Daily News Archive
From March 30, 2006                                                                                                        

Group Trying To Start Organic Farm In Ethiopia To Help Local Community
(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2006)
Initiative to Save Young Generation’s Health Today (INSYGHT), a youth empowerment program in Ethiopia, is trying to start an organic farm for local kids to grow food for profit and for sustenance. INSYGHT is affiliated with Save the Children, receiving technical support and some funding from the organization. The goals of INSYGHT are to improve the lives and health of Ethiopian youth. INSYGHT focuses on various different issues including, reproductive and sexual health, education, empowerment, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and more. INSYGHT already has a successful school Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH) program that has been conducted with the help of the Ethiopian government. The most recent project through the INSYGHT program is the implementation of a farm where local youth can grow food and raise animals that will provide them with a source of income. The program seeks to integrate livelihood components, such as food and income, with life skill intervention, such as education and reproductive health. The specific objectives of the project are:

Plot of land at proposed Ginchi farm site.

1. To diversity the income sources of out of ARSH club youth
2. To Increase the income level of out of school ARSH club youth
3. To Improve entrepreneurial skills of the target youth
4. To create income sources for the reproductive health programs implemented by the youth clubs

The presence of such programs, both the livelihood programs and the life skills programs, is imperative for a place like Ethiopia. According to the CIA, as of 2004 50% of the population was living below the poverty line. The average income is approximately $108, 4.4% of adults have HIV/AIDS, and only 22% of the population uses improved drinking water sources. Finding ways to promote local sustainable income is imperative.

The proposed farmland, which is in Ginchi town in the Dendi district, is approximately 90km west of the capital city Addis Ababa. The total population of the district is 241,581 with 49.8% female, and the average family size is 6 people. The farm will support a variety of projects including vegetable production, beekeeping, and animal husbandry. The majority of the food from the farm will be sold in order to raise money for the youth and their families, as well as the ARSH programs. Markos Tesfaye, the Senior Horticulturist working on the project is committed and passionate about organics. He believes that ultimately, both the earth and the community will benefit the most from organic agriculture, as it is both safe and sustainable. Mr. Tesfaye reports that, “our farmers have started to make their own compost that is a fertilizer made from animal dung, crop residue, weeds and other organic matter”.

The farm will support about 60 school age youth who are unemployed and come from poor families. The families of the selected youth will benefit indirectly from the income earned and the life skills developed by the participants.Not only will this project bring economic opportunities to a struggling town, but it will also make organic food accessible to more people in the area, and set an example of truly sustainable development. The local government has donated the farmland, and the project leaders have already been able to raise $6,000 of the $10,000 necessary to execute the project.

Take Action: Support the organic farm and the community in Ethiopia by giving a donation. Donations can be sent to Beyond Pesticides at 701 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003. Please indicate that your donation is for the Ginchi Farm.