“When we heard about communities affected by drought and children suffering from malnutrition in our own country we had to do something to help” said Mrs Birki Mako.
Birki is the chairperson for her village savings and loan association called Washo Barke in Nedjo woreda in the western part of Ethiopia. 2017 has seen good rains for them and their harvest has been productive. However for the eastern and southern part of Ethiopia the story has been very different. Successive weak rains have left 7.7 million people in need of food, water and health services and 300,000 children at risk of severe malnutrition.
“We are all Ethiopian and our hearts are broken by children suffering” continued Birki. “We believe it’s our civic duty to help others”, and so her saving group of 21 members met to discuss what they could do to help. They decided to give 200kg of maize grains and 900 Ethiopian Birr ($40 USD) to an affected community in the eastern Ethiopian area of Harar.
“We were once affected by food insecurity and chronic poverty and want to help. We know our aid is small compared to the need but others helped us, now we need to return that gift.” said Birki.
Birki Mako’s saving group was established four years ago by the Nedjo Aprea Programme funded by World Vision Ethiopia. Since the creation of the group women have saved in groups and used the funds to support their economic and social development. World Vision Ethiopia has also supported, agriculture, water, education and health activities in Birki’s community. This and their determination has allowed them to change from once dependent communities to a community now able to support others in their desperate time of need.