Building Canals in Ethiopia




A canal cut through the barren hills of Achete Wonz village in Ethiopia, to funnel water from a nearby river to the farm of Yaregal Eshetu. Unfortunately, the canal had cracks. The amount of water getting to Yaregal’s field was minimal, so he could only plant half his land with chickpeas and maize.

Ato and his children stand in his watered field.

Yaregal and his children stand in his watered field.

At age 52, Yaregal, his wife Enanaw and their four children were hungry and malnourished. He wanted to increase the amount of food he could grow, but in Ethiopia, mountainous conditions made getting water difficult.

Now all of Ato's field is planted.

Now all of Yaregal’s field is planted.

In 2012, Food for the Hungry (FH) and partners, like Organization for the Relief and Development of Amhara (ORDA), worked together to improve the health and access to food for Ethiopian families living in Achete Wonz village and the surrounding areas.

The canal no longer leaks water.

The canal no longer leaks water.

Using cement, the canal was rebuilt to stop water from draining out, so more could get to Yaregal’s field. This was one of many projects completed by 2013. FH and ORDA constructed 51 wells with piping to irrigate families’ backyards. Also 16 rivers and springs were diverted into canals for irrigation, bringing water to 603 acres of farmland, helping Ato and 3,873 people.

Other nearby farms now have water for irrigation.

Other nearby farms now have water for irrigation.

Yaregal was also given seeds to grow a variety of vegetables, like cabbage, onions and tomatoes, so he and his family could have a well-balanced diet. And as water came consistently into his field, Yaregal planted all of the land and increased his produce.

“I sold the surplus of vegetables beyond my family’s consumption and am able to buy clothing and school supplies for my children,” said Yaregal.

Now, Yaregal is on his way to learning more farming techniques, money management and other needed information to move his family out of poverty. This is the kind of difference partners like you are making around the world.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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