Give Life Lenten appeal update: irrigation for Ethiopian farmers

Wale Dufa Borie struggled with food shortages almost all her life. Her family now has more than enough to eat and she has become a model farmer for others, thanks to support from Canadians like you.

Wale Dufa Borie struggled with food shortages almost all her life. Her family now has more than enough to eat and she has become a model farmer for others, thanks to support from Canadians like you.

Wale Dufa Borie struggled with food shortages almost all her life.

That’s all changed now, thanks to you. She was helped by an irrigation project like the ones you’re supporting through the Give Life Lenten appeal. Now she is self-sufficient and has become a leader in her community.

A difficult past

Her story is typical of many people living in the dry and hot Afar region of northern Ethiopia. She and her family were livestock herders. In itself it is difficult work to move children and belongings through the countryside, looking for feed and water for animals. If feed was hard to find, or if their livestock became sick, the family could lose some of their animals—their main food source. There were food shortages almost every year.

After her husband died, life became even harder for Wale.

“I had difficulty feeding my five children from the ten goats I had. As a result Irelied heavily on government food aid and support from relatives.”

Irrigation arrives

In 2012, construction began on the “Aura II” irrigation system that would benefit Segentoli, the community in which Wale lives.

She began constructing canals with almost 250 other people in a food-for-work program that provided wheat for her family to eat. She was able to build a house in Segentoli and send one son and two of her daughters to school because of the employment.

But it gets better.

In 2014, she received an irrigated plot of land and began growing maize herself. She harvested the food for her family and had enough left over to sell, earning enough to buy six more goats and clothing for her children.

A promising future

Wale continues to build her skills and lift herself up into a community leader. She participated in irrigation agronomy training and now uses the skills she’s gained to be a model farmer, sharing her training with other developing farmers. She is one of three women members on the irrigation users’ cooperative executive committee.

In Ethiopia’s 2014 Pastoralist Day celebration, Wale received a medal of recognition and an incentive of 30,000 birr (about $1,800 CAD) from the federal government, which she used to buy two camels.

Wale says that on top of the irrigation project’s built-in benefits, it has opened doors for her to increase her assets and earn more money.

“My family will never suffer again from food shortages,” says Wale. “Life is good now.”

Wale has received the foundation she needed to provide for her family in a long-term, sustainable way. Thousands more have been helped in similar ways, and your donation will help even more people like her in urgent need of a secure, sustainable livelihood.

On behalf of Wale and thousands others, thank you for your generous and faithful support. You are changing and saving lives.

The Give Life Lenten campaign was very successful and we’re happy to announce that thanks to the generosity of Canadian Lutherans more than $100,000 will go to help Ethiopian herders access irrigation that allows them to produce enough food year-round. The financial support is worth over $400,000 when you include the 4-to-1 match by the Canadian government.

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