Ethiopia: GERD's Platforms Facilitate Construction, Unity

Before seven years Ethiopians decided to build their own renaissance dam and named it Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that would produce over 650 megawatt hydroelectric power. The designers, all the needed engineers, fund raisers and constructors are all the people of the nation. As a result, it is being constructed by the public participation all in all.

To coordinate this, the Office of National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was organized. This office uses various platforms such as bond week, Tombola lottery, Torch, trophy, sports and fine arts in order to eliciting people participate actively on GERD and so far over 10 billion birr has been collected.

The Office's Public Relation and Media's Communication Directorate Director, Hailu Abraham told that the Office has been using the above platforms to evoke the public participations on the construction of the GERD since December 2017. He told the following achievements of the Office those have become true due to the platforms.

The platform bond week held from March 10 to March 17 raised over 50 million Ethiopian Birr within seven days throughout the country. From this, 36 million is only from the capital Addis Ababa. It has created participation opportunity for the public at large.

The nations' great leader Meles Zenawi was granted GERD trophy in 2013 for his great contributions in all aspects of the GERD. The trophy primarily staid at Benishangul Gumuz for 6 months and later circulated the other regions. Its evolvements have created solidarity and intimacy amidst the people of the country.

It has assisted the office to raise over 2.824 billion Ethiopian Birr from only six States: Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, Tigray, Amara, Oromia and South Ethiopia Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' State. Currently, GERD trophy is in Somali State and has raised over 1.6 million Ethiopian Birr to this end.

The other platform is GERD torch was commenced on February 2017 during celebration of Adwa victory, the torch blasted at Addis Ababa and later transferred in to Harer, Gambela, Benshangul Gumuz, and Amhara States. Then it was taken to Tigray State. It mobilized and entertained many people. Solely in Gambella State, it helped to raise over 20 million Ethiopian Birr within a month.

The diaspora branch is the other financial contributor of the GERD. Since the founding of the corner stone of GERD construction, Ethiopians living abroad are contributing financially beyond the political, moral and diplomatic support they are giving.

They are participating through various ways such as buying bond, offering gift and their knowledge and skills. To this end, they have contributed over 1.3 billion Ethiopian Birr through bond purchase and gift. And the diaspora resident in Middle East granted two automobiles for the Office to facilitate its activities.

From this, Ethiopians living in Middle East take the lion share. Amidst these countries, women who live in Lebanon are exemplary one in their contribution. Ethiopians living in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oshinia are also playing their roles.

By the same token, lottery platform is also contributing a lot in financing the construction of the GERD. Online mobile lottery on 8100A has helped the collection of 130 million Ethiopian Birr within two rounds. And the last year's tombola lottery has enabled the collection of 60 million Ethiopian Birr.

Sport platform is also playing a key role in funding the great renaissance project. Running for GERD that was held in 2017 has helped to raise 877.5 million Ethiopian Birr.

The office is also implementing other platforms. Reading exhibition with a theme of "Reading for the Prosperity of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam" is the one during which writers, book sellers, students and scholars attend followed by discussion on a book in titled "Abay River Controversy".

Annual journey is the other that has been held with a theme of "Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a Source of Peace" from Tewodros Square to Meskel Square on which around 6000 people were part takers. Sport competitions, photo exhibitions, fine art program, ambassador of GERD and musical concerts are also used to motivate citizens to reaffirm their commitments in GERD construction.

These platforms are strengthening unity in diversity through enhancing good relationship among the citizens and other development collaborators. It is restoring the patriotism against foreign enemies to use it on eradicating poverty by the internal economic capacity.

Therefore, Hailu says, this historical project is enabling the nation to create mutual consensus, solidarity and sense of patriotism on the citizens regardless of differences in political views, nation nationality and religion in addition to funding the construction.

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