Development groups are already highly involved in these areas, implementing initiatives that, for example, support women by helping them engage in activities that generate income, provide microloans, help farmers with irrigation projects, and support employment and community stability through the construction of infrastructure, such as grinding mills and grain stores.
To achieve business sustainability, people need to be trained to do their jobs effectively. The grinding mill and grain store construction project in the isolated community of Bati Kelo is an example. When the Save Generation Development Association (formerly the Sageda Development Association) undertook this project, they also provided training on operating and maintaining the mill and helped the community organize a committee to manage the mill and grain store. This helped ensure that the project would be sustainable and changed the lives of more than 6,000 households that did not have food security.
Some changes in the way women in Ethiopia are treated can be noticed in urban areas, where they can access healthcare, employment, and education.
As Mrs. Bashadu Geda said, “I want to thank Sageda for the good work they did in our area. This area is very far from town and nobody understands our problems. When Sageda came to Bati Kelo area, I did not believe them but they have realized all that they said they would do. All this construction and training from them helps us to improve our lives. We rest now from the long journey to Wonji to the mill and treatment for our cattle. I want to thank you all. God bless you all.”
Sustainable Economic Development:
It Can Be Done Anywhere
Fantelle is an arid region that gets very little rainfall per year. Drought is common and it is impossible to grow crops. The people of this land are the Karayu, pastoralists who survive by tending their livestock.
Since 1994 the Gudina Tumsa Foundation (GTF) has been helping the Karayu pastoralists improve their lives. The relationship started with a school and has evolved to include implementing economic development activities that are helping herdsmen get more money when they sell their animals. Such livestock improvement projects can include breeding dairy cows, veterinary services, and activities that contribute to animal fattening. Other income-generating activities in the region include poultry production, establishing a small goods shop, and establishing a grinding mill and grain store.
If sustainable economic development projects can be successfully implemented in Fantelle, they can be successfully implemented anywhere. All that is required is to work with the people in their unique situation to determine what will work best for them and what they need to ensure long-term sustainability.