A $10 million USD, three-year grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will leverage Bridges to Prosperity’s (B2P) leading-edge assessment and evaluation programs, Helvetas’ track record of excellence in locally driven trailbridge construction, and the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE) rural infrastructure commitment to advance the enabling environment for rural connectivity nationwide.
Photo Credit: Helvetas Ethiopia
Nearly 80% of Ethiopia’s population resides in the rural countryside, where rugged and varied terrain makes travel difficult and dangerous. Long treks on foot, bicycle, or motorbike often require traversing large gorges or rivers, and B2P estimates that thousands of trailbridges and millions of kilometers of trail improvements are needed country-wide to connect rural communities to schools, health clinics and hospitals, markets, jobs, and other critical services.
Over the next three years, B2P and Helvetas, in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia, will enlarge the construction ecosystem in Ethiopia by building 150 trailbridges and 375 kilometers of feeder trails, expanding regional road authorities’ capacity to design and manage a portfolio of rural transport infrastructure, identifying a supply chain for talent and materials that can meet national demand, evaluating the impact and return of rural infrastructure in Ethiopia, and disseminating those learnings to mobilize a global community of stakeholders.
The joint project will address rural connectivity at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels.
A study by economists from the University of Notre Dame and Yale University found that households in communities that received a trailbridge realized a 30% increase in household income, a 75% increase in farmer profitability, and a 59% increase in women entering the labor market. Studies also show that connecting isolated rural communities can transform rural economies, national GDPs, and global supply chains. On average, a trailbridge pays for itself in the first year, but continues to serve a community for decades.