I grew up in Zimbabwe, in a family that was very community-focused. This meant that at an early age I understood that not all good intentions have good results in the developing world. In fact, I was very cynical about organisations in the third sector.
I have been amazed then, since working for Compassion, to see how well it works. Reaching beyond child sponsorship, RESPOND Initiatives like this one have eroded my scepticism, proving the effectiveness of Compassion’s work.
The initiative was launched in November 2011 to empower Child Survival Programme mothers in Ethiopia who were unable to find permanent sources of work. The abject poverty, poor saving culture and rise in food prices contributed to deteriorating living conditions, and malnourishment was a common problem, especially among the children. The women first received business skills training, and then the initial start-up inputs for dairy farming.
16 of the mothers established Rehoboth Dairy Farm Association. The association acquired land, built a cowshed, purchased two milk cows and participated in both business and animal husbandry training.
Through active participation in the dairy activities, weekly meetings and saving schemes, the women were able to increase the number of milk cows to seven, with the purchase of two new cows and three newborn female calves.
Rehoboth Dairy Farm Association now provides milk to a local milk processing company as well as supplementing the diets of 100 non-registered children.
“Before, I was not able to feed my children or to send them school. I am speechless for what has been done for me and the change I have seen in my life. Today things are quite different. I am now able to feed my children and send them to school as well. I see a promising future. It has helped me to overcome my previous challenges. In our group we have a plan to expand our business, and likewise our income will increase too.”
Diribe Lama, CSP mother from Gebre Guracha.
Combating poverty is complex, especially when taking into consideration so many different cultures, and communities with vastly different needs. Compassion’s model works from the bottom up, through local churches and local people that know and understand the issues facing their communities. And this is what sets it apart to release children, and their families, from poverty, in Jesus’ name.