Ethiopian women are producing nutritious food for their families through FH's backyard garden program.




You take an assortment of seeds, mix in soil and water—throw in a little manure—and in time, you've got a backyard garden. Gardens producing nutritious foods like lettuce, Swiss chard, beetroot, cabbage and potatoes—and ending malnutrition for many Ethiopian children.

Such gardens grow in the barren, mountainous district of Lay Gayint in northern Ethiopia, where a woman named Demberai, age 29, lives with her husband and three children, ages 9, 7 and 6 months. For many years, the family suffered from hunger due to irregular food supplies.

Demberai's children were malnourished and underweight. She felt helpless, because nothing would grow where she lived.

When Food for the Hungry (FH) started working in her community, she felt overjoyed at qualifying for the backyard garden program. She learned to grow potatoes and other vegetables. FH staff also trained her in how to preserve food and make nutritious meals for her children.

Now she makes a local porridge called genfo, which mixes potatoes and green leafed vegetables. From FH training, she also learned to make potato chips and mix rice and lentils, to increase protein in her children's diet.

To improve her harvests, FH trained Demberai on how to make and use fertilizer from compost. She says this practice has improved her crops, as her last harvest brought in $302 worth of potatoes. 

As Demberai's income increased, FH staff encouraged her to join her community's savings group. Organized by FH, members save money together. Each woman can take out a loan with a pre-determined interest rate.

With no local banks, this keeps Demberai's money safe and earning interest. As the group savings increase, women take out loans to buy more land or livestock to improve the nutrition of their families.

"I am very glad to be one of the beneficiaries of this program and a member of the savings and credit group. I am now developing a confidence to produce green leaves and tuber varieties to enhance my family's food intake," said Demberai. "My objective is to diversify my baby's dietary intake. And I will continue doing so with the help of the project and even after withdrawal of FH."

With partners like you, FH and women like Demberai, are changing the future of their children. Through developing rich, food-producing gardens, Demberai's children are enjoying nutritious meals and learning to grow their own food. Thank you for helping us to end suffering and poverty Demberai's life and so many other women in Ethiopia.

By giving farm and garden tools and vegetable seeds, hunger is ending around the world. Thank you for partnering with us. Please share this story on your social media.

Demberai and her husband are growing enough potatoes to sell for additional household income.

Picking the first of a harvest that produced $302 worth of potatoes, Demberai can afford other nutritious food.


Connect With Us