School dedication celebrates Ethiopian, U.S. partnership
Residents of Kelami, Ethiopia gathered with U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) June 5, 2008 to dedicate the newly-constructed Kelami Primary School facilities. Civil engineers from CJTF-HOA partnered with community elders, staff from the Regional Minister of Education, Guryo-Samo General Contractors, and school staff to complete the school.
The project began in 2006 when the people of Kelami asked civil engineers to survey the previous school building. The engineers found the existing structure, made of mud and wood, to be inadequate for learning. Additionally, the school's location, next to a firing range used by the Ethiopian National Defense Force, created unsafe conditions for the children walking to and from school.
The new, durable school house and latrine facility, which is located closer to the village and in a safer area, will increase its capacity by 33% and include two additional grade levels.
In a speech to the villagers of Kelami, U.S. Army Colonel Phillip Casey, Civil Military Officer for CJTF-HOA, remarked on the cooperation between the two nations. "Today we celebrate the partnership between Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and the people of Kelami and Ethiopia," said Casey. "This project has proven to be an excellent example of how Ethiopians and Americans partner to promote peace and stability."
Before departing, Casey offered a challenge to the people of Kelami. "Taking care of this school is a big responsibility. We respectfully entrust your community with this challenging and rewarding task," said Casey. "For you children, remember, knowledge and education is a priceless gift given to you by your teachers. Respect and honor them by using your education to achieve great things and foster peace."