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Surviving and thriving

Since the 1980s Ethiopia has experienced a 15% decline in rainfall and an increase in temperature, leading to major droughts.  In some areas communities have lost more than 60% of their livestock, leading to deeper poverty and widespread food shortages.  Many families face hunger on a daily basis.

We’re working with a range of local organisations to help the most vulnerable.  Our partner SOS Sahel in southern Ethiopia is helping communities to dig and manage deep wells (ellas) so they and their cattle can get water during long, dry periods, provide training and small loans to set up and run businesses so they have an alternative income, and savings co-operatives so they can get money if a family emergency arises.

“Our community has been transformed through a new co-op which produces and sells soap,” explains community leader and co-op member, Labin Lamita.

“Before, we bought soap from shops because we didn’t know how to make it. But then we got training and 20,000 birr (around £650) from SOS Sahel to start up the co-op. There were ups and downs, but we have improved our methods and SOS Sahel has helped us a lot."

“It has taken six years to get to this point, but now the community love the soap and people come from other communities to buy it. It is also good for the body - when the children have a wound or fungus it helps to clear and heal after one wash. The whole community has benefited.”

Labin and his community also sell soap to other businessmen as a wholesaler, and go to the market once a week. Selling the soap in these ways has generated income that has changed their lives.

Co-operative member Goje Libam explains, “Once you see change like that, you can’t go back. Our members are always thinking of ways to improve and want to make the co-op bigger. Our co-op exist because of your support. Don’t stop giving us a hand up.”

Our co-op exist because of your support. Don’t stop giving us a hand up.

Goje Libam