Inspiration, Responsible tourism

How One Visit.org Customer Made a Lasting Impact in Ethiopia

Retired American doctor, Peter Schwartz, was looking for a meaningful way to spend the free hours of his five-day stay Ethiopia. He had been invited to speak at a medical ethics conference, and wanted to interact with local culture in an immersive and authentic way. After some internet research, he stumbled upon Visit.org’s Addis Ababa Food Tour.

The tour, like all Visit.org experiences, is hosted by a local do-good org known to impact its community in a positive way. Project-E is an organization that offers young women in Ethiopia education and vocational training.

ethiopia ngo

The women of Project-E, an NGO in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Visit.org’s Addis Ababa Food Tour

When Peter and his wife began their Project-E tour, they noticed that they were not participating in a typical eat-and-run food tour (where visitors are quickly guided through a maze of food stalls). Instead, Peter noted how Project-E welcomes its guests into “a hotel mockup”.

This makes the feel of the tour decidedly different. Because the women enrolled in Project-E are training for secretarial work and hotel operations, the visitors become the recipients of their training.

Project-E provides education and vocational training for young women.

Peter and his wife loved interacting as guests through the food tour. They enjoyed a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, as well as tasting the local cuisine. But most of all, they were inspired by the cause of Project-E. And when the tour finished, they knew that their partnership with the org had just begun.

Helping to Expand Project-E’s Program

Since their Visit.org trip, Peter and his wife have been involved in the growth and longevity of Project-E. A former Ob-Gyn, Peter was concerned that the women of Project-E were lacking female physiology in their education program.  According to Peter, “If they’re going to be self-respecting women…they need to know how their bodies work.” And so, Peter was able to recruit an Ethiopian colleague, who has offered to not only educate the women, but also act as a “healthcare liaison” — or someone they can call, for free, whenever they have medical issues.

Peter is quick to deflect any of Project-E’s success, however. “They’re doing a great job on their own; they don’t need us. We just hopefully enhance their mission a little bit.”

A woman prepares a drink as part of Visit.org’s Addis Ababa Food Tour.

Looking forward, Peter hopes to help Project-E build its lasting power by setting up an office space and getting government assistance. He and his wife intend on returning to Ethiopia twice a year to help standardize Ob-Gyn education, and to help the country create its first code of medical ethics.

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