Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sustainable Programs that Empower

Photo: Oxfam America
By: Abel Tadesse, M.H.S. (@Abel_Says)
October 27, 2011

I came across an article published on October 24, 2011 by Oxfam America entitled With Insurance, Loans, and Confidence, this Ethiopian Farmer builds her resilience. These are the kind of stories that I love to read as it gives hope and allows an individual to see the glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

There is definitely hope for Ethiopians that depend on agriculture and livestock as long as there is a system to support their long-term needs. For example, Selas Samson Biru from the article is a farmer who participated in a crop insurance program where she was able to secure "payout for a crop" insurance in case harvesting fails due to drought. Further, the Oxfam America program opened the door to financial loan options. Surely enough, the program continues to provide support, guidance and encouragement to Ethiopian farmers. In Selas' case, she was even able to take advantage of the loan program to obtain "her own pump" to help in irrigation system for her crops. These programs exemplify that any human being can learn and apply smart sustainable investment practices as long as there is a seed of empowerment.

The article mentions challenges such as expensive fertilizers. It is also evident that there is inaccessibility of such programs to other regions of Ethiopia and the ongoing drought in Horn of Africa is not helping the conditions as well. However, these shouldn't be a surprise to us and become an obstacle to our work towards development. Rather, we should learn from these positive stories and pursue innovative programs that continue the efforts to develop financial and human resources. Of particular importance is the intellectual capital of the Ethiopian diaspora.

It is undeniable that the diaspora has an abundance of experts familiar with Ethiopia's condition and can deliver intellectual and financial support. To use these resources efficiently, it will be important to create social awareness through various channels such as networking events and conferences that nurture collaboration and attract individuals and organizations that aim to implement sustainable programs that educate and empower Ethiopians.

As exhibited in the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference on October 22 at Harvard University, EGI also contributes to improve the lives of Ethiopian communities in Ethiopia and abroad by setting the value of networking, sharing ideas, learning as well as motivating and collaborating with organizations and individuals for the betterment of Ethiopia.

Abel Tadesse, M.H.S., is Director of Project Development of the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

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