Early History of HUNDEE
The idea of establishing an NGO downed upon its founders in the early part of 1990’s at a time when the politics of the day was ambivalent and unclear in acknowledging efficacy and utility of civil society organizations. The only hope for the success of this venture hinged on human right provisions enshrined in the Charter signed between political forces that brought about the demise of the Dergue government. Citizens’ rights to organize into associations for lawful purposes was emphatically recognized in the Transitional Charter.
The idea of establishing an NGO of whatever typology was aggressively pursued; many Oromo youth who earnestly harbored good intentions for the transformation of rural people were among the first to express their commitment of dedicated service to the association in formation. Within a short period of time the founders and other enthusiasts were motivated to challenge the subsequent phase of formation.
The subsequent phase involved drafting article of incorporation for the entity to be established; acquisition of a modest working space for few selected people who were given the responsibility to steer this phase of establishment; small amount of cash to cover minor items such as secretarial service, photocopying, postage etc. The naming of our organization and choice of a logo n intensive discussion before settling on the name “HUNDEE-Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative”. We decided to postpone designing of the logo as it is not a requirement for registration of NGO’s. One of our member insisted inclusion of the word “Oromo” as a condition for his present and future support. The decision to include “Oromo” brought us considerable financial support to cover many expense items.
The Article of Incorporation was professionally prepared, endorsed by the founders, and submitted to the then Ministry of Internal Affairs for registration. It did not take us long time to get registered, an act that immediately put on us on arduous road of ‘being’ credible and responsible ‘to working for and with resource poor rural communities.’ It appears quiet strange to seek registration of an entity without having resource of whatsoever to discharge our responsibility that arose from being registered as NGO. Expecting financial support from the founders and the numerous volunteers was out of question. What would happen to us if we only ‘sleep on our right of running an NGO’ without having any project to run at the sixth month of our registration when we could face unfortunate decision to get ‘deregistered’. It was at this time when two business men came to rescue us in generously donating Birr 15,000. A lady who knew one of the founders decided to let us use her old villa located at ShiroMeda without having to bother about payment of rent for some months and even for a year.
Issues of salary and benefits were never raised and ‘furnishing’ of the villa entailed collection of old furniture from individual home of founders and volunteers. The first proposal developed and to be implemented in GebaRobi, SulutaMulloWoreda was Birr 39,000 tree nursery project that proved to be a litmus paper for our resolve, commitment, endurance etc. to get HUNDDEE- Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative off the ground.