Bridges to Prosperity, Helvetas, and the Government of Ethiopia Partner with Helmsley Charitable Trust to Construct Safe Transport Access for More than 1 Million Rural Ethiopians

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.

Contact Information:

Bridges to Prosperity
Alissa Davis
+1 303.478.0703
LinkedIn: bridges-to-prosperity
Instagram: bridgestoprosperity
Facebook: BridgestoProsperity
Twitter: b2p

Becky Neely
+1 615.512.2344
LinkedIn: Helvetas
Twitter: Helvetas

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
Carey Meyers
Twitter: HelmsleyTrust

About Bridges to Prosperity
B2P envisions a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists. Rural isolation is a root cause of poverty, and B2P believe that connection is the foundation to opportunity. The organization works with local communities, country governments, and global partners to construct trailbridges that connect rural residents to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity. With a sophisticated data collection, assessment, and evaluation program, B2P is able to prove that the value and impact of its work is sustained long after a bridge’s opening celebration.

About Helvetas
Helvetas is an international network of independent affiliate members working in the field of development cooperation and emergency response. As a network, we promote the fundamental rights of individuals and groups and strengthen governments and other duty bearers in their service provision. Helvetas’ work builds upon six decades of development experience and brings together more than 1,500 staff working in 29 countries – including in Ethiopia, where the organization launched a trailbridge-building program in 2002. To learn more about Helvetas, visit

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. For more information on Helmsley and its programs, visit