Meet Woizero Shashe Ketema from Abo Yayebena Kebele, Jarso District, Ethiopia.
Does her face look familiar to you?
If it does look familiar but you’re not certain why, it’s because if you’re a CPAR donor you may have recognized her from some pictures we’ve shared with you in the past, like the one below.
(Woizero Ketema and her community were quite amused when we brought this publication to show them.)
Woizero Ketema continues to be a member of the FFS group in her kebele. Before CPAR came, her husband was the one in charge of farming decisions. When we first introduced the concept of row planting (vs scattering seeds on the field) her husband was resistant to testing this new method. Woizero Ketema, finding some newfound confidence in her role in the FFS group as well as training, persisted. Since her husband wouldn’t help with the demonstration plot, she asked some neighbours to help her with her field, to try this new method.
In just three years, the increased yield through row planting was five times more than through her old approach! This significant increase in her household income meant that she was able to send all 5 of her children to school (4 sons and a daughter).
But that wasn’t the end of the changes in her life as a result of the farmer field school methodology. Understanding the importance of testing and trying new things, she has now started her own test plot with a different variety of wheat seed to see what works best for her.
When I asked if her husband has now come around, I watched as she launched into a passionate discussion in Amharic, full of arm gestures and supported through laughter by the neighbours gathered around. No, it turns out that her husband had still not accepted the new practises in spite of seeing and benefitting from the results, but that wasn’t going to stop her as she took charge of her own life and future. When I said that she was a good role model for her daughter, who was standing in the group as well (her picture is below), one of the male neighbours smiled and nodded.
For a smallholder farmer, the increased yield they can see realized through some basic inputs and training can be life changing. And while we can measure those results, it is impossible to quantify the change in the spirit of the women in the groups, and the entire community.
It was hard to say goodbye as we definitely felt a part of the Abo Yayebena Kebele family.
In this picture, CPAR Ethiopia staffer, Endris, saying goodbye to Ato Lemma Gemeda.
Executive Director, CPAR