While refugees come to Ethiopia with their own heartbreaking stories of malnutrition and violence from Al-Shabaab controlled Somalia, the surrounding host communities of southern Ethiopia are in the midst of a crippling drought. The region has barely received any rains in two years.
I was surprised at how many people went out of their way to emphasize to me the importance of TPRF’s grant to IRD. I appreciated it, of course, but I protested that our grant of $25,000 was such a small part of their budget, which is in the hundreds of millions. My new friends explained that foundations like TPRF provide critical seed money—early, quickly, and flexibly—to jump-start huge projects. Larger sources of funding involve more bureaucracy, take longer, and are less flexible. When major sources of funding see that foundations like ours have taken action, it prompts these donors to follow suit.