Partner in Focus: SUNARMA

Dawit, Tsegenet and Liyu love helping their father look after the family's sheep and Dawit joins in with watering the vegetables and tree saplings in the community nursery.

SUNARMA (Sustainable Natural Resources Management Association) has been an All We Can partner since 2004. SUNARMA work to improve soil and water conservation in central Ethiopia and supports vulnerable families in vegetable and livestock production.

A challenging environment

Sintayhu Belachew and his family used to live in a very small one-room hut. The family ate there, slept there, cooked there and even the cow birthed calves there. Life was challenging. Most people living in Sintayhu’s community of Deberemeaza, central Ethiopia, rely on agriculture but in the past few years rainfall has been erratic and unreliable. Sintayhu used to worry about growing enough food to provide for his family and found it difficult to cultivate the land.

Ten years ago All We Can’s partner SUNARMA started supporting Sintayhu and his wife. They provided training in how to keep and breed sheep, how to look after poultry and how to grow apple trees. As a result Sintayhu has seen a big change in the life of his family.

Super sheep

When asked what he thought about the support his father had received 11 year-old Dawit enthusiastically replied: “I help with the sheep everyday. Every day my father and I help water them and feed them. We also help other people breed their sheep and we can sell them for a good price. Life is better with sheep!”

The sheep SUNARMA provides for farmers like Sintayhu are larger, stronger and more resilient than the usual local breeds. Sintayhu has successful bred them and can fetch a good price for his ‘super sheep’ at market. As a result he has been able to buy his three children more educational materials and provide healthier food for the whole family. A few years ago they were also able to build a larger home and are proud of their achievements.

A brighter future

SUNARMA work with family’s like Sintayhu’s in lots of different ways. Some are supported with livestock breeding and others are given training in managing tree and vegetable nurseries. The more ways farmers are able to support their families the less reliant they are on one particular form of income. This means that while the rains may be erratic communities like Deberemeaza are more resilient. Sintayhu has been able to go on to train his neighbours, friends and family in the skills he has learnt and is grateful for the support he has received enabling him to make the changes that have lifted his family out of poverty:

“We would like to say thank you because your support has brought a tremendous change in our lives. We are now able to have a new home. We have seen gradual transformation and for that we want to say thank you!”