Bridges to Prosperity Project
Communities: Addis Ababa
Location: Addis Ababa
Population: 14,000 people
Expected Traffic: 1,000 people per day
Footbridge Type: Suspended
Span: 50m (164.0ft)
Sponsors: Rotary Foundation, Rotary Club of Gloucester, Virginia
A mere 15 minutes from Addis Ababa city, Kolfe Kerranio lies separated by the vast modern ring road the Chinese helped constructed. A river meanders through the hills, dissecting this suburban population.
The site of this footbridge had been ominously marked by a small sign staked into the ground asking those passing by for funds, nails, and wood, anything that could be used in the construction of a new bridge. During the rainy season the river flows swiftly into small falls and curves away out of view. During these three months or more, the people of Kolfe Kerranio, had no access to the Betal hospital lying just across the river. Their only alternative when the river was impassable was to walk to the other side. Now, with a bridge, the walk to the other side only takes 20 minutes.
A school sits perched on the short hill on the Kerranio Church side of the river. Dozens of children from the Betal Hospital side of the river had been denied an education during the rainy season. Equally tragic were those that could not reach the hospital during the wet season.
At Kerranio Square lies the main market plying such items as vegetables, meat, and grains. This market was inaccessible for the farmers on the Betal Church side for three months of the year. The Betal farmers during high water were forced to make the long walk to Addis Ababa, and thereby received less for their goods due to the extra cost for transport, and the added competition that exists in the capital city.
This location was Bridges to Prosperity’s first bridge of the Ethiopia Footbridge Program.The people of Kolfe Kerranio, within one week, gathered together the funds to pay for sand, gravel and rock for the bridge foundations.