In 2019, Plant With Purpose will begin program work in Ethiopia
We are extremely excited to announce that this year we will begin working with families and communities in rural Ethiopia.
In mid-2018, we were approved to begin working. We have appointed Getnet Takere to serve as the Pilot Project Manager, and he is currently busy getting the logistics in place so we can start working with local farmers as quickly as possible.
Ethiopia will be Plant With Purpose’s eighth country program, and will be the first to launch since we began working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2015. Ethiopia will be our fourth partnering nation in Africa.
The opportunity to begin working in a new country is an extremely special one for Plant With Purpose. The needs we are trying to address are all over the globe, and there will always be a desire to be in more places than we have the ability to commit to. We also seek to make sure the countries where we currently work are constantly improving and further saturating. Expanding to new areas requires steady, sustainable growth.
Thanks to your support, we’ve seen much growth over the past few years. We’ve also learned a lot from recent experiences, including our baseline study in our DR Congo program and the 2018 Impact Evaluation. We are happy to have this opportunity this year.
Ethiopia brings familiar challenges and new opportunities
Ethiopia faces struggles similar to what many of Plant With Purpose’s existing programs face: food insecurity, soil degradation, poverty, and deforestation. Many of these challenges are connected to issues that are especially pronounced in Ethiopia- a longstanding water crisis, overgrazing, and desertification are among contributing factors.
The population of Ethiopia is largely rural. About 80% of Ethiopians are subsistence farmers, although the population of urban centers like Addis Ababa continue to rise. While many Ethiopians are seeing their economic opportunities grow, there is a strong risk that those in rural areas may be left behind by widening economic disparity.
The past year was a particularly eventful one in the country. In July, Ethiopia formally ended a longstanding war with neighboring Eritrea. A new prime minister and president are both in power, including the nation’s first female president.
One challenge that Ethiopia frequently faces are food related issues. A drought from 2011-2013 left Ethiopia and its neighbors in a severe food shortage. There are many who also remember a famine from the 1980’s that claimed nearly 500,000 lives.
We will be working to help equip churches to restore the land and help people
The church plays an important role in conservation in Ethiopia. Many churches in Ethiopia practice forest conservation around the church site. Visible from Google Maps are large circular patches of forest in otherwise barren locations. These typically surround churches, where Creation Care is a part of one’s spiritual practice.
In spite of this, much of Ethiopia is a barren desert, depleted of soil nutrition. The church forests do serve as an indicator of the land’s potential.
Plant With Purpose’s program works by equipping churches to promote Creation Care as a means of helping a community. As people care for creation, soil improves, crops grow more abundantly, and people begin eating better. Farmers earn more income which they can use to feed their families.
Stay tuned for updates as our Ethiopia program gets off the ground. It may take some time for us to have the stories to share that we have from other country programs, but know that those stories are being written and lived as you read this. To learn more about how you can help equip and empower families in Ethiopia, learn about becoming a Purpose Partner at $22 a month.