Helping a People’s Organization Build for a Sustainable Future

Activity area:

Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa region in the eastern part of the continent, eliminated leprosy as a public health problem in 2000, bringing prevalence below 1 case per 10,000 population. But it continues to report 3,000 to 4,000 new cases annually, and with stigma and prejudice remaining deep-rooted, ongoing medical and social initiatives against the disease are essential.

Playing a central role in addressing the country’s leprosy issues is the Ethiopian National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (ENAPAL). ENAPAL has more than 20,000 members nationwide and cooperates with different partners on themes such as health awareness, stigma reduction, disability prevention, and socio-economic rehabilitation. Sasakawa Health Foundation has supported ENAPAL since 2001.

A New HQ: The Key to Self-reliance

In 2017, the Ethiopian government gave ENAPAL land in an up-and-coming part of the capital, Addis Ababa, for a new headquarters building. As part of our support for ENAPAL, since FY 2019, we have been funding construction of the building.  This is an exciting project that will see ENAPAL generate income by renting out space in the building, helping to put its operations on a sustainable footing.

Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, work on the five-story building continued during FY2020, with construction due to be completed this summer.

Proposals have already been submitted by individuals and organizations wishing to move into the building, and ENAPAL can expect to start earning rental income in due course.

Artist’s impression of the completed building

“If we can cover the cost of our activities by earning rental income from the building, it will not only expand what we are able to do but will also be an important milestone for Ethiopia towards a leprosy-free society,” said Tesfaye Tadesse, managing director of ENAPAL.

From the Foundation’s perspective, we believe this business model is a first for an organization of persons affected by leprosy and one that could work for people’s organizations in other countries if the right circumstances are in place.

Activities on World Leprosy Day in Collaboration with the Government

For World Leprosy Day in January, ENAPAL partnered with the Ministry of Health and other organizations to engage in awareness-raising activities. In the leprosy-endemic state of Amhara in the north of the country it held a national rally under the guidance of the national and state governments. Appropriate measures were taken against COVID-19 infection.

In parallel with the conference, screening for leprosy took place, and 21 new cases were diagnosed among the 2,000 attendees. The result—1 in every 100 persons testing positive—came as a shock to ENAPAL but it provided an opportunity to underscore once again to health ministry officials and state authorities the importance of case detection.

A national rally was held on World Leprosy Day in Amhra state in northern Ethiopia.

We look forward to our continued partnership with ENAPAL as it pursues the dream of a leprosy-free Ethiopia in cooperation with the government and other organizations, and we are excited to see the impact that the new headquarters building will have on its activities.