Global Encounter: one year later

03.24.2017 Global Encounter Review 2_lr

Photo provided by Isabel Hilgendag

From where I lay in my tent, I heard the chirps of the vibrantly blue-coloured birds, signaling that it was time to get up if I wanted to watch the sunrise. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I would be lucky enough to see the sunrise and sunset in Ethiopia and to have had a wealth of new experiences between those two spectacular moments each day.


It has been a year since I travelled to Ethiopia for two weeks as a youth delegate on Canadian Lutheran World Relief‘s Global Encounter. We visited a variety of places learning about how organizations such as Support for Sustainable Development, Lutheran World Federation and Canadian Lutheran World Relief work with communities to help improve their circumstances.

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Working together for a common cause

The River Plains Growing Project has been supporting CLWR through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for the past eight years. Photo provided by Glen Erlandson

A desire to support their global neighbours was the inspiration for Glen and Michele Erlandson to help start the River Plains Growing Project. For the past eight years, a group from Outlook, Saskatchewan has worked together to grow, tend and market a crop to raise funds to help end hunger around the world.

“The biggest inspiration is helping out your neighbour,” says Glen. “At the outset, [the inspiration] was this wealth we have in the ag sector in Canada and being able to share a part of that.”

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Supporting small-scale farmers in Ethiopia


Berzegen Yimam is the secretary of a watershed conservation committee and surveyor for a project in northern Ethiopia that’s helping small-scale farmers increase their food production. Photo: CLWR/M.Mutch

Berzegen Yimam is a participant in a project in northern Ethiopia that’s designed to help small-scale farmers increase their food production. Erratic rainfall, limited irrigation systems and land degradation are some of the challenges these farmers face.

Berzegen is the secretary of a watershed conservation committee in Lalibela, Ethiopia. This committee manages and maintains the irrigation systems. She’s seen firsthand the difference that investing in irrigation systems and watershed conservation makes.

“Before there was only one permanent spring in the area,” she says. “Now there are three.”

Berzegen received training to be a surveyor for the project, a role typically held by men. She’s responsible for ensuring that the water conservation structures are built level and can stop the process of soil erosion. Additionally, the watershed in her region is now producing grasses that can be harvested to feed livestock.

Your support makes it possible for women like Berzegen to increase their food production for themselves, their families and their communities. Thank you!

Advent calendar – December 3

Water brings hope to new farmers in northern Ethiopia

ato arbese ahmed

Ato Arbese Ahmed. Photo: Support for Sustainable Development

In northern Ethiopia, years of persistent drought have caused many families to become nomadic, searching for water and forage for their livestock. This was the case for Ato Arbese Ahmed and his family, who had been nomadic for eight months or more at a time. Now, Ato and his family are putting down roots in their homeland, thanks to a CLWR-sponsored irrigation project.

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Coping with drought, fighting hunger in Ethiopia

Kulsuma Leita Aredo is working towards a better future, where she is better able to cope with the frequent droughts that hit Ethiopia. This is thanks to your support!

However, we urgently need you to support other families struggling with hunger during the worst drought that Ethiopia has seen in at least 30 years.

Like many farmers who are struggling, Kulsuma was born and raised in a nomadic herding family in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Over the years she has witnessed the gradual decline in rainfall and pasture land for her family’s livestock.

“Unless we have an additional source of food, the animals die and we starve.”

Irrigation systems provide water, food

She is participating in the construction of an irrigation system on the Jara River to provide access to 100 hectares of irrigated farmland for 300 households. This project will benefit approximately 2,400 people.

Community members, including Kulsuma, are receiving food in exchange for their labour, as well as training in irrigated farming practices and other supports that will benefit their farms once they start growing their own food.

Kulsuma and 49 other women are also participating in a newly established women’s savings and credit group to save money and provide loans for small businesses.

“Once the project gives me the seed money I will start my own business,” says Kulsuma. “I am discussing with my daughters in what business to invest the money. My family will also receive an irrigable plot when the infrastructure is ready.

 [God-willing]! Life will be different soon.”
EMERGENCY APPEAL: Support other communities as they struggle with drought 

Irrigation can save lives in a drought as serious as the one that is currently affecting millions of people across Ethiopia. CLWR is responding with our Ethiopian humanitarian partners, but we urgently need your help. For one, your support will help pay for repairs to broken irrigation infrastructure, so that it can be used by farmers to water their crops.


Community members who are most vulnerable to hunger will receive food or cash to do the work.
Please donate today

To learn more about how your support will make a difference, please click here. Wish to make a gift? Put your donation to work faster by donating online or calling 1.800.661.2597.
The Amuli II Small-Scale Irrigation-based project that Kulsuma is working on is funded by Canadian Foodgrains Bank, CLWR and the Amhara National Regional State in Ethiopia, and implemented by our local partner agency, Support for Sustainable Development.