26. January 2018

Southern Ethiopia: – The cash support changed everything

"Before we began receiving cash support, we were poor, and our house was falling apart. Everything has changed now," says Yenealem Yedenna. With support from the Kavli Trust, StS EDA can carry out effective village development in southern Ethiopia.

Text: Hanne Eide Andersen 
Photo: Ketil Fuglestad

Yenealem Yedenna and her husband, Tamirat Eshete, have been granted cash support in order to start production of eggs and meat. They live in Arba Minch in southern Ethiopia, and are taking part in the village development programme run by the organisation Self to Self Economic Development Association (StS EDA). The organisation is run with funds from the Kavli Trust.

From eggs to poultry

“In Ethiopia, there are many diseases affecting chickens, so egg production is difficult. But this couple has found a good way of farming – the best I’ve seen,” praises the StS EDA’s Ketil Fuglestad.

Every year, well before Easter, Yenealem Yedenna and Tamirat Eshete buy large, vaccinated chickens. They receive chicken feed until they start laying eggs, and then they transit to feed more suitable for laying hens. When the hens have laid eggs for a year, they are replaced.

“Then the hens are sold, because you get a good price on poultry for Easter. In this way, Yenealem and Tamirat get a decent period of egg production, and in the end a good price on the meat. The government makes sure that the feed for chicken and laying hens keeps a high quality,” says Ketil Fuglestad.

Food production, trade and craft

Ever since 2015, the Kavli Trust has been the main supporter of the StS EDA’s southern Ethiopian village development programme, “Help to help yourself”.

Yenealem and Tamirat are one of many examples of talented entrepreneurs in this programme, which is based on cash support.

With funds from the Kavli Trust, people have set up grocery stores and cafés; started growing vegetables, fruit and coffee; planted trees; begun producing eggs and meat; established hair dressers; set up shops for cell phone charging and repair, clothes and shoes; tailors for new and used clothes; and facilities for charging car batteries and repairing tyres for cars and motor cycles.

Twelve of the projects are family-run businesses offering schooling on plant growth and care and selling plants to farmers and others.

“Throughout the period, we have been able to support 160 different projects in total,” says Ketil Fuglestad.

Support for three new years

It has now been decided that the StS EDA will receive support from the Kavli Trust for three new years: from 2018 to 2020.

“This is excellent news for all of us working with this. It gives possibilities and hope to many unemployed in southern Ethiopia, enabling them to set up their own place of business,” says Ketil Fuglestad.

“Many have a good education, but not work,” he points out.

Photo: Ketil Fuglestad

Photo: Ketil Fuglestad

Delivering humanitarian aid through cash

Fuglestad points to a 2017 report published by Civita concerning the possibility of eradicating extreme poverty before 2030. In the report, authors Øyvind Eggen and Nikolai Hegertun write:

“At the same time, we have, through a large number of thorough evaluations over the past years, learned more and more about which measures are most effective. Paradoxically, many of these evaluations show that what is perhaps the easiest and cheapest measure against poverty imaginable, is also one of the measures that seem to be most effective: providing people with cash.”

“The “Help to help yourself” programme has used cash support from the very beginning, and we’re very pleased with this way of providing aid,” says Ketil Fuglestad.

Families and individuals

The StS EDA provides cash support for families and individuals who have a good idea for their business. The money does not have to be repaid. Four leaders from the county administration and one representative from StS EDA together decide who will receive support for their project.

Everyone receiving support are poor. Many receiving support have disabilities, are single mothers, widows, or find themselves in a difficult situation for different reasons. The majority of those receiving support are between 20 and 40 years old.

“It’s important that people have a clear idea of how they want to spend the money,” Ketil Fuglestad emphasizes.

Local advisers

“New project owners get a short introduction on how to manage a project. After that, the projects receive regular counselling from our advisers living in the communities. The projects often provide work opportunities for family members and relatives,” he says.

The StS EDA has four local advisers working in three counties: Bonke, Konso and Yabello. Around 500 000 people live in these three counties. The organisation also has an office and projects in the city of Arba-Minch, a city of about 100 000 inhabitants.

“Our advisers gain valuable experience which they then share with others. In some cases, good business ideas are copied, and businesses established without aid from us,” says Ketil Fuglestad.


Yenealem and Tamirat have also bought a cow, which has given birth to two calves. Once they are big enough, the calves will be sold to slaughter. The youngest calf gets all the milk from the cow, and the other, now a year old, eats hay, leftover food and other kinds of feed. They are both growing fast.

“This support is a real blessing. We’re very grateful,” say Yenealem and Tamirat.