website )

The Hudad Primary School & Community Center
A number of isolated rural communities live in the mountains surrounding Lalibela, and are unable to access education. The nearest school is a six hour return journey on foot down a small track inaccessible by vehicles. The project will construct a building to provide education and training, and also a central meeting place for the whole community. The school will also provide education to adults so that they acquire some basic literacy and numeracy and also learn skills to farm sustainably and preserve the natural environment. Surrounding the school will be a garden, an agroforestry site, and a revegetation site, providing an example to the community for training and inspiration.  With access to education, sustainable technologies and sustainable farming practices the community will be empowered to manage their landscape to sustain themselves and future generations. It will also increase their employment opportunities, organizational capacity and cultural integrity.


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jennifer mundee 
Seattle, WA
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