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Project information

Transforming Lives in Remote Regions of Ethiopia

Our project will provide vital life-changing surgery, nutritional support and speech and language therapy for some of the most marginalised children in Ethiopia with cleft lip and palate - so that they can live a healthy life free from stigma and isolation.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Project Harar

Project Harar logo
  • Need


    Children with cleft lip and palate suffer from malnutrition, speech and hearing problems, stigma and discrimination. They are bullied due to their appearance and most do not go to school or make friends.

    In addition, our beneficiaries are located in extremely isolated areas of Ethiopia with little or no access to healthcare, surgery or support.

    Without Project Harar their lives would be bleak and they would live in isolation with compromised physical and mental wellbeing.


    We identify and mobilise patients providing them with access to surgery from some of the most remote regions.

    We provide advice on diet and feeding to mothers with cleft babies to support their children as they grow, preventing long-term malnutrition.

    We provide patients with speech and language therapy enabling them to communicate properly - some for the first time.

    We train health workers to change the negative community perceptions of cleft and to help children reintegrate socially.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide children with cleft lip and palate, access to high quality surgery.


    » Identify and transport cleft patients to the nearest hospital for surgery.
    » Work with the hospital to ensure patients are fit for surgery.
    » Ensure the recovery of all patients and transport them safely back to their communities.
    » Offer speech and language therapy where appropriate.

    What success will look like

    1,000 patients will have safely received life-changing surgery and be returned back to their communities improving their life expectancy and well-being.

    Aim 2

    To provide patients with nutritional support before and after surgery.


    » Ensure that all patients are screened for malnutrition prior to surgery.
    » Refer malnourished or ill children to appropriate support such as feeding programmes.
    » Provide mothers with advice on feeding techniques while their child recovers and information on diet to maintain their child's long-term health.

    What success will look like

    1,000 children will have improved nutritional status and their mothers will have received nutritional education to support their child's long-term health prospects.

    Aim 3

    To provide patients with social support to re-integrate into their communities.


    » Social workers trained by Project Harar will consult with mothers dispelling the myths associated with cleft.
    » Social workers will provide advice to mothers on how to reintegrate their child back into their community and the importance of going to school.

    What success will look like

    Mothers will be educated on the causes of cleft. They will feel confident about returning to their communities knowing that their child will now be treated equally.

    Aim 4

    To provide training for local health and social workers so that the project is sustainable.


    » Provide training for local health workers so that they know how to identify and refer patients with cleft.
    » Health workers inform families with cleft children about the available treatment options and the difference it will make to their child's life.

    What success will look like

    Our qualified and experienced staff will have trained 100 health workers on how to identify and refer cleft patients so that they can share this knowledge with local communities.

  • Impact


    Cleft treatment will enable children to access equal opportunities through education and become productive members of their society as they grow up.

    Communities will benefit from a decrease in stigma as they learn more about cleft, leading to enhanced social cohesion.

    As we train more health workers we will be able to reach the 1,000s of children who still need surgery for their cleft.

    We will demonstrate this with impact assessments, case studies and an evaluation of our project.


    Project Harar conducts a risk review every quarter to ensure the safety of our team and patients. Risks include:

    *Security situation worsens or civil unrest in areas of Ethiopia where we work → we will stay clear of areas of unrest and take advice from the FCO, local government and partners
    *Drought, flood or difficult weather → we ensure that our patients and staff are safe
    *Outbreaks of disease placing strain on the health care system → we may have to delay surgery until the outbreak ends


    We will provide regular updates on our progress on social media and our website, using case studies, data analysis and impact statements.

    Donors will receive an end of project report on how their money has been spent and the impact of their donation.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £140,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £52,502 Outreach Activities Staff costs to deliver training, patient identification and referral, family support and follow up
      £43,820 Transport Transport to and from treatment for patients and guardians
      £25,842 Patient Care Food for patients and guardians prior to, during and after treatments
      £1,123 Medications Medications for patients post surgery
      £16,713 Health Worker Training Provide health worker training

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Comic Relief £36,146 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project is located in the Oromia, Southern Nations and Afar regions of Ethiopia with a total population of 56 million.

    Transport links are basic and most people are poor subsistence farmers. For example, in Oromia, 19.9% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile and in Afar 36.1% live below the national poverty line.

    Health services are scarce - there are only 0.32 surgeons per 100,000 people and 38% of children are stunted across all three regions.


    Patients benefit from improved health, nutritional status and well being - after surgery 78% go to school, without surgery this is 28%.

    Families and mothers benefit from greater knowledge of cleft conditions and their causes, and are better able to withstand the stigma attached to such conditions. Local communities benefit from increased social cohesion.

    Health workers benefit from the training we provide and are able to transfer the learning to their peers and local communities.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Project Harar has been working with facially disfigured people in Ethiopia for 17 years. We have significant expertise in all aspects of cleft lip and palate treatment.

    We have also established strong relationships with our delivery partners - national and regional government, local surgeons, hospitals and partner NGOs.

    We are the only organisation providing outreach services for people with cleft in Ethiopia. Our network has enabled us to reach the most remote areas of the country.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Aynalem Tefera

    Executive Director of Ethiopian delivery partner charity. Manages Ethiopian team and all logistics and partner hospital relationships.

    Ahmedhaji Sadik

    Outreach worker: Identification, recruitment and care of patients in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Training of health workers.

    Abreham Akafu Ufe

    Outreach worker: Identification, recruitment and care of patients in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Training of health workers.

    Geleta Amenu Deressa

    Identification, recruitment and care of patients in the Southern Nations region of Ethiopia. Monitoring and evaluation.

‘When we learned that Project Harar could give her the operation we were so happy...I’m so happy with how she looks after her operation – it’s like a miracle.'

Mother of one of our cleft patients, Felhano aged 2.