Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, is a country that has housed some of the world’s greatest historical empires and memories. Dubbed the birthplace of humanity, with the discovery of mankind’s oldest remains, Ethiopia harbored some of the oldest civilizations on Earth. It is notably the oldest independent country in Africa as well as one of the oldest in the world, dating back over 2,000 years to the Aksumite Kingdom.
Today, Ethiopia remains a powerful presence in the region as one of Africa’s only countries to have resisted colonization and second most populous country. With a population of over 91 million people, the diverse nation comprises over 70 ethnic groups, who speak over 80 languages and practice a number of religions, with large proportions practicing Christianity and Islam.
The country has an extremely variable geography. The majority of the country lies on a high plateau, with a central mountain range reaching heights of 14,872 feet and divided by the Great Rift Valley, which drops 410 feet below sea level. The diversity in geography has made developing infrastructure a great challenge for Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is largely rurally inhabited, but this is rapidly changing. Currently, 83 percent of the population lives outside of urban areas despite rapid urbanization. Ethiopia’s economy is growing quickly at 7.5 percent, and is heavily based on agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employees over 85 percent of the population. For most Ethiopians, agriculture takes the form of smallholder, rain-fed subsistence farming, which makes the population susceptible to drought and famine. As a result nearly a third of the population remains under the poverty line.
Heifer's Work in Ethiopia
Heifer International and Send A Cow UK established a partnership through joint interest and efforts in development in Ethiopia. Towards establishment of this partnership, Send A Cow Ethiopia registered as an International NGO in Ethiopia and three successful projects funded by Heifer International have been implemented. Utilizing Heifer’s methodology, project implementation is carried out by local NGO’s. The Integrated Dairy and Horticulture Development Project (IDHDP), is being implemented by Selam Environmental Development Association (SEDA) and is serving 530 farming households living adjacent to Lake Ziway. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the attainment of food security focusing on integration of dairy and horticulture. Improvement of crop production and productivity, enhancing productivity of livestock resources, promotion of off-farm activities and reduction of environmental degradation are the major objectives of the project.
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