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Ethiopia: A Country of Firsts

coffee: thanks Ethiopia

Coffee: Thanks, Ethiopia!

As legend has it, coffee was discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi who noticed his animals were getting a bit friskier after eating some red berries from a certain bush. Excited, Kaldi ran to show a monk in a nearby monastery, but the monk disapproved of these berries and threw them into a fire. But the deliciously rich aroma that arose from the fire compelled the monk to quickly rake out the embers. We’re not sure what led them to grind the burnt beans and pour hot water over them, but who cares? They created the first cup of coffee!

In more recent times, Ethiopia’s coffee industry has grown into the largest exporter of coffee in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Through the years, we have heard from numerous Grounds for Health supporters who rave about the quality of Ethiopian coffee and then suggest, “Grounds for Health should start a program in Ethiopia.”

Finally, after many conversations with Ethiopian co-ops, coffee farmers, exporters and co-op leaders, Grounds for Health is taking its first trip to the country. Executive Director August Burns and Program Director Ellen Starr are currently visiting a coffee farm in Yirgacheffe and meeting with several individuals from coffee cooperative leadership to assess the feasibility of starting a Grounds for Health program in Ethiopia. Stay tuned for updates!

Grounds for Health’s visit also corresponds with another first in Ethiopia: the inaugural Africa Regional Conference of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO). This conference will bring together researchers and practitioners to discuss how to improve the well-being of women through high quality obstetric and gynecological care.


Grounds for Health will be presenting at the conference, sharing our work in Tanzania in a forum about effective cervical cancer prevention programs. A poster about our new Community Health Promoter Curriculum (now available) will also be displayed.

Grounds for Health is optimistic that this trip to Ethiopia won’t just be a first, but will be the first of many.

3 Responses

  1. Lynne Calkins

    I would like be part of a team to go to Ethiopia.
    Please keep me in mind.
    I am a Nurse Practitioner,specializing in Women’s Health and with an active license. Ethiopia is number 1 on my list as an opportunity to serve and provide health care to unserved women.

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