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U.S. Personnel Dedicate Ethiopian School Facilities, Enhance Education Opportunities
Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate a new schoolhouse and two latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School here May 22, 2012. <br /> <br />This building project lines up with one part of the mission
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, speaks during a school dedication ceremony along with Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, and Egei Wabere (right), Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator, at the Gende Gerada Primary School. Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school house and two latrines in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 3: U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, speaks during a school dedication ceremony along with Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, and Egei Wabere (right), Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator, at the Gende Gerada Primary School. Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school house and two latrines in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012 Download full-resolution version
Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new schoolhouse and two latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. Cutting the ribbon from left to right are: U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander; Kumsa Baysa, Gende Gerada Primary School principal; Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia; Egei Wabere, Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator; and Stephen Fitzpatrick, U.S. Agency for International Development program coordinator. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 3: Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new schoolhouse and two latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. Cutting the ribbon from left to right are: U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander; Kumsa Baysa, Gende Gerada Primary School principal; Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia; Egei Wabere, Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator; and Stephen Fitzpatrick, U.S. Agency for International Development program coordinator. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, presents command coins to local students for helping U.S. Navy Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three Seabees during the construction of their new school building and latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. The students, from left to right, are Abdurehim Nasir, Amir Abdi, Ramzii Ahamed and Anwar Tayir. Seabees from CJTF-HOA were the last of four NMCB teams to work on the 2-year project, which was dedicated at a ceremony on May 22. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 3: U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, presents command coins to local students for helping U.S. Navy Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three Seabees during the construction of their new school building and latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. The students, from left to right, are Abdurehim Nasir, Amir Abdi, Ramzii Ahamed and Anwar Tayir. Seabees from CJTF-HOA were the last of four NMCB teams to work on the 2-year project, which was dedicated at a ceremony on May 22. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, speaks during a school dedication ceremony along with Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, and Egei Wabere (right), Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator, at the Gende Gerada Primary School. Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school house and two latrines in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012
Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new schoolhouse and two latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. Cutting the ribbon from left to right are: U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander; Kumsa Baysa, Gende Gerada Primary School principal; Molly Phee, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia; Egei Wabere, Gende Gerada Kebele education coordinator; and Stephen Fitzpatrick, U.S. Agency for International Development program coordinator. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens)
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, presents command coins to local students for helping U.S. Navy Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three Seabees during the construction of their new school building and latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, May 22, 2012. The students, from left to right, are Abdurehim Nasir, Amir Abdi, Ramzii Ahamed and Anwar Tayir. Seabees from CJTF-HOA were the last of four NMCB teams to work on the 2-year project, which was dedicated at a ceremony on May 22. (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa photo by Technical Sergeant Ryan Labadens)
Ethiopian and U.S. personnel gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate a new schoolhouse and two latrines at the Gende Gerada Primary School here May 22, 2012.

This building project lines up with one part of the mission statement for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa: enhancing partner nation capacity. One way CJTF-HOA personnel help accomplish this is by providing opportunities for African nations to help themselves.

U.S. Navy Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three (NMCB 3) Detachment HOA, in support of the CJTF-HOA mission, oversaw the final leg of this 2-year project. Three previous Seabee teams constructed the school building itself, while NMCB 3 completed construction of the two latrines and added final touch-ups to the schoolhouse after their arrival in February, said U.S. Navy Lieutenant junior grade Sarah Ursetti, NMCB 3 officer in charge.

The school already hosts approximately 2,500 students. The new four-room school will accommodate an additional 200 students, said Kumsa Baysa, principal of Gende Gerada, Kumsa Baysa.

Dire Dawa education officials plan on using the new building to teach children ages 5 to 6, said Kumsa. This will be the first time the school will have the facilities to hold a kindergarten program.

"The addition of the new classrooms will provide great benefits for the education of our country," said Kumsa. "I would like to say 'thank you' to the people of the United States government and our people who worked with the U.S. military."

The Seabees were not alone in their construction efforts, said Ursetti. Since the project began in April 2010, several Gende Gerada school boys lent a helping hand to the Navy construction crews.

"It started off with three or four boys initially, but when our crew arrived, that number grew to about seven, with several others helping out as we neared the end," said Ursetti.

"We got a firsthand experience with what they learned already because of stuff they already did on the school," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin Weber, NMCB 3 project supervisor, referring to the work the students performed with previous seabee rotations. Weber said the students jumped right in to help them with constructing the latrines.

During the dedication, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken, CJTF-HOA commander, presented each of the young students with his command coin to thank them for their hard work and dedication to their school.

In his speech during the ceremony, Kumsa revealed his vision of the results the new facilities will bring.

"In the future, you will see many kids filling up this school, and we will use it for the betterment of our country," said Kumsa.
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