Dawuro, in southern Ethiopia, is very remote and very beautiful. But life here is hard. In 2018 the Ethiopian government invited us to work with local communities in this zone to improve the nutrition and wellbeing of 90,0000 people.
Three years on, the families we worked with in Loma, Mareka and Gena Bossa districts are eating more and better food, and 99% of them are food secure – up from just 5% at the beginning of the project.
Our project, 75% funded by a UK Aid Direct grant and match-funded by Medicor Foundation, Rabobank and the Beatrice Laing Trust, was delivered by Ripple Effect Ethiopia in partnership with the highly regarded Dawuro Development Association (DDA). Working more with established partner organisations such as the DDA is a growing feature of our approach (as discussed in more detail on our blog Breadth vs Depth).
The project took place in a context of severe poverty, malnutrition, extreme climate events, and traditional practices and cultural taboos around food and nutrition that harm people’s welfare. These included the avoidance of eating protein-rich foods including eggs, milk, chicken and mutton, the isolation of pregnant women from nutritional and other social support, and feeding infants food with little nutritional value.
To address this, we developed a network of 180 self-help groups that built knowledge and skills among everyone from household members to local government personnel in four key areas: agricultural production; improved nutrition; water and hygiene; gender relations.
Through a combination of well-tailored training, practical demonstrations and personal follow-up, we made sure the benefits of our farm systems training spread beyond the self-help groups, with strong evidence of neighbours and the wider community sharing knowledge imparted by our trained farmers. Three years on, here’s what we have achieved together…