WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) met Friday with Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in Yetebon, Ethiopia. They toured Project Mercy during a Congressional Delegation trip that included stops in Asia and Africa. Project Mercy is a USAID/Ethiopia-supported non-government organization (NGO) 80 miles southwest of Addis Ababa working to break the cycle of famine and poverty through its relief and community development model.

“Ethiopia is a close friend of the United States and has played an instrumental role in the security of their region,” said Inhofe. “It has also been one of the hardest hit countries by the global economic crisis, and I have worked with USAID to ensure food supplies to the drought stricken region. In 2009, I was privileged to visit Project Mercy in Yetebon, which receives USAID funding. I have since watched how this organization has led the way in raising Ethiopians out of poverty and extreme hunger by wisely and effectively assisting communities with health care, education, skill training, and infrastructure development, just to name a few. 

"Dr. Shah of USAID and I have had the opportunity to meet many times, and I was pleased when he graciously accepted my invitation to join me on a trip to Project Mercy to see first hand the fruit of USAID’s assistance. Dr. Shah’s signature initiatives at USAID, which include Feed the FutureUSAID Forward and most recently Child Survival Call to Action, would greatly benefit the lives of those most in need across the continent. By streamlining U.S. foreign aid to local NGOs and African governments, USAID Forward would help cut through red tape to better equip and champion humanitarian non-profits like Project Mercy. It was a privilege to meet with Dr. Shah and I appreciate Dr. Shah taking time out of his busy schedule to visit this organization.”

Project Mercy was founded by Marta Gabre-Tsadick and Demeke Tekle-Wold who received political asylum in the U.S. in the early 1970s after the communist takeover of Ethiopia. Since their return to Ethiopia, they began their organization to care for the needs of refugees and locals, and it has since grown to include projects in agriculture, healthcare, and education in order to bring lasting self-sustaining development. Project Mercy’s famine relief efforts have been assisted by a USAID food grant, which provided care for 200,000 households.