The first dedicated electronic fundraising platform to enable all Ethiopians across the globe to contribute financial support to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) went operational last week.
Developed by Chapa S.C., a homegrown fintech company, MyGerd allows you to make credit and debit card donations.
The website, which is certified by the Ministry of Finance, National Bank, and the Diaspora Agency, ensures transparency by providing data including the identity of the donor and the amount of money donated, according to the information from the developers.
Because of the lack of a centralized online platform, contribution to the dam has not been easy for many Ethiopians whose geographical location does not allow them to give their resources physically, said Israel Goytom, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Chapa S.C.
For this reason, several GoFundMe accounts have been created, and some communities and individuals have had to travel hours to deliver their gifts to the construction of the dam. For Ethiopians living outside their country, the high cost of wire transfers has discouraged them from giving smaller amounts as their economic means allow, he added.
With support from Chapa S.C. and Zemen Bank, the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is the official project owner.
“Our purpose is to provide a platform that suits everyone’s needs and yields a trouble-free experience while they contribute to this staple national project.”
Since the launch of the website in support of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, nearly 100 thousand USD has been collected from about 727 donors in the diaspora.
“Chapa is incredibly pleased to witness the warm reception the MyGerd Platform has received,” said Israel.
“It is an honor for Chapa to have been given the chance to assist Ethiopians around the globe to contribute to this staple project by providing an efficient platform,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Every penny collected through this platform would also be transparently displayed on this website, even by geographical region and by community campaigns.
The platform has also been reviewed and cleared for cybersecurity by the Information Network Security Agency, contributing to GERD. Similarly, Zemen Bank has agreed to cover the full cost of international money transfer so that 100 percent of the gifts from Ethiopians go to the construction of the dam.
In 2001, when Ethiopia started the construction of the dam, Egypt and Sudan blamed the dam project for reducing their water share in the downstream countries.
Over the years millions of Ethiopians are contributing to the dam's construction, which is approaching its finishing line, with more than 80 percent completed.