Trócaire's UKAM project in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia is ensuring vulnerable people, particularly women and landless communities have secure and predictable food sources and income. In an area affected by unpredictable rainfall communities have been supported to get the best out of the land by constructing irrigation systems and using conservation techniques. They also receive seeds, livestock, tools and business training so they can feed their families and produce an income.
Here are some examples of how people are benefitting from the project:
The Freweyni Cooperative in Adwa district are a group of landless young people with a desire to stay in the area that they were raised, learn new skills and improve their incomes.
Made up of nine men and three women, they have been provided with seedlings, tools, training on cultivation, and materials to build a shed and storage area.
Within a year they have established a successful nursery growing fruit seedlings. Some of they produce is bought by UKAM partner REST and distributed as part of other livelihood projects they are running.
The group have constructed a pond to collect rain water for feeding their plants, and put measures in place to protect against soil erosion during the rainy season.
There is high demand for their seedlings and the business is doing well.
Mana Yohannes, Abrehet Gebreselassie and Lemlem Desta are among the farmers who have been prioritised as recipients of new land created from ‘bench terracing’ hillside areas in Irob district.
The mountainous landscape in Ethiopia means that cultivable land is scarce for those seeking new plots to grow food on.
By supporting bench terracing on slopes, UKAM is helping landless families to access cultivatable land for the first time.
Taps are placed at intervals along the terrace and fed from the reservoir further up the hillside. With regular watering the land is producing high value crops such as coffee and mango as well as food crops that help improve family nutrition.
Taddesse Tewldeberhan (56, pictured) lives in Enderta district in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. His household is one of 57 members of an irrigation ‘users association’ that is benefitting from UKAM support.
Thanks to a river diversion and extensive canal network, Taddesse’s fields now benefit from gravity fed irrigation. This has transformed his livelihood, which had previously been reliant on increasingly unpredictable seasonal rainfall.
Before the UKAM project improved their access to water, Taddesse and other beneficiaries would have grown only maize. Now they are growing a much larger variety and quantity of crops. This improves their families’ nutritional intake and also bring opportunities to increase their income, as they can sell their extra produce.
The canal snakes through the land and association users take it in turns to direct the water into their fields.
The members of the users association have organised as a group to bring their harvests together so they can negotiate better prices at the market and reinvest in maintaining and protecting the new irrigation infrastructure.
Taddesse’s aspiration is to save so that when he is no longer around there will be some money for his children and grandchildren.