Supporting women dairy farmers in Ethiopia

In the Borena District of Southern Ethiopia, many farmers make their living by owning livestock. In fact, Ethiopia has the highest number of livestock in Africa. For many farmers, producing milk is vital both to feed their families and to sell for a profit. However, climate change and lack of resources often make it difficult for farmers to keep cattle healthy and to produce enough milk.  

Last year, thanks to your support and funding from Jersey Overseas Aid, we worked with the local community in the Borena district, helping farmers produce and sell more milk. As dairy production is mostly taken on by women, we’re working with women to claim their right and take on more decision-making power within their households.  

Over the past year, the project has supported over 1,000 people. 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.  

However, thanks to your support, and the generous funding from Jersey Overseas Aid, Karshi and her husband Wako have changed the way they run their home, to give Karshi more time to pursue her dairy business and to share household chores evenly. This was achieved not only through Karshi’s training and involvement in her women’s group, but also through family sessions run by the project. After the sessions, 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.

Moving forward, Karshi hopes to use her training to participate in the savings practices she has started at her women’s group. She also hopes to expand her milk production and sales so that her family can earn more and send their children to school. 

JOA Borena 2

Karshi (top right) and other members of her women's group taking part in a peer-to-peer session. 

By increasing farming knowledge and income and working with women to challenge gender inequality in their households, in just a year the project has not only transformed family life for Karshi, but for many others like her.JOA Logo