Support for Life (Heading North)
Support for Life (Heading North)
November 2020 update:
East Africa is in the midst of the worst locust plague the region has seen in 25 years – fuelled by unusually high rainfall over the past two years. In Ethiopia, our Christian partners who run the Heading North project reported that since the locusts reached their area, 500 farmers have already lost their entire harvest – and thus all annual income – and many others have lost at least half of their crops. Anglican Aid has sent emergency funds via Heading North to help support families who are struggling. Please do pray for God’s protection and provision.
Heading North has a participatory community-led development approach. The project, a partnership between Anglican Aid and the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, works with the community to identify what the people themselves perceive the community being most in need of. Heading North facilitates training processes which mobilise the community towards the identified solutions.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries and a majority of people live in rural subsistence farming communities. The country has suffered drought and widespread food insecurity. The district where Heading North is based is known for its violence and its #1 cause of mortality is vengeance killing.
Project solutions have included:
- Peace and reconciliation training // Community-wide training conferences, and appointment of trained mediators to decrease rates of revenge killing.
- Leadership training // To develop leadership skills in both the church and community, which will continue to positively impact communities far beyond the initial project.
- Agricultural training // To produce a greater yield of nutritious crops in order to improve food security.
- Environment conservation initiatives // The introduction of organic farming techniques from the ‘Farming God’s Way’ model has reversed erosion and drainage of nutrients from the soil.
- School infrastructure and student support // Construction of school toilets to increase girls’ attendance, and four additional classrooms so kids can attend school locally. Previously they had to travel to Tere to be schooled, although students couldn’t travel in the rainy season when the river was flooded and girls would not be sent because of vulnerability.
- Humanitarian relief // Supporting people unable to earn an income during the COVID-19 lockdowns with emergency rations, soap, and sanitiser.
- Water infrastructure // Previously villagers – usually women and girls – would need to take an unsafe 2-hour round trip to collect water from a contaminated watering hole. Many villagers suffered from the high prevalence of waterborne diseases. Now some villages are sharing their water points accessed through boreholes with neighbouring villages that don’t have access to clean water.
Waterworks for a Thirsty World
Access to water supply in Ethiopia is amongst the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 62 million Ethiopians lacking access to safe water. Anglican Aid’s annual fundraising campaign Waterworks for a Thirsty World (www.waterworks.org.au) is working to give water security to many villages by installing water pipes, streaming water from mountains and rivers, and buying and installing water reservoirs to store water from nearby wells. Already, previous Waterworks projects have seen barren fields being turned into flourishing vegetable gardens, improved village health, and more time freed up to invest in school education or developing a greater earning capacity for adults.
The big impacts of Heading North’s work
The positive outcomes of this community development training have been abundant!
Vengeance killing has dropped from 20 people in a year to just one in the past twelve months and the government is requesting the expansion of this peace and reconciliation training. 84% of the district now has access to clean water (compared to 23% in 2014) and the prevalence of waterborne diseases has dropped by 95%. Girls’ school attendance is now equal to that of boys and overall school results have increased by 20%. Farmers have a steady income from being trained in improved agricultural techniques, with one farmer saying now that he is using the new techniques, he receives 10 times his previous income, can look after his family, and be generous.
The community is actively involved in their own development and is now able to identify and solve their own problems. After many years of intense persecution, the project has also brought about increased acceptance for the church, as people witness how believers love and serve their community.
Your generosity will mean Heading North can continue this important work of equipping the community to overcome issues of poverty.
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