Local Partner: Yeteem Children & Destitute Mothers Fund
Local Partner Director: Yimer Mohammed, Founder/Executive Director
Area Served: Afar Region of Northeastern Ethiopia and the capital – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Program Goal: To provide nomadic peoples in the Afar Region with the training, supplies and support necessary to achieve food security and food self-sufficiency. To provide vocational training to empower women in the Afar Region to earn an income, empower mothers to have control over their own livelihood, bring up poor children to be self-sufficient citizens, and provide integrated community -based health services to children, mothers, and adolescents.
Program Services Provided: Food security and food self-sufficiency, water collection and management, healthcare, computer, sewing and embroidery skills training.
Number of Program Beneficiaries: Over 5,000 individuals
Current Needs: Addressing HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases plaguing the area; enhancing and strengthening their existing child sponsorship program, women empowerment program, and the alternative basic education (ABE) program; and strengthening and expanding its small scale irrigation scheme; construction of a building for the implementation of a new income generation project.
The Afar Region program works with families whose ancestors have lived as pastoral nomads for thousands of years. These families raise and herd cattle and live almost exclusively off of the milk of their cows. Due to cyclical drought in the region, a lack of food and water for the cattle means less milk for these families. Yeteem recognized that the families needed to acquire agricultural skills if they were to have a continual food source that would ensure their ongoing habitation of the region that their ancestors first called home so long ago.
Change is difficult and takes time; patience and determination are required to introduce new ways of thinking and living to people. It has similarly been a challenge to create a strategy to help the Afar people to live in the 21st-century while respecting and preserving their local traditions. However, it has been a challenge that Yeteem readily accepted and that they have been working to overcome ever since!
The first agricultural program began in 1999 and consisted of 68 acres of land. The program introduced 120 semi-nomadic families to the concept of traditional plough culture and the use of draught and pack animals for improved crop production. In the true spirit of sustainable development, Yeteem handed over the development farm cooperative to the community in June of 2004. A community council of clan and religious leaders continues to oversee the program, while Yeteem continues to lend support when necessary.
Yeteem now works with four Afar communities on similar agricultural programs reaching out to more than 800 families. In each of these communities, Yeteem works to improve education, healthcare and the overall standard of living.
In the capital city of Addis Ababa Yeteem provides vocational program activities including skills training in computer, sewing and embroidery, and tree plantation.