A Supporter Visits Ethiopia

Discovering Impact

Although Jane Roach has been a supporter of Tearfund Canada for five years, she always wanted to learn more about Tearfund’s programs. When she heard about the opportunity to join a discovery trip to Ethiopia, she decided to make the journey, to see and learn first-hand for herself.

Over the course of 2 weeks, Jane visited 9 communities in Southern Ethiopia with local partner staff of the Terepeza Development Agency, — Tearfund Canada’s local church-based partner. She met farmers, church leaders and members of self help savings groups. She asked questions and saw the effect that programs are having on people’s lives. Jane took some time to answer our questions about her time in Ethiopia.

Members of a farm and savings group in Abelo Koshobo Southern Ethiopia show Jane, how they are farming to produce more food and cash crops to support their families.

What experiences did you enjoy the most?

I most enjoyed visiting homes and walking the fields. I was humbled by the way the poor in Ethiopia live. How much energy and time they spend to fill their basic needs, especially getting water for themselves & their livestock – all of which I take for granted.  It was amazing to see the impact Tearfund supported training was having in their lives. Especially the tenacity of the TDA project staff in convincing people to consider self help groups.

Which program or people did you find most inspiring?

“I was most impacted by the savings groups of women.  Watching them speak with such pride about their plans with their communal farmland, their goats, their long term goals for various businesses, their ability to help family members in crisis, putting food on the table for their family and new business ventures was inspiring”

Based on your visit to Ethiopia, what is the one thing you would like other donors to know about Tearfund programs?

“I would love to see more supporters participate in a discovery trip and take their stories and their experiences back to their churches & workplaces.  I would want other donors to know that Tearfund impacts lives where the need is greatest.  As a result of Tearfund programs, families are becoming more self sufficient and they are giving back to their community. Savings groups are doing community projects like tree planting and financing projects for their members.”

Jane learns about the impact of conservation agriculture, savings groups and land reclamation projects from TDA staff.

Terepeza Development Association has started 249 savings groups made up of 4,811 people across Southern Ethiopia where Jane visited. Each of the savings groups members are part of families that enjoy the benefits of being able to access loans and build better lives for themselves.

Jane Roach serves as an elder at the Barrie Free Methodist Church and has been a Tearfund supporter since 2013.

For more information on joining a discovery team contact mabuffam@tearfund.ca or contact us now for more details.