A new way of life on the Dawa River in Ethiopia

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  • Author: Oxfam
  • Copyright: Oxfam
  • Date: 23 December 2011

Imagine if the lifestyle your family had led for generations was on the verge of extinction. Would you cling determinedly to the old ways or would you bite the bullet and make whatever changes were necessary to survive?

Herding families in the southern Ethiopian village of Melka Guba were forced to make this decision. Years of relentless drought had made it difficult for them to earn a living from their livestock, and they found themselves facing a classic do-or-die scenario. While they were reluctant to give up their livestock — the more animals you own, the more prestige you have — their futures depended on it.

So they agreed to take a risk and try a new approach: irrigated farming. With Oxfam’s help, 201 households are now tapping the Dawa River for water. And the risk is paying off. Of course, as this video points out, true change takes time, but even from the first harvest — “all green and beautiful,” as Oxfam’s Tita Mekonnen describes it — their new farming venture heralds a bright future for this courageous community

Drought is making it difficult for herding families in southern Ethiopia to earn a living from their livestock. Some people have decided to try a new approach: irrigated farming. And they are tapping the Dawa River for water.

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