The Ogaden Welfare and Development Association (OWDA)
OWDA is an Ethiopian registered NGO working to improve the lives of the people of the Ogaden region in the Somali Regional State in southern Ethiopia. On the ground in Denan, The Denan Project’s partner OWDA manages the operation of our hospital and all our other projects, including procurement of supplies, management of local staff, and communications between the local communities and our board members. OWDA’s Executive Director, Mukhtar Shek Omer, is our key contact for all our activities in Denan.
A strong partnership has grown between The Denan Project and Rotary International, and the contribution that Rotarians have made to the people of Denan is significant. Many Rotary Districts in USA, including Districts 7980 and 7890 in Connecticut, 5470 in Colorado, and districts in Florida have generously supported our goal to provide potable water (water pipeline, watering stations along the pipeline, and construction of 20,000-liter reservoirs in outlying villages not serviced by the pipeline) and free medical care to the people of Denan and the surrounding villages. Plaques have been placed on several watering stations acknowledging the Rotary Clubs who helped make them a reality.
UNICEF partners with The Denan Project and OWDA to provide a medical outreach program. On October 7, 2008, we commenced a 5-day-a-week medical outreach program with the support of UNICEF. Many sick villagers travel days and nights through the desert to reach our hospital only to find they have waited too long and cannot be saved. This program will provide outlying villages with much needed medical help and reduce the need to travel long distances to get to our hospital.
Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, USA
Early supporters of The Denan Project were the students, faculty and staff of Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut. A contest sponsored by The Denan Project involving art students at the school created our organization’s logo, an integral part of our identity being used in all our projects around the world. Since 2004, activities at the school, including concerts, silent auctions, tag sales and student “garage band” competitions, have raised more than $15,000 for The Denan Project—and a plaque recognizing its contributions has been placed on a watering station on the 12 km pipeline constructed in Denan. A student representative, chosen by the faculty, serves as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors of the Project. The representative attends Board meetings; reports to the Board on student-lead initiatives; and liaisons with The Denan Project volunteers assigned to work with the school.
Local Government Agencies
There are many national, regional and district government agencies that The Denan Project has worked with over the past several years who have been instrumental in its success, including:
• The Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations
• The Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism
• The Director of the Ministry of Agriculture
• The President of The Somali Regional State
• The Director of the Health Bureau, Somali Regional State
• The Director of the Water Bureau, Somali Regional State
• The District Administrator of the Denan District, Somali Regional State
The Elders of Denan, Ethiopia
While there is a local administration appointed by the government, the real power belongs to The Elders, a group of the most respected people in the community. The Denan Project works hand in hand with The Elders, always asking their opinion and advice before undertaking any project. They tell us that we are the first people that ever asked them what they need rather than telling them what they need. They have also told us that in the past many people came and promised them many things—but that The Denan Project and our partner OWDA are the only ones who have always kept their promises. Our partnership with The Elders has been critical in our long-running success in Denan.