Individual child sponsorship
About 140 kids are sponsored through this project, although numbers fluctuate as some age out or leave Bonga and new children at risk of malnutrition and illiteracy are identified as needing support. A portion of the child sponsorship goes directly to the child/family toward improving food security and educational support, with the remaining portion being used for community needs and development.
The numbers of children dropping out from school has changed in a positive way from when the sponsorship program started and compared to the overall average in Ethiopia. Most sponsored children are now completing primary school and a growing number are completing grade 10, which is a significant and positive shift from 17 years ago when the program started. The number of young people going on to university, college or vocational education has steadily increased. However, 2020 was a difficult year with COVID-19 causing all schools, universities and many businesses to shut down from March until slowly opening from late October. This disruption impacted the ability to get updates and photos on sponsored children, and led to a number dropping out of school. We are still working through some of these challenges with recognition that COVID-19 has impacted on already vulnerable families and so immediately stopping sponsorship of those who have dropped out of school is not always appropriate.
Lack of housing, or lack of adequate housing, is a significant need for many of the poorest families, and so funding housing alongside other WFA programs in Bonga provides a holistic response to community needs. Other WFA programs supporting the Bonga community include the ‘Support for Sight Impaired Project’ (SISP); Prosthetic clinics (under the Medical Outreach Projects (MOP)), Bonga Women's Development Program (BWDP), support to the government Barta Bonga School, and support of the Bonga Feeding Centre (BFC & BFCK).