Ethiopia’s failing rains

By |27 July 2011|

By David Snyder You are not expecting rain when you come to cover a drought. But that’s what I found when I stepped off of the plane here Sunday—and what I have seen each day since. Rain. Looking around at the green of the hillsides, you could easily be fooled about the real problems facing the people here. But it doesn’t take much digging to learn how much trouble looms, where the rain now falling comes far too late to avert a crisis for as more than 11 million people. I spent yesterday visiting several projects around  Dira Dawa A, a zone of eastern Ethiopia that has been hard hit by the failure earlier this year of the first of the country’s two rainy seasons. With the failure of the short rains, which normally fall from February to June, millions were unable to gather a harvest. Worse still, they were unable [...]

Helping Ethiopia through drought

By |26 July 2011|

2011 is one of the worst droughts to hit East Africa and the Horn of Africa in living memory, including the east of Ethiopia. The local Caritas there is called the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat. It's part of the national Caritas organisation (the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat), and is supported by a number of Caritas members from around the world. Because drought is cyclic in this part of Ethiopia, the HCS has been working with the local communities to prepare them for drought. This can mean helping to provide irrigation and plants resistant to drought, insuring there is fresh water to drink and keeping food aid flowing when a crisis hits like now. Caritas Internationalis and one of its US members Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commissioned a photographer David Snyder to visit the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat in Ethiopia. This is a sample of his work. [slideshow]        

Church in Ethiopia to host climate justice conference

By |26 May 2010|

Climate change has a major impact on the availability of food and water. It particularly effects communities in hot zones with limited agricultural land and restricted access to water. Ethiopia is one such country. Landlocked in the Horn of Africa between Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan, Ethiopia is plagued by periodic drought. In an attempt to raise public awareness of this urgent problem, the Ethiopian Catholic Church is in the process of organizing an international conference entitled “Catholic Church Approach to Climate Justice – commitment for integrity of creation”. The conference, which takes place on June 2-4, 2010 in Addis Ababa, is intended to develop practical strategies for the local Church to actively participate in the issue of Climate Justice at national and global and levels. Nearly half of Ethiopia is mountainous and the available soil for farming has been degraded due to a long history of overgrazing, deforestation and poor agricultural [...]

Irrigation eases Ethiopia’s crop crisis

By |26 September 2009|

As we crest the mountain top, a sweeping view of emerald fields, soaring mesas and scattered farms spreads in front of us. It's difficult to believe that the farmers in the distance are facing a critical food shortage. As we wind down the hill though, we get a closer look at the fields and what Ethiopians call "green hunger." Corn stalks are one half the height they should be, and under the green tops are drooping brown leaves. Rip open an ear, and the inside rows of anaemic kernels grin up like ghastly smiles of broken teeth spaced much too far apart. Fields look green, but plants are withering from the bottom up. Failed rains in Ethiopia have led to a sharp rise in malnutrition rates. Caritas Internationalis is appealing for US$1.3 million to provide food, drinking water and medicines for 26,500 mothers and children for five months. Caritas is working through its [...]

Small steps to big changes in Africa

By |17 August 2009|

Rural communities in northern Ethiopia weren’t sure they could trust what they were hearing. How could anyone benefit by setting aside the equivalent of a few pennies each month? Come visit the Weini savings and lending group a year and a half later, and they are singing a new tune. At first, saving was slow. But month after month, the individual savings of the 25 members grew to the point that the group decided to invest in some poultry. Assigned members now care for six chickens, sharing half of the profits received from selling eggs or breeding chicks with the group. Take Brikti. With a loan of $30, she bought small amounts of food, like salt, sugar and peas. She now sells items each day from her tabletop store, using the profits to pay back her loan with interest and purchase basic supplies for her own family. Now the group is considering [...]

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: Micro-finance in Africa

By |16 August 2008|

Caritas Africa and its partners held a forum in September in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on how micro-finance programmes can create livelihoods to lift millions of people out of poverty. Caritas in Africa is running many micro-finance programmes to provide access to small amounts of capital to help people set up businesses. The programmes allow families to save up money and over time repay the loans. Caritas targets those who have little access to formal credit or savings services, especially women. Studies show women are more likely to use their loans and profits to benefit their families by investing in their businesses and using additional income to meet household needs such as purchasing more food, improving family housing and health care, paying children’s school fees, and saving for the future. Caritas Uganda started its micro-finance activities as an emergency relief fund to war widows and people who lost their homes because [...]

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