Poverty in Ethiopia is widespread with the country ranking 173rd out of 187 on the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index. The majority of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood, yet Ethiopia’s agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by overgrazing, too much tilling of soil, small landholdings, deforestation, and poor infrastructure that makes it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Tearfund Canada works with the Terepeza Development Agency, the development arm of the Kale Heywot Church to teach conservation agriculture methods in the southern areas of Ethiopia, leveraging leaders in their network of 10,000 congregations to demonstrate and promotes the effectiveness of conservation agriculture for reducing poverty and insecurity.
Self Help groups are run with support of Tearfund Canada alongside the conservation agriculture projects, led by local church leaders. These programs show households how to save and leverage the small amounts they accumulate by making loans available within the group. Loans are used for purchase of seeds, tools, payment of school fees and even to start small businesses that make them less dependent on the land. Individuals and families accomplish impressive changes for themselves and the church reputation in Ethiopia is strengthened.
In the last year:
- 3,200 farmers trained, mentored and practicing conservation agriculture, benefitting 42,500 people in southern Ethiopia.
- 3,360 men and women have been recruited and trained on how to save money, manage small micro-businesses and lend among the group as part of Self Help groups.