EDTF Launches Emergency COVID19 Fund

Image courtesy of the Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) Advisory Council.

Press Release

The Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) Advisory Council has established an “EDTF Emergency COVID-19 Mitigation” effort

Addis Ababa: 04 April 2020

The Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) Advisory Council is pleased to announce it has established an “EDTF Emergency COVID-19 Mitigation” effort committing USD 1 million start-up fund to assist the national COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Ethiopia.

Responding to the health care needs of disadvantaged Ethiopians is one of the core missions of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. A description of EDTF’s response is attached to this press release.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has recently warned, “Africa is two to three weeks away from the worst of the coronavirus storm and needs an emergency economic stimulus of $100 billion to bolster preventative measures and support its fragile healthcare systems.”

At the present time, there are 38 reported cases of COVID-19 infection, no deaths and 3 recoveries. While the current low infection and mortality rate is encouraging, we must not be lulled into complacency or underestimate the severe health threats given the exponential growth of the virus in a given population and lag time between infection and manifestation of symptoms.

EDTF’s commitment is targeted to addressing the specific needs for medical supplies (attached to this press release) identified by the Ministry of Health under the coordination of the COVID-19 Ministerial Committee chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to respond directly to the COVID-19 threat.

Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam, EDTF Advisory Council Chairman said, “Ethiopia and indeed the human race today faces an existential threat as COVID-19 continues to spread like wildfire to all corners of the globe. There is no more critical and urgent health care need facing all Ethiopians today than the prevention, treatment and mitigation of COVID-19.”

Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, EDTF Advisory Council Treasurer explained, “EDTF Emergency COVID-19 support will be guided primarily by the priority items identified by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and will closely coordinate with the Prime Minister’s National COVID-19 Resource Mobilization Committee, the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Task Force and collaborate with other Ethiopian diaspora organizations working to address the COVID-19 threat in Ethiopia. EDTF will provide periodic reports on funding allocations and expenditures consistent with its commitment to maximum transparency and accountability.”

In response to requests by EDTF Diaspora donors and others, the EDTF website (https://www.ethiopiatrustfund.org/) now has a separate window for COVID-19 donations to be held in a special account created for COVID-19. Donors are encouraged to use that window to support the fundraising effort.

The EDTF COVID-19 effort in Ethiopia will be coordinated by EDTF Board Chairman Zafu Eyesuswork and Vice Chairperson Dr. Mehret Mandefro, and the EDTF Secretariat.

Background paper:



The Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) Emergency COVID-19 (EDTF Emergency COVID-19 or EDTF COVID-19) is established by the EDTF Advisory Council in recognition of the new challenge and existential threat that coronavirus (i.e. SARS-COV-2) represents to the wellbeing and livelihood of the Ethiopian people and in particular the most disadvantaged segments of the population. This initiative will support the national campaign launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad to prevent, detect, and mitigate the COVID pandemic emerging in Ethiopia that is raging across the globe. EDTF COVID-19 conforms with the EDTF objective of meeting the critical needs of disadvantaged peoples and communities in the social sectors like health, as detailed in EDTF’s Terms of Reference.

Operational Modality

The campaign against COVID-19, particularly in countries like Ethiopia that face institutional and financial resource challenges, requires effective national coordination of the activities to be undertaken. As a result, the EDTF Emergency COVID-19 support will be primarily guided by the priority items identified by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. The Ministry has already issued the attached first list of priority items (un-costed) that are required to mitigate and address the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been distributed to.

EDTF also recognizes that there are other organizations that have already initiated activities to support the national COVID-19 campaign through medical advisory and financial support. Whenever the opportunity exists, EDTF COVID-19 will work in partnership with such organizations while ensuring the transparent and accountable reporting of the funds contributed by its Ethiopian Diaspora and other donors. At present, some of the collaborating organizations include the Prime Minister’s National COVID-19 Resource Mobilization Committee, the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Task Force, and in the US, the Ethiopian Diaspora High-Level Advisory Council on the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ethiopia, the Global Alliance For the Rights of Ethiopians, …etc.

EDTF COVID-19 will be established as a separate window in the EDTF donation portal so as to enable EDTF’s donors in 93 countries to contribute specifically to the COVID-19 campaign. The separate window will also facilitate separate and identifiable transparent reporting of donations received in the EDTF COVID-19 account and the amount used out of it.

Approval Process

The EDTF Emergency COVID-19 operation is not a project-based intervention similar to the regular EDTF donations. The EDTF regular donations are utilized following a “Project Call for Proposals” to eligible Implementing Organizations and the submitted projects are reviewed and vetted by the Secretariat (along with independent Project Review Teams and consultants) and are finally approved by the Board.

As speed is essential in a COVID-19 operation, the EDTF Advisory Council Executive Committee Council will allocate the available funds in the Emergency COVID-19 window to items already requested by the Ministry of Health for coronavirus prevention, detection or (response). The EC approval will be sent to the full Advisory Council and EDTF Board requesting a one-day approval or objection. The approved amount will be used to directly pay suppliers that have been engaged by the Ministry of Health or other organizations for the procurement of similar items through an international competitive solicitation.

Items Delivery and Reporting

The EDTF Secretariat and EDTF Board will be responsible for required follow-up with the Ministry of Health about the delivery and reporting of the EDTF Emergency COVID-19 funded items. To the extent possible, they will seek the Ministry of Health’s commitment the items funded by EDTF will benefit the relatively more disadvantaged communities in recognition of the mission and objectives of EDTF.

US$ 1 million Start-up EDTF Emergency COVID-19

There is a continuous wide call from EDTF’s Ethiopian Diaspora donors, requesting a portion of the already deposited funds in the regular EDTF account to be allocated to respond to the national campaign against COVID-19. Taking into account the US$6 million available in the Friends of EDTF Inc. and the EDTF CBE Accounts and the potential maximum $5 million obligation that EDTF may have to fund the 5 approved and 17 conditionally approved projects. For that reason, it is proposed that a transfer $1 million to the new EDTF Emergency COVID-19 Account will be necessary. This amount will not only enable EDTF to make a speedy and a significant contribution to the priority items requested by the Ministry of Health to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the action will reassure EDTF donors the importance the need for their continued contributions.

Based on the initial start-up allocation, major effort will be made to mobilize additional matching-contributions from Friends of Ethiopia – development partners, governments, non-governmental organizations and philanthropic foundations to further up-scale its support.

Lessons from COVID-19 causalities in New York, Italy and other countries indicate the paramount need to safeguard the well-being of the COVID first-line defenders, frontline practitioners, healthcare providers and healthcare institutions. It is essential to provide these critical hospital staff and their intensive care units (ICUs) with urgent personal protection equipment (PPE) such as surgical face masks, face shields, gowns, gloves and ICU beds to fight this raging viral war before they become overwhelmed and the health system collapses.

Duration of the EDTF Emergency COVID-19

The EDTF Emergency COVID-19 will be open for the duration of the time COVID-19 continues to be an existential threat to the Ethiopian people.


Update: EDTF procures $1.173 Million medical supplies for campaign against COVID-19 in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund: Q&A with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu

EDTF Ethiopia Board Announced

Ways to Boost Donor Participation for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation

Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more at https://www.ethiopiatrustfund.org/

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