Ethiopian women are improving their lives with sheep banner image

Ethiopian women are improving their lives with sheep

Ethiopia-story-26.jpgW/ro[1] Kibe, aged 50, is a widow living in Borebore village of the Were Jarso District, Ethiopia. She has two daughters and a son. The oldest of the three children is 24 years old and the youngest is 11 years old.

She has a hectare of land which she had to rent out in order to generate income. To support her family she also had to sell Injera[2] to supplement the household income. Unfortunately, there was not always enough money and W/ro Kibe was forced to borrow food, specifically grain, during these difficult times. Knowing that she needed to improve her and her family's livelihood W/ro Kibe joined the Qorre-odda sheep rearing Farmer Field School group in 2009 as one of 20 female members.

The Farmer Field School group was trained on sheep rearing and management as well as the importance of gender equality. The group also learned about savings, loans and re-investing. The women bought three sheep each in January 2010. The sheep were bought in the form of micro-credit and participants are expected to repay 25% of the cost to their Farmer Field School group.

After one year, W/ro Kibe's three sheep gave her four additional offspring! She decided to sell three sheep and bought a cow. W/ro Kibe is hopeful that she will continue to improve her income, "they are my life" she said, referring to her sheep and new cow. "This woman had no assets, limited agricultural knowledge and no hope for her family's future . But now she has become a hard working farmer with hope for a better future", said Ato[3] Habtamu Adere, the kebele manager.

W/ro Kibe said this when asked about her situation, "harvest was poor; farm plots are so small and insufficient to produce what would be needed to feed the family. Life was hard. I had been renting out land because I had no oxen for ploughing. Since the training with my Farmer Field School group, my life has started to change for the better. Now, if you go and see my sheep and cow, it looks promising."

[1] W/ro is a sign of respect for women in Ethiopia and is always put in front of the first name.

[2] Injera is a national dish in Ethiopia which is a yeast risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture traditionally made out of a cereal - teff.

[3] Ato is a sign of respect for men in Ethiopia and is always put in front of the first name.