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.

Food security for Chiandame, Mozambique

Increased crop productivity allowed Lazaro Silva to purchase cattle for his farm in Tete Province, Mozambique. Photo: LWF Mozambique

Chiandame is a village of roughly 1,507 inhabitants located in Mozambique’s Tete Province. Here, CLWR is working with the Lutheran World Federation to improve the livelihoods of local farmers such as Lazaro Silva Sobrinho. Here is his story.

Lazaro is 58 years old and married. He and his wife have nine children. Before 2005, the year the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) started to form Strategic Action Groups (SAGs) in Chiandame, Lazaro was finding it difficult to earn enough income from his land to support his family. In fact, during the rainy season from August to February, he had to off-farm odd jobs to buy food.

During those times, his primary crop was cabbage. “Annual production,” he recalls, “was 1,500 heads at most. My disposable income per year was, at most, 2,000 meticais.” (about CDN$70)

With the help of the LWF, Lazaro and neighouring farmers began to see the benefits of working together towards a common goal. Through their SAG, they received training in basic techniques for sustainable agriculture and were supplied with agricultural inputs such as motor and pedestal pumps, watering cans, hoes, machetes and seeds to plant beans, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, corn, pineapple and pumpkin. Education, though, extended beyond farming techniques. SAG members were given information about the prevention of HIV/AIDS, primary health care and home care, and how to prepare nutritious meals from the crops they were growing.

Lazaro was quick to implement his new-found knowledge. “Thanks to these new agricultural practices,” he says, “I now produce more than fifty 50kg bags of Irish potatoes per year. With this amount, it is possible to feed my family and still have leftovers. That’s how I started to sell surplus yield in order to ensure savings for the purchase of new inputs in the following year.”

Lazaro also learned the advantages of crop diversification. Before, he had no livestock and he used his land primarily to grow maize. Now he plants crops such as beans, cabbage and tomatoes, and has expanded to create a small orchard of fruit trees that produces tangerines, apples, peaches, bananas, oranges and lemons.

It is hard not to feel the pride of accomplishment in his voice. “At this time I have 10 cattle. I opened an account at Bank Terra to deposit my money and have 15,000 meticais (US $517) saved. With income from these activities, I am able to keep my five children still at home in school, buy school supplies and pay monthly wages to the people who take care of my cattle.”

While there once was a time when Lazaro could not grow enough food to feed his family, he now looks to a brighter and sustainable future. “My plan,” he says, “is to build a better home for my family. I have already started to manufacture bricks for this purpose. I also want to increase my agricultural production and will buy a pump for irrigation. My goal by 2014 is to buy a car to facilitate the flow of my products to other markets.”

This story appeared in the Fall 2012 Partnership newsletter. Read the whole issue here.

Farmer to farmer: compassionate hands and hearts

During a recent visit to Trinity Lutheran Church in Leader, Saskatchewan I had the pleasure of visiting with some of the Lutheran members of the Southwest Saskatchewan Growing Project. The project grows grain on a rented quarter-section of land and donates the proceeds to the CLWR account at Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

The result is a fund that CLWR and CFGB use to collaborate on a variety of programs to End Hunger. Food sufficiency and even where our food comes from are not things most of us think about very much but they are top of mind among those we serve together. Proceeds from a project like this one are used to provide irrigation, water diversion and retention infrastructure so land can be farmed and abundant crops grown by farmers in places like the Afar region of Ethiopia.

Members of this growing project come from many of the different churches in Leader Local businesses assist by providing inputs. Even the land is rented at a less than market price. It is a real community effort.

The harvest was completed last week and it resulted in about 6500 bushels or enough to feed 4000 for a year. How wonderful is that!

Tom Brook – Community Relations Director


Some Southwest Saskatchewan Growing Project Supporters – Roxana Tiefenbach (front/center) with Randy and Marion Ausmus and sons Zane and Grant – T.Brook/CLWR