Supporting women dairy farmers
In southern Ethiopia, limited resources and extreme weather are making life exceptionally hard for dairy farmers and their families. In 2020, we began a three-year project, supported by Jersey Overseas Aid, to improve milk production and help farming families sell their product at market. The project is placing a strong emphasis on empowering women and improving gender.
In the first year of the project over 1,130 people were supported. This includes 875 women who undertook training in dairy production, feeding and nutrition, breeding, hygienic milk handling and land maintenance. Additionally, the project focusses on working with women to improve their confidence, self-esteem and decision-making abilities, and educating men and community leaders on gender inequality, to help create equal households.
As part of the training, women create their own groups in the community, rotating leadership and sharing knowledge through peer-to-peer sessions. They also learn about savings and loans groups, and how they can earn their own income.
Karshi is 29 and is part of a women’s group in her village. Before the training began, she was responsible for most household tasks.
Through training and involvement in the women’s group and taking part in family sessions, Karshi and her husband Wako have changed the way they run their home to give Karshi more time to pursue her dairy business. They now share household chores evenly. Wako explained how his eyes had been opened by the training.
“The family exercise helped me identify the division of labour in my family and realise the burden my wife carries to support the family.”