More than 70 per cent of people in Ethiopia rely on farming as their main source of income. But with no money to buy seeds or fertiliser, and the climate crisis affecting weather patterns, farmers are suffering. They are no longer able to produce enough food to eat, let alone sell.
Thabita and her husband know this struggle all too well. Every day, Thabita works hard on their farm, where she grows maize and raises livestock. She also looks after the house and takes care of her seven children.
‘We were always struggling with food and money,’ says Thabita. ‘Our food production was never enough – our land is small and we did not have enough money to buy fertilisers to increase our production.’
Learning together, working together
Tearfund and our local partner organisations in Ethiopia are supporting farmers like Thabita. Working through community self-help groups, we’re providing training in business skills and new, more sustainable farming methods.
Self-help groups help people in the community to support one another, helping each other to achieve their dreams. They save money together to invest in their businesses or use it to fall back on when times are tough.
When Thabita joined a local self-help group, her life changed.
‘[Before] we had no culture of saving money,’ says Thabita.. ‘The money we got from selling our produce after the harvest was used to meet different household needs. In case of an emergency, we had to go to money lenders who would charge us 50 per cent interest, but now I have learned to save.’