Sustainability is a central value of the ECF ethos. It serves as an operational principle that drives our strategy, which has three key elements: community and social participation, environmental conservation, and internal resource generation.
ECF insists that all children in the program maintain their family, relational and community ties, and that the community participates in the ECF program. The community has helped to build the school, and plays a leading role in selecting the most disadvantaged and eligible children to enroll in the program. The community also provides in-kind labor resources for seasonal agricultural work such as sowing and harvesting. More widely, ECF mobilizes businesses, and various organizations for in-kind services and grants for special projects. ECF runs and is building up a child sponsorship program and an endowment fund to build a wider business and individual alliance around the ECF initiative. And without such support we will not achieve our sustainability.
Environmental conservation is a key feature of ECF's sustainability practice. ECF has undertaken re-forestation activities, and has installed a biogas facility, which generates sustainable and environmentally friendly gas for cooking. ECF has just finished digging a borehole and found abundant water to be used for irrigation and school use. With the support of Energie Assistance ECF has built an irrigation system with usage of water from the river to irrigate 5 hectares of land, which will double the current crop production. ECF believes that photovoltaic cells can be installed on top of the school buildings to generate safe and sustainable electricity for the school and other development activities. This is important for cost management, as well as conservation.
Internal resource generation is another key element of our sustainability efforts. ECF undertakes agriculture, horticulture and dairy production on the Aleltu site to enable on-site supplementary feeding, and also to demonstrate and promote improved agricultural innovation and practices in the surrounding communities. By 2015, ECF aims to produce all food for the children on the premises including milk, vegetables, staples, fruits and honey.