Kate's Appeal: Major School Costs

For the school to accommodate all the Infants and Primary children next year, we need more funds. Here I highlight some of the main costs for which we need funding. Note that the inflation rate in Ethiopia is high. I don't know the exact figure, but assume 10%.

It is best not to put restrictions on the use of donations, such as “I want this donation to be used only for building the library” because it puts me in a difficult position. I will always want to use donations to fulfil the most urgent need at the time. Running costs come first. After covering these, I must purchase land before any building work can begin, and staff can only be recruited when I have facilities in place.

school buildings
school buildings


The type of classroom used at Empress Mentewab School is called a gojobet. It is a traditional round, thatched hut with open sides, and so cool inside and well ventilated. Apart from being a pleasant teaching and learning environment, gojobets are cheap and easy to build and maintain, and – very importantly – local people do the building, thatching and rendering.

At present we have two classrooms. We need additional rooms for the Infants and next year's Primary Grade 3 class.

Cost for two classrooms = 40,000 birr (£1,400, 1,600 euros, US$2,200)


For the preparation of the children’s snacks and lunches, a small kitchen is required, equipped with cooker, small refrigerator, food preparation tables, storage cupboards and washing-up facilities.

Kitchen cost = 50,000 birr (£1,700, 2,000 euros, US$2,700)


Over the years many books have been donated to the school by supporters and charities such as Link Ethiopia and Books Abroad. A library is needed to accommodate these.

Library cost = 50,000 birr (£1,700, 2,000 euros, US$2,700)


Pit latrines are required for male and female teachers and children. Initially, six pits latrines will be built, with more added later as the school grows.

Pit latrines (6) = 40,000 birr (£1,400, 1,600 euros, US$2,200)


At present water and electricity are supplied from my home. In future, water pipes need to be laid to the school site and taps installed; and the school needs its own electricity meter and supply.

Water Supply = 20,000 birr (£700, 800 euros, US$1,100)

Electric Meter = 5,000 birr (£170, 200 euros, US$270)


At present the school is located on 1,000 m2 of land. There are seven structures there: Primary Grade 1 classroom, Primary Grade 2 classroom, Wendy House (play house), sand pit, resource room, guard hut, and coffee hut. The remaining area is a playground.

Despite winning the 2010-11 land dispute relating to the school’s previous location on common grazing land (see key [122601] doesn't existARCHIVES), I have decided to avoid any future difficulties by building the school on land that I own rather than leasing land. Land is relatively cheap to buy in rural Ethiopia.

So I wish to buy Lot 1, a large area (2,000 m2) immediately to the south of the school.

The costs below are estimates. With tough negotiating, I hope to acquire the land for less than the sum given here. Any funds left over from land purchase would be ploughed back into the school, covering running costs.

Lot 1 – 40,000 birr (£1,400, 1,600 euros, US$2,200)

Lot 1
Lot 1


For security, the school must have a two-metre fence around the perimeter. The threats are thieves and hyenas. The fence will also keep cattle, sheet, goats and donkeys out, so that the school compound remains clean and flowerbeds can flourish.

Fencing – 30,000 birr (£1,000, 1,200 euros, US$1,600)


In time I need many staff, but the most urgent requirements are listed below. Employing staff is a great responsibility because they must be paid monthly long-term. Before recruiting anyone new, I want to have two years’ pay for them sitting in the bank.

These staff salaries include employer's pension and health insurance payments.

Teacher – 36,000 birr pa
For two years = 72,000 birr (£2,400, 2,800 euros, US$3,800)
Two teachers for two years = 144,000 birr (£4,800, 5,600 euros, US$7,600)

Cleaner/Laundress - 12,000 birr pa
Gardener/Oddjobman - 12,000 birr pa
Both for two years = 48,000 birr (£1,600, 1,900 euros, US$2,600)

Total Staff costs for two years = 192,000 birr (£6,400, 7,500 euros, US$10,200)

(two classrooms, equipped kitchen, library, six pit latrines, water and electricity supplies, land, fencing, and four staff for two years)

467,000 birr (£15,870, 18,500 euros, US$25,170)

If you can help towards reaching this target by making a donation, thank you. See key [170414] doesn't existGIVE for payment options.