Action Ethiopia

UK charity providing life-changing assistance to rural & isolated Ethiopian communities

Welcome to Action Ethiopia

Action Ethiopia and SUNARMA were simultaneously established in 2000 in response to the extreme challenges faced by small-scale farmers and the natural environment. We focus on three remote project areas: Wof Washa, Mettema in North West Ethiopia, helping to grow Frankincense and Arsi Negele where we work with groups planting thousands of trees.

Read more about who we are and what we do on: Action Ethiopia – About Us

Wonder Shrub – Hidden in Plain Sight.

Sentayhu Belachew (48) knew that Gesho was a useful plant, his grandfather had a small shrub which he used to flavour Tej, the local honey beer. But when Sentayhu joined a small farmers group run by SUNARMA he learned it could do so much more.

This included:-

• Its roots stabilised the land helping to prevent erosion.

• The wood from the mature shrub could be used as firewood. • The ripe berry (that looks a bit like a Sloe from a Blackthorn) could be eaten if it was harvested before the birds feasted on it!

• The attractive shrub gave shade which meant he could grow other plants in between the rows receiving shelter from the elements and helping conserve soil water moisture.

• The bark has medicinal value including antimicrobial properties, alleviating inflammation, it is an anti-oxidant and even protects the liver!

Click here to donate or scan the QR code. Thank you.
All these things, along with it’s economic value added up to persuade Sentayhu to have a go at growing it. He only had just under one hectare of land to feed his family of six, it’s a big risk to set aside even a small portion of land to something new and risk hunger for his children. Anyway, he was lent 400 plants (he will pay back the value to his farmer group in two years) and grew 0.16ha of his farm and has so far made an income of£350 from the sale of 800 kilos of dried leaves. This is far beyond what he would have made on this small plot of land. Sentayhu (pictured with his Geshho plants) now plans to double his production and is learning how to grow his own plants from seed for his use and sell the excess plants in the market. Gesho is indeed a wonder plant with many uses. All these things, along with it economic value added up to persuade Sentayhu to have a go at growing it.He only had just under one hectare of land to feed his family of six, it’s a big risk to set aside even a small portion of land to something new and risk hunger for his children. Anyway, he was lent 400 plants (he will pay back the value to his farmer group in two years) and grew 0.16ha of his farm and has so far made an income of£350 from the sale of 800 kilos of dried leaves. This is far beyond what he would have made on this small plot of land. Sentayhu (pictured with his Geshho plants) now plans to double his production and is learning how to grow his own plants from seed for his use and sell the excess plants in the market.
Gesho is indeed a wonder plant with many uses.

Compassion brings a community together.

“I am 75 and I am weak. We have only a small plot of land and we are rain reliant. We are in a challenging situation here, as we cannot manage on our own. We depend on the local community to help us.”
– Getene, 75.

Farmers like Getene Ashenafi and his wife Ayenech, already living in extreme poverty, have been left with a meagre supply of food due to drought. Like many million in East Africa, they have suffered from the absence of rain. 

 Getene says “We have only a small plot of land and we are rain reliant.” 

One of the local staff from SUNARMA sensed a guest’s unease when offered food and said: 

“Here, hospitality and community is our way of demonstrating love.  Getene and his friends went on to explain that the community frequently meets like this to serve one another and encourage one another when facing difficult times. Their hospitality is a way of life. 

Please join us in showing compassion to our GLOBAL community, by sending us a gift of whatever you can manage, so that together with SUNARMA we can continue to help Ethiopian communities like those in Zego. 

Hyatt’s determination. Help her succeed.

Quiet Determination… Can you see it in her face?

Hyatt Murid is a remarkable women.

You can you see the resolve behind that look?

She’d had an idea to improve the standard of living for her family and she bubbled with excitement at the prospect of it working. But until it was her turn to speak, she sat quietly poised at a meeting with the other women, until her friends persuaded her to tell her story.

The women’s group that Hyatt was part of were as excited as she was. The small business idea had almost tripled her investment in 6 months, growing from 400 Birr to 1000 Birr (from £12 to £30). Not much you might think, but she had been living on less than 50 pence a day and she had three children!

The women’s group had got together and started saving small sums of money each month. They called themselves the Alshoni Women’s Group, which quickly attracted 85 members, each person saved 25 Birr (just under £1) each month. When they had built up 30,000 Birr of capital (£1000) they started to lend money to group members who had a good business idea.

Hyatt’s idea was simple, she was a good cook and she’d been told by friends and neighbours she cooked the best injera in the area. Injera is a pancake made from Teff flour and served with every meal.

She saved 400 Birr of her own money and borrowed 600 Birr from the Alshoni Women’s group. She could now afford to buy Teff flour and make and sell injera. She did this repeatedly over six months. She paid back the Alshoni womens group 600 birr plus 60 Birr interest. Her own capital had grown from 400 to 1000 Birr.

Working with people like Hyatt and her women’s group enables families to prosper.

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Frankincense.
Once more valuable than gold…

Does money grow on trees?

Mohammed Ali lives in Das Gundo village near Metema in Northwest Ethiopia in a roundhouse not unlike this one. He is 43, married with four children and supports another two adults financially. His income before he learned about Frankincense was £1,048 per year, that’s £2.88 per day

to feed and look after six people. That’s not much is it but with daytime temperatures at over 40 degrees centigrade and no rain nothing grows and livestock have little to eat, so its very tough. Out of desperation, he joined a newly formed group of people set up by our sister organisation called

SUNARMA that aimed to help the village look after the thorn forest that surrounded the settlement, protect it from outsiders and destruction by locals and learning how to methodically and expertly harvest frankincense. Mohammed couldn’t believe it; he knew about the tree and had previously even got roving workers to harvest the trees in the forest near where he grazed his cattle. It had yielded pocket money; the day labourers had damaged the trees which meant they produced practically no frankincense.

Anyway, he joined the group, which called itself the Das Participatory Forest Management Cooperative. Over several weeks Mohammed was taught how to care for the Boswellia trees. This included three years of tapping, and one year of rest for each tree, he learned how to tap with a special tool, how to harvest and how to grade and store.

SCAN TO DONATE