(written by our Ethiopian director Zerihun Kassa and web journalist Naomi Schalm)
Guyo Haleke is 45 years old and a father to 5 children. They live in southern Ethiopia, just south of the coffee town Yirga Cheffe, in an area hit by the worst drought in 60 years. We are dedicated to helping villages down there.
Guyo used to raise cattle, but all the cattle are dying from the drought. So he needed another way to provide for his family. You might say he’s had a mid-life career change.
Guyo’s brother is one of our Transformational Community Development (TCD) workers who helps coach several poor villages how to escape poverty. One of the topics in which he gives coaching is “food security.” As Guyo learned about TCD from his brother and other workers, he decided to employ some of the agricultural lessons and begin learning to farm.
Motivated and determined, Guyo has now planted 75 banana trees and 400 mango and avocado trees in his field — hearty trees that do very well in drought conditions. He is one of 17 TCD members now engaged in farming in their village of Mudiyambo.
When harvest time comes Guyo is estimating an income of up to 35 thousand birr (about $1940 USD ) from selling his surplus. That’s 5 times the average annual income of the region! This will go a long way in helping to educate, feed and care for his family. Because of his example (and success) many others are wanting to learn about TCD from our staff.