Felekech – the trailblazer defying societal norms.

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Meet Felekech Teka – a widow of 16 years and single mother of six, who lives in the lowland township of Abele Kolshoba in Humbo District, Ethiopia. As the head of the household and sole breadwinner for her large family, Felekech spent many years struggling to put food on the table for her children. For at least three months every year, they ate only one meal.

When we first met Felekech back in 2015, the painful hunger of the recent drought was fresh in her mind. Her traditional farming methods could not withstand with Ethiopia’s harsh, dry weather. Climate-smart, low-input, and sustainable farming technologies were needed. It was then that Tearfund Canada and Terpeza Development Association introduced Felekech to Conservation Agriculture – and she was one of the first 60 farmers in the whole province to be trained.

“Poor rains meant that many conventional crops dried up, but my Conservation Agriculture plot stood out with thick, healthy corn. Look at how healthy and big the cobs are!”, she told us.

When we visited Felekesh in 2018 – in her third year of the program – this transformation was even more evident:

“I am no longer a poor widow – I am an expert that teaches men. So far this year, over 100 farmers and neighbours have come to learn from me – a woman! I have the best farm yield in the whole community. I have two daughters in university, and I can pay all of their fees from the surplus crops that I sell. I never worry about the amount of food we have.

I have no stress, and I have confidence. I trusted God. I go to church every week, and the offering at my church is much bigger than it used to be. I give with great happiness. At harvest time, I even give extra, in both money and food from my harvest. The food goes to the Pastor – because someone has to feed him!”

Through Conservation Agriculture, Felekech is defying societal norms, and helping her community members help themselves. She is a trailblazer, and only one of the many farmers whose lives have changed forever.

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