Planting Seeds of Hope in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's Agricultural Transformation Agency is bringing hope to thousands of families across the country.
Many families living in Ethiopia face a variety of challenges, particularly those living in rural communities. Although many people own land, environmental conditions such as prolonged periods of drought make farming difficult, which in turn leads to food scarcity. Without the means to grow their own food, many families' futures are uncertain. This is why ChildFund and other organizations are focused on supporting local farmers across Ethiopia and providing them with the means to grow, eat and sell their own fruits and vegetables.
In many developed nations, farmers' cooperatives and agricultural associations support the efforts of their members and provide them with access to equipment, land and other essentials. Until recently, this has been very difficult in Ethiopia, where farmers' organizations often lack the resources necessary to help families expand their agricultural operations. That is changing, thanks in part to the formation of the Agricultural Transformation Agency, a new group dedicated to providing Ethiopian farmers with modern equipment and the support they need to operate farms on a commercial, rather than subsistence, basis.
"We're working to make sure farmers' associations around the country function as commercial businesses, rather than just social organizations," says Khalid Bomba, head of the ATA. "Ultimately they have to be financially viable. We have to look at the system in a holistic way and work to strengthen our partners in the agricultural sector."
Establishing food security in poverty-stricken parts of Ethiopia is just one of the ATA's objectives. The collective also provides farmers with tools and training to maximize crop yields, and helps landowners strengthen their relationships with local business partners to provide farmers with a way to sell their produce at regional markets, something that has proven extraordinarily difficult for some families in the past.
Challenging Social Norms
Although the ATA is still in its infancy, the agency has the support of several high-profile organizations, such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development and The Rockefeller Foundation. With the backing of such prominent social advocacy groups, the future looks bright for the ATA and its ambitious goals.
One such objective is the promotion of gender equality in Ethiopia's agricultural industry. In a process the ATA refers to as "gender mainstreaming," women and girls are encouraged to participate in farming in their communities, a goal that not only strengthens economic resilience and establishes food security but reduces gender inequality and promotes independence. This initiative also aims to give women and girls a more active role in the management of resources in their communities.
ChildFund has worked in Ethiopia since 1972, and we realize how important empowerment of women and girls can be in developing nations. Thousands of families have benefited from ChildFund's programs in Ethiopia during the past 40 years, and thanks to the support of our child sponsors and donors, we have been able to bring hope to many children.
"I will never forget the day I joined the project," says a young Ethiopian mother, recalling the day she became a part of the ChildFund family. "I have received nutritional support for my children and training that helped me and my family to survive. Right now my twins, who turned 7 years old, are healthy and are learning in grade one. I am happy with all my family, and our dark life has been changed to bright future with the help of ChildFund Ethiopia."
Through the ATA, thousands of families could soon embark on a journey toward a more hopeful future. If you want to help children in need and their families across Ethiopia, one of the best ways to do so is by becoming a child sponsor. For just $28 per month, you can ensure that a child has the food, water and health care he or she needs to survive, so please consider sponsoring a child today.