The Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO) was founded by Misganaw Eticha Dubie and his wife Tadelu Debissa Eticha with other three co-founders: Berhanu Kenea Yifru, Fayera Abdissa Kitla and Daniel Fantaye Bekana.
Misganaw Eticha Dubie (the founder) was a second year university student in 1992. On April 3, 1992, he went outside of the university campus to look for a shoeshine after he had his lunch. While a Shoe shiner was polishing his shoes, the founder looked at the nearby mother who was sitting on the roadside with her three children, two daughters and a son. Her tears were flowing down while the son was eating bread but the two daughters were crying for. The founder asked the mother “why are you weeping and your children are crying?” The mother immediately responded, “They are hungry”. He was stricken by her words of hunger and gave her the bread that he took for a Shoe Shiner from his lunch plate. This bread was to be given to the Shoe Shiner instead of the payment of some coins. Because of the sensitivity of the founder towards the incident, humanitarian service concept conceived on that day in his mind. He recalled the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 25: 35-45, which directs His disciples to reach for the poor and geared his mind to start thinking on how to give birth of the conception. His heart never got a rest from that day onwards to seek ways and strategies of realizing desired wholistic development for children and empowering their guardians particularly their mothers who mostly suffer with their children.
The founder understood that children and mothers are the most affected vulnerable sections of a society from external shocks. The situation has persuaded him to concentrate on prioritizing children and their mothers/ women’s’ involvement in any process of development undertakings. He started reading and learning operational experiences of other previously established humanitarian organizations on their organizational administration, effectiveness, efficiency, partnership, leadership and other related issues to have an organization with a strong ground in bringing the desired goal in Ethiopia. This enabled him to learn the strengths and weaknesses of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and started to design how to share his vision and recruit people who shared the vision and willing to shoulder the burden and serve their communities with a genuine good will. The dream to have strong kind of NGO in Ethiopia challenged the founder and pushed him to take time to work on effective founding strategies of the Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO).
During his efforts to share his vision, he faced many challenges from different people. Many people and organizations were suspicious about a motive of NGO establishment since they see some NGOs misuse organizational resources. This has made the beginning difficult to convince and get committed collaborators to found the SVO. Since it was difficult to believe the idea that was not concrete and on the ground, people were with full of questions and reluctant to work with the founder except a few people. However, the pain of Ethiopian people never gave him rest to evacuate from the vision but continued his way with perseverance, which finally brought forth the birth of the Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO) after 12 years of its conception.
Finally, by organizing five co-founders including his wife, who was committed for the founding of the organization at all required costs and shared his burden, he led the meeting on the birth of SVO on October 15, 2005. The intention is to have a strong organization that was not simply adding the number of NGOs but to bring an NGO that is able to influence the development of the country in a meaningful way. With this notion and experience of its first conception of incidence in mind, SVO set priority to address the needs of children and their guardians, particularly women, in its development works to revenge poverty that has been the enemy of generations. It is all about empowering the Ethiopian communities so that they are able to fight poverty particularly the state of being devoid of basic needs.
Fulfilling all the legal requirements, SVO was officially registered on July 26, 2006 at the national level by its previous name, the Stand for the Vulnerables Association (SVA). Under the new Proclamation of 621/2001, the Stand for Vulnerable Organization was re-registered on October 16, 2009 by Charities and Societies Agency with a slight change to its name as the Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO).
After its legal registration, the first General Assembly Meeting was held on August 26, 2006 at the Marxist (Dibab Square) in front of Addis Ababa University (Main Campus) and its first official executive board members and executive director were appointed by the General Assembly. The meeting was held at the Square because of the organization was a new beginner without office. The rain that was falling on the attendants of the meeting was unforgettable in the history of SVO since it indicates the level of commitment of the General Assembly members who were recruited and committed to contribute to the development of our country.
The Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO) then after was shifted from the vision of single person to the vision of many people who were organized into legal body of General Assembly members to aggressively fight the poverty in the country. The General Assembly members of SVO consists of trained development experts with rich experiences in child and women development, natural resource management, livelihood improvement, health development, consultancy work, education, leadership and management working with different non-governmental and government organizations. It is with this strong background that the General Assembly members were well equipped with expertise and experience of project planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Above all, they are people with deep love for their country and committed heart to serve their people at any cost. This commitment of the founders and General Assembly members helped SVO to move forward to the position of bringing inexorable impact in the development direction of our country.
Stand for Vulnerable Organization ( SVO)
· © 2014 Stand for Vulnerable Organization (SVO) (http://www.sva.org.et/about-us/historical-background/)
Author name: Misganaw Eticha
Speciality and expertise: Sociology (BA); Development Studies
Sector/Affiliation: Child and Youth Development
Adress: Addis Ababa – Ethiopia
Type of contribution: Child Development